What is the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

Key takeaway: Understanding the difference between health, a state of physical well-being, and wellness, a holistic approach encompassing various dimensions of one's life, is key to achieving a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Strive for both for overall well-being.
What is the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to neglect our well-being in pursuit of success. We often use the terms “health” and “wellness” interchangeably, but do they mean the same thing? In this article, we will explore the difference between health and wellness and how understanding this distinction can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced life.

How Many Dimensions of Wellness Are There?

Some people may think that health and wellness are simply physical states, but in reality, they encompass various aspects of our lives.

According to the National Wellness Institute, there are six dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Each dimension contributes to our overall well-being and requires attention to achieve balance.

Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness refers to our ability to understand and manage our feelings, build healthy relationships, and cope with stress. It involves being aware of our emotions and healthily expressing them.

Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness is closely tied to job satisfaction and personal fulfillment. It involves finding meaning and purpose in our work, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and developing new skills.

Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is often the first aspect that comes to mind when we think of health. It includes lifestyle choices such as exercise, nutrition, sleep, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking.

A well-balanced diet and regular physical activity can improve not only our physical health but also our mental well-being.

Social Wellness

Social wellness refers to our ability to build and maintain positive relationships with others. It involves developing communication skills, creating healthy boundaries, and cultivating a supportive network of friends and family.

Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness involves engaging in lifelong learning and seeking new knowledge. This can include reading, attending workshops or lectures, and exploring new hobbies or interests.

Continuously challenging our minds can improve cognitive function and overall well-being.

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness is not limited to religious beliefs. It involves finding a sense of purpose, inner peace, and connection to something greater than ourselves. This can be achieved through meditation, prayer, or spending time in nature.

The Definitions of Health and Wellness

Now that we have a better understanding of the dimensions of wellness, let’s dive into the definitions of health and wellness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

On the other hand, wellness is described as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence.”

In simpler terms, health is a state of being, while wellness is an ongoing journey towards achieving optimal well-being.

What Is the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

Based on the definitions above, we can see that health encompasses all aspects of our physical, mental, and social well-being. It is a state that can be measured by medical professionals through various tests and assessments.

Wellness, on the other hand, is a more holistic approach to well-being. It goes beyond the absence of illness and focuses on actively taking care of ourselves in all dimensions of wellness. While health may be influenced by factors outside our control, such as genetics or environmental factors, wellness emphasizes personal responsibility and empowerment to make positive choices for our well-being.

Tips to Improve Your Well-Being

Now that we have a better understanding of the difference between health and wellness, here are some tips to help you improve your overall well-being:

  • Take care of your physical health by incorporating regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
  • Nurture your emotional well-being by practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and seeking support when needed.
  • Find meaning and fulfillment in your work or hobbies to improve occupational wellness.
  • Cultivate positive relationships with others to enhance social wellness.
  • Engage in continuous learning and personal growth for intellectual wellness.
  • Explore your spiritual beliefs and practices to cultivate spiritual wellness.
  • Seek help from professionals if you are struggling with any aspect of your well-being.


In this section, we will be delving into some of the most common inquiries and curiosities that surround our topic.

Can someone have good health but poor wellness?

Yes, someone can have good physical health but neglect other aspects of their well-being, such as emotional or social wellness.

How can I improve my spiritual wellness if I am not religious?

Spiritual wellness is not limited to religion. You can explore practices like meditation, mindfulness, or spending time in nature to improve your spiritual well-being.


In conclusion, health and wellness are not interchangeable terms. Health refers to our physical, mental, and social well-being, while wellness encompasses all dimensions of our lives and is an ongoing journey toward achieving balance and fulfillment.

By understanding the difference between the two and actively working towards improving our well-being, we can lead more fulfilling lives. Remember to take care of yourself in all dimensions of wellness to achieve optimal health and well-being. So, let’s start our journey towards a happier and healthier life together!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Teri Franks, the voice behind Prescott Voice. I've spent years immersing myself in all that Prescott has to offer, and I love sharing the unique stories and experiences I've discovered. When I'm not writing, you'll find me exploring Prescott's trails or tasting our local cuisine. I believe that the vibrant lifestyle here in Prescott inspires us to live a healthier, happier life. Come join me on this exciting journey as we explore Prescott together.

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