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Wellness Report

Models of Wellness (Ways to Organize the Topics, Not Pretty Women!)

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There are many definitions of the word wellness. Every promoter of healthy lifestyles has either created his or her own, or adopted (usually with variations) an established, oft-repeated definition. All are similar, and all are useful as guides to the boundaries and issues addressed in this broad area of lifestyle education. I always encourage wellness promoters to consider many varied definitions, and then write their own.

The situation with regard to wellness models is a bit different. Only a few exist -- in part because they take more time to construct and in part, perhaps, because they do not seem as essential to the non-theoreticians of the wellness idea. As a result, there are far fewer models of wellness than there are definitions. In fact, the only models to gain much attention over the past 30 years are those that appeared in early wellness books and the one adopted and promoted by the National Wellness Institute (NWI). The NWI promotes a six-part model, the same construct that was first sketched by NWI president Bill Hettler in 1979. (An interview with Bill appears here). The NWI six-dimensional model looks like this:

What IS Wellness? Is It Different From Prevention? You Bet!

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Wellness is first and foremost a choice to assume responsibility for the quality of your life. It begins with a conscious decision to shape a healthy lifestyle. Wellness is a mindset, a predisposition to adopt a series of key principles in varied life areas that lead to high levels of well-being and life satisfaction.

A consequence of this focus is that a wellness mindset will protect you against temptations to blame someone else, make excuses, shirk accountability, whine or wet your pants in the face of adversity. (I threw that in to help you remember this explanation.)

Wellness is an alternative to dependency on doctors and drugs, to complacency, to mediocrity and to self-pity, boredom and slothfulness.

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