What is difference between health and wellness?

The Key Differences Between Health and Wellness: The Complete Guide

When you think of health and wellness, do you find yourself using these two terms interchangeably or blurring the lines between these two concepts? If that’s the case, then you’re not alone. Many people make this common mistake, but it’s high time we clear the air about the differences between health and wellness, and why these nuances matter.

Throughout this in-depth post, we’ll debunk myths, bring you facts, and dig deeper into the realms of health and wellness. We’ll take a look at everything from the strict definitions of these words to the key differences, their effects on daily life, and even the societal implications. So let’s dive in.

Taking A Closer Look At Health

The Official Definition

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In other words, good health isn’t just about not being sick, it also includes a sense of physical, mental, and emotional balance.

Health Factors and Their Implications

There are many factors, both internal and external, that play a significant role in your health. Genetic traits, biological factors, and physical environmental factors, for instance, serve as some of the internal health determinants.

On the other hand, social and economic factors, health services, and health policies can have vast impacts on your health. They can influence the availability and quality of your health care, impact your lifestyle choices, and also determine the extent of your exposure to certain diseases or health risks.

Health – A Personal Responsibility?

While broad factors like the ones mentioned above do play a considerable role in shaping your health; ultimately, it’s your personal habits, choices, and overall lifestyle that hold the most influence over your health.

Did you smoke a lot in your early twenties or lack a balanced diet? Such choices will likely have a significant impact on your long-term health outcomes, including the onset of chronic diseases, the progress of existing health conditions, and your overall longevity.

READ MORE: What is the Concept of Wellness and Wellbeing, And Why Should We Care?

Now, Unraveling The Concept Of Wellness

The Official Definition

The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” It’s how you approach and live your life with the aim to achieve the best possible state of well-being.

Cornerstones of Wellness

Wellness isn’t confined to just your physical state; it encompasses multiple dimensions, including physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, environmental, and even social and spiritual aspects.

Balancing these aspects can lead to an enriched lifestyle and improved overall well-being. For instance, managing stress might involve focusing on your emotional wellness through meditation or yoga, among other things.

READ MORE: How to Improve Health and Wellness: Mastering the Journey

Wellness – A Journey, Not A Destination

Unlike health, wellness isn’t a state. Instead, it represents an ongoing process or a journey. It involves making choices that lead towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It’s about how you live your life, despite your circumstances, to improve your health and well-being.

The Key Differences Between Health and Wellness

Now that we’ve broken down the individual concepts of health and wellness, it’s easier to appreciate how distinct they are, despite their interconnectedness. Below, we’ll explore some of the key differences between health and wellness.

Distinction In Definition

As stated above, health is a state of being, whereas wellness is the approach to achieving a state of health and well-being. In simpler terms, wellness is the roadmap that directs you to a state of health.

Wellness is Broader Than Health

While health primarily focuses on physical, mental, and social well-being, wellness encompasses a broader view of well-being. It includes the environmental, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects also. Therefore, wellness implies a broader focus on our overall quality of life and happiness.

Different Measures of Success

Health is mostly measured by evaluating the presence or absence of diseases, infirmity, and your physiological fitness. A regular health checkup gives you a fairly good picture of your health. Wellness, on the other hand, is much more subjective and harder to measure. It depends on your perception of how satisfied you are in the various dimensions of well-being.

Why Does This Distinction Matter

Understanding the difference between health and wellness is pivotal in evolving your perspective on well-being. It helps you to direct your efforts more efficiently to improve your overall quality of life.

Having a handle on both health and wellness can guide you to make balanced, better-informed decisions. It means knowing that indulging in physical fitness is critical, but so is taking breaks, managing stress, and building social and environmental connections. It also means that maintaining a balanced diet is as important as nurturing your intellectual or spiritual sides.

In the grand scheme of things, understanding the differences between health and wellness can lead us to a society that gives equal importance to physical health, mental health, and holistic well-being.

READ MORE: How Can I Improve My Mental and Emotional Health?


The concept of health and wellness are both integral parts of leading a fulfilling and balanced life. While interconnected and overlapping to an extent, they have distinct meanings and implications. When we understand these differences, we are better equipped to manage our well-being and live healthier, happier lives.

Health is the foundation of our existence, while wellness is the way to optimizing and enhancing that existence. Both are vital, and understanding their nuances can make all the difference in your personal journey towards a fulfilling and robust life.

So make it a point to take care of your health in all its dimensions, but don’t forget to work towards wellness and improve the quality of your journey through life. After all, aren’t we all striving to live not just long, but also rich and satisfying lives?

And remember, both health and wellness are journeys, not destinations. So let’s pledge to make every step along these journeys count.

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