Wellness is one of those interesting topics that sound a little bit new-age and a little bit like backpain8-imagegrandma’s common sense! Whether you view the concept of wellness as a revolutionary thought or the revival of age-old wisdom, one thing is for sure-wellness is about the journey, not the destination. There is another absolute about wellness that is important to put on the table right from the start: Wellness is about the whole state of a person. It is far more than simply being healthy-as if that was a simple process! It is about attaining physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.


Many of the strategies offered in these next pages will be directed toward helping you gain physical capacity, strength and resilience. Let’s be clear, these are very good qualities to have, and to have them in great abundance is even better. But the goal is to help you gain insight and meaning into the circumstances of your life and then to help you put your life to work for the betterment of the human condition. That betterment may be as a mother who better prepares her children for the world they will live in as adults. It may be for the businessman who sees the greater good and the greater harm that stem from his immediate decisions and then chooses to do what is best for the long haul of all involved. It may be for the politician or community leader who understands the awesome capacity his or her respective group, organization, community or culture has provided and then to act in the best interest of the greater good for humankind.

It has been said, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Wellness is not a free ride. It requires hard work, attention to detail and persistence beyond imagination.What we contribute to our society through the good fortune of our wellness is one example–an example of how life can be lived to achieve more than our wildest imaginations could have ever dreamt. Whether you are a health care provider, a health advocate, a person desiring to live a better, fuller life or just a curious soul, the concepts of wellness dutifully applied will cause you to do a better job, be a better person and offer a greater example.One of the earliest authors and proponents of the concept of wellness in the 20th century was Don Ardell, Ph.D. Dr. Ardell continues to write passionately about the concept and pursuit of wellness. One of the most important contributions he has offered to this discussion involves the characteristics of the “wellest of the well”. He offers the following as signs for how we should recognize these paragons of wellness:

• High self-esteem and a positive outlook

• A foundation philosophy and a sense of purpose

• A strong sense of personal responsibility

• A good sense of humor and plenty of fun in life

• A concern for others and a respect for the environment

• A conscious commitment to personal excellence

• A sense of balance and an integrated lifestyle

• Freedom from addictive behaviors of a negative or health inhibiting nature

• A capacity to cope with whatever life presents and to continue to learn

• Grounded in reality

• Highly conditioned and physically fit

• A capacity to love and an ability to nurture

• A capacity to manage life demands and communicate effectively


A quick review of these characteristics reveals some very important insights: Health care providers have little to do with achieving these circumstances and for the most part they are matters of mental perspective as opposed to physical capacity. Quite simply, we can attain great physical prowess and not be very “well” at all. Conversely, we can be quite ill, on our deathbeds even, and demonstrate almost all of the characteristics of the “wellest of the well”.