Many of my friends are passionate about cycling. And I also have many friends that are passionate about wellness. But not many of my friends combine both – like Ashley.Many of you reading this will know a lot about cycling, but perhaps not as much about the term wellness or maybe find it hard to define.
The word wellness, which is often used interchangeably with well-being is not a new concept, but dates back to the 1600s. It is a state of being that humans innately strive for and have theorised about for centuries, with key principles often forming an integral role in Indigenous cultures.
Wellness is today commonly described as an active, lifelong and ever-lasting process of becoming aware of choices, making decisions and taking responsibility towards achieving a balanced and fulfilling life. It is multi-dimensional in nature, unique to the individual and centred on the premise that the mind, body, spirit and community are all interrelated and interdependent.
Key principles associated with wellness theories and models:
- wellness is dynamic, forever changing and has many different levels;
- a range of factors combine to form wellness and it emerges from the integrative and dynamic whole rather than from the sum of its parts;
- environmental contexts impact wellness with supportive environments enhancing wellness;
- life-span developmental changes affect wellness;
- the start of an individual’s life plays a core role in influencing his or her future wellness;
- striving for wellness is an inherent part of the human condition;
- self-responsibility plays a key role in achieving wellness;
- wellness is orientated towards awakening and evolving consciousness;
- awareness, education and growth are central to the paradigm of wellness;
- individuals experience and express wellness uniquely;
- wellness can be achieved in spite of chronic health conditions and/or disabilities;
- wellness may be enacted differently in different cultures;
- wellness may be understood in terms of energy;
- it is essential to recognise the spirit when discussing wellness; and
- the concept can be applied to the individual, family, school, wider community and the world.
Since the 1970s there have been a range of wellness measures developed so people can find out more about the concept and discover areas that they would like to improve upon, for example mental and social health. I think taking a wellness measure is a great way to gain a greater understanding of the concept and your own personal wellbeing.
Here are a few links to wellness surveys to try:
Free – HeartMath Institute Personal Wellbeing Survey
$45 subscription cost – Travis and Ryan
Free – The Integrative Health and Wellness Assessment (IHWA)
Albrecht, N. J. (2014). Wellness: A conceptual framework for school-based mindfulness programs. The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, 4(1), 21-36. Retrieved from http://ijw.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.198/prod.161.
Albrecht, N. J. (2011). Does meditation play an integral role in achieving high-level wellness as defined by Travis and Ryan (2004)? Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 8(1), 1-27. doi: 10.2202/1553-3840.1373