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  • Writer's pictureEmory DPT Sustainability

August is National Wellness Month!

By Ariel Esperanilla, SPT

Spend this month focusing your attention on self-care & developing new healthy habits and routines!

We tend to hear about "health & wellness" lumped together as one, but they are not the same. But if wellness does not mean the same things as health, then what is it?

Read below to learn more about the dimensions of wellness, and read our blog here about tools to help you take care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs.

Defining Health & Wellness

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" [2].

Where health describes a state of well-being, wellness describes a conscious, evolving, and self-direction process of living a healthy lifestyle [5]. The National Wellness Institute (NWI), defines wellness as, “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence” [1]. This is achieved by viewing wellness as a conscious and evolving process that is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment [5]. The key is understanding that wellness is a choice which relies on decision making and practicing healthful behaviors to cultivate your optimal health.

The Wellness Wheel

This is a widely available tool used to illustrates a wellness model with six dimensions:  physical, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental, occupational, and spiritual. The tool can be found in variations ranging from six to eight dimensions expanded to include environmental and financial factors, for example. This tool allows individuals to reflect on current life-balance and self-care routines in order to improves overall well-being and preventing burnout [4]. 

Wellness is not just one part of the person but their whole life. Spend this month creating new goals and habits and see how much better you feel moving forward!




  1. About Wellness. National Wellness Institute.

  2. Misselbrook D. W is for Wellbeing and the WHO definition of health. British Journal of General Practice. 2014;64(628):582-582. doi:10.3399/bjgp14x682381.

  3. Sanchez-Reilly S, Morrison L, Carey E, et al. Caring for oneself to care for others: physicians and their self-care. Journal of Supportive Oncology. 2013;11(2):75-81. doi:10.12788/j.suponc.0003.

  4. Stoewen DL. Health and wellness. La Revue vétérinaire canadienne . 2015;56(9):983.

Multimedia Sources

  • "Give yourself the same care & attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom" [Digital image]. Retrieved from

  • Eight Dimensions of Wellness Diagram [Digital image]. Retrieved from

  • Six Dimensions of Wellness Diagram [Digital image]. Retrieved from

  • Eight Dimensions of Wellness Model Handout [Digital image]. Retrieved from

  • "Whenever you feel sad just remember there are billions of cells in your body and all they care about is you" [Digital image]. Retrieved from

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