Series: A deeper look at the 5 pillars of well-being

It’s already starting.  Or is it?  Maybe it’s been around for years.  The movement from wellness to well-being feels and sounds new but the concept has been put forth in the past.

In 1948 the preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization defined health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.”  Then, in 1961 Halbert Dunn, wrote his book “High Level Wellness” and said wellness was all about holistic approaches to living life with meaning, vigor and social connectivity.  Now, in 2016 whatever the definition for well-being is, it’s safe to say it includes the word complete and/or holistic.

Wellness is moving away from just a focus on a person’s physical health to focus on a person’s overall well-being.  As this focus changes, so will the initiatives that support the well-being.  And employers can have a significant influence on an employee’s well-being.

Should employers be a part of the well-being movement?

When a company understands their influence in helping an employee reach a higher level of well-being, they will benefit from a happier, healthier, more productive and engaged workforce, that will ultimately have a positive result to their bottom line.  Businesses would be wise to measure and manage employee well-being consciously, consistently and with a goal of improving outcomes.

So maybe our future is hidden in the past.  With improving and ever-changing technology we can reach and support people in ways we haven’t done before.  We can offer more solutions.  Solutions outside of the healthy nutrition and activity realm (physical wellness) and move into solutions that positively affect our overall well-being including our social, community, career and financial health.  Still, with any component of well-being, a strong mentor/advocate/coach will always bring additional value by supporting those who are ready to live happier, healthier lives.  And a happier, healthier workplace is a safer workplace – physically and psychologically.

Essential elements of well-being

A past Gallup organization’s study of 150+ countries worldwide identified five essential elements of well-being.  These elements describe aspects of our lives we can do something about, make a life that matters.

  1. Career Well-being — the most important one — whether you like what you do each day (which is not necessarily work)

  2. Social Well-being — relationships and love

  3. Financial Well-being — managing finances in order to reduce stress and increase security

  4. Physical Well-being — levels of health and energy

  5. Community Well-being — involvement in community activities.

Over the next few weeks, will be taking a closer look at each of the Pillars of Well-being and how each can impact your organization.