Different people prize different aspects of wellness
Everyone has a personal perspective on what ‘wellness’ means to them, and this can vary in different situations or at different ages. While most have a mixture, for some, relationships with family and friends is most important, for others it might be their cognitive competencies, or their physical energy, or stamina. For others it is their sense of belonging. The preferred balance of all aspects is personal. Illness on the other hand, is professionally defined. While there are assessment tools for various aspects of wellness, they may be limited to one professional view and not reflect all that a person values. Our cultural background will influence our worldview of what we consider wellness or illness.
But an overarching understanding of what wellness is emerging. The field of positive psychology has chosen to move beyond the disease model and focus on people with illness that has dominated psychology. Seligman, another of the leaders in the field characterizes this evolution in several ways “The first is that psychology should be just as concerned with human strength as it is with weakness. It should be just as concerned with building strength as with repairing damage. It should be interested in the best things in life. And it should be just as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling, and with genius, with nurturing high talent”. And it moves beyond the idea of simply feeling good. Seligman describes the five elements essential to human wellbeing, with the acronym PERMA:
- P = Positive emotion
- E = Engagement
- R = Relationships
- M = Meaning
- A = Accomplishments.
You can access more information from the Seligman TED talk.