The word “Wellness” is everywhere. It’s even used for selling pet food – but what does it really mean?

There’s far more to wellness than most people realise. Wellness is much more than screening tests and identifying risk factors to prevent illness. Greater levels of wellness not only enhance our health and vitality, but also our effectiveness, performance, and productivity. No wonder employers are paying more attention to wellness than ever before.

Never has the pace of change been greater, or our stress levels higher. Most of us navigate in a high tech world of growing time pressures and multitasking, and many of us often feel helpless and despairing in our efforts to meet an avalanche of expectations and commitments.

The word “wellness” is used by many people and organisations, especially since the sharp rise in healthcare costs, diabetes and obesity during the past decade. Wellness has a history of being defined within a disease framework, meaning reducing health risks and preventing disease. Those are good goals, but it’s an outdated vision.

A new vision was articulated by a few innovators, including Wellness Inventory creator Dr. John Travis. Dr. Travis opened the first wellness center in the United States in 1975, the Wellness Resource Center (Mill Valley, CA). There he developed an innovative program for personal lifestyle change that focused on self-responsibility and engaged the whole person — body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

12 Dimensions of Wellness: The Wellness Energy System

The Wellness Energy System, conceived by John W. Travis, represents a whole-person approach to wellness. The system has twelve components: eating, breathing, sensing; self-responsibility and love, moving, feeling, communicating, thinking, intimacy and sex, working and playing, finding meaning, and transcending.

What is Wellness?

  1. Wellness is a choice – a decision you make to move toward optimal health.
  2. Wellness is a way of life – a lifestyle you design to achieve your highest potential for wellbeing.
  3. Wellness is a process – a developing awareness that there is no endpoint, but that health and happiness are possible in each moment, here and now.
  4. Wellness is a balanced channeling of energy – energy received from the environment, transformed within you, and returned to affect the world around you.
  5. Wellness is the integration of body, mind, and spirit – the appreciation that everything you do, and think, and feel, and believe has an impact on your state of health and the health of the world.
  6. Wellness is the loving acceptance of yourself.


Wellness is the Right and Privilege of Everyone

There is no prerequisite for it other than your free choice. The “well” being is not necessarily the strong, the brave, the successful, the young, the whole, or even the illness-free being. A person can be living a process of wellness and yet be physically handicapped, aged, scared in the face of challenge, in pain or imperfect. No matter what your current state of health, you can begin to appreciate yourself as a growing, changing person and allow yourself to move toward a happier life and positive health.

Wellness is about learning to love your whole self. It is about assuming charge of your life, living in process, and channeling life energy. It is about choices. It is about the one way to wellness—your way. It is about you.