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In the age of social media, the concept or idea of being “healthy” always somehow seems to be trending, but influencers throwing around wellness buzzwords often use “health” and “well-being” interchangeably. In fact, these terms are frequently mixed up by most people when in reality, they have very different meanings. 

According to the dictionary, health can be defined as being free of illness or injury, including both physical and mental health. While physical health means having a strong and capable body free of any maladies, mental health refers to having a strong and capable mind. Together, mental and physical health impact every aspect of life. 

Similarly, well-being can be defined as the state of being “comfortable, healthy or happy.” Broken down further, this would mean experiencing good mental and physical health, as well as having a sense of life purpose and a high level of life satisfaction. 

Well-being comes from the sum total of experiences, thoughts and behavior – much of which can be controlled. Well-being describes physical, spiritual, emotional, social, occupational and environmental aspects.

In the words of Stephanie Murdock (an executive director of occupational medicine and employee health), the main difference between health and well-being or wellness is that “Health is the goal and wellness is the active process of achieving it.” 

What Contributes To Good Health And Wellbeing?

Of course, everyone wants to be healthy and well, but attaining a healthy well-being is a challenge for most people. That being said, if health and well-being are in question, it makes every sphere of life more difficult, so being healthy is well worth the effort. There are four main areas that contribute to health and well-being, detailed below.

Diet and Exercise

It is well known that eating well and moving the body leads to increased physical and mental health, which serves to heighten overall well-being. Eating healthily can take many different forms, but one of the most popular and balanced ways to achieve a healthy diet is to use the 80:20 rule. 

With the 80:20 diet, a person must eat healthily 80 percent of the time and use the remaining 20 percent for indulgences. Healthy food is food that has not been processed, which is proven to have major health benefits. 

Mental Health

There is a direct link between mental and physical health. When mental health declines, physical health declines too –  since stress and trauma play a major role in well-being. If too many negative emotions build up, there can be serious consequences, such as developing depression or anxiety. 

Traumas like losing a loved one are known to impact mental health, so it’s a good idea to take extra care of yourself during such times. This could look like connecting socially, exercising regularly, focusing on the present moment or even going down a more unorthodox road like scheduling an online medium reading for peace of mind. 

Personal Hygiene

Hygiene and well-being go hand in hand, with tasks such as cleaning your body, brushing your teeth and washing your hands having to be repeated daily. Often when a person is depressed or suffering from a mental health condition, personal hygiene goes out the window. 

This can cause health problems, exacerbating the depression, leading to what can easily become a vicious circle. At the end of the day, small actions done consistently can lead to big changes in well-being, so it’s a good idea to start now, and you might be surprised at the results!

Social Relationships

It’s been found that pursuing meaningful relationships can lead to boosting one’s wellness. In order to build social wellness specifically, you’ll need to work on social skills, including communication, kindness and gratitude. These skills make for positive social interactions, which ease loneliness, anger or a sense of disconnection. 

When social well-being is developed, you will feel a strong connection to other people. This is one of the best ways to enhance your mental health and overall well-being. 

Well-Being and Health Are Essential

So there you have it, a complete breakdown of the key differences between the terms “health” and “well-being,” as well as the roadmap to achieve yours. According to Murdock, “Wellness is achieved when someone strives for balance in their life by constantly making choices to further their health and fulfilment. Wellness has a direct influence on overall health.”

Fortunately, science has revealed that diet and exercise, social relationships, personal hygiene and mental health can all enhance well-being. It is thought that the benefits can kick in within as soon as five weeks. That being said, you need to stick to your guns if you want to maintain your wellness. 

Keep in mind that creating a realistic well-being plan can be a complete game changer and can keep you motivated as you strive to better your health and wellness.

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