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What’s the Difference Between Health + Well-being + Wellness?

Self-care is the greatest expression of self-love and self-love is the key to self-actualization; a state where one reaches their full potential. Therefore, it’s important to practice self-love not only to experience this blissful state but to genuinely live a purpose-driven and meaningful life. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by taking care of your health, wellness, and well-being. Now you might be thinking “aren’t these all the same?” They each have a different meaning, but there’s definitely some connective factors. Let’s check out how similar and different these terms are from each other. 


Let’s start with ‘Health’. Well, there is no fixed definition for this term. Usually, it’s considered a ‘state’ of being free from any disease or injury. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has a more holistic approach when it comes to describing this word, as they define it as a state, free from not only physical illness but also from mental or spiritual imbalances. 

The WHO definition of Health has some similarities to that of Well-being. Although both refer to the state of a person, there are certain differences that exist between the words ‘Health’ and ‘Well-being’, as the latter is related to matters that are not just limited to the mind, body, and spirit of a person. 


‘Well-being’ can be defined as a ‘state’ of being happy, secure, and healthy. Several important factors play a key role in achieving and establishing a state of well-being. Here’s a list of those factors:

  1. Physical well-being: It refers to a state in which your mind, body, and spirit are aligned and are in harmony with each other.
  2. Financial well-being: It refers to a state where you feel financially secure and in control because of your ability to manage your finances or curveballs without any worry. At a certain point in your life, you may also reach a stage of Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE), which gives you the freedom of time and choices to spend your life the way you want.
  3. Career well-being: This means to love the job or work you do every day while making money from it at the same time.
  4. Social well-being: This refers to having meaningful connections with your family, relatives, friends, and having a social circle that is uplifting, supportive and helps you grow. 
  5. Community well-being: This refers to the ways you can serve and contribute to your community to make it a better place for everyone. 

An important difference to notice between Well-being and Health is that the primary focus of achieving the state of well-being is not only to treat diseases or eliminate negative emotions, such as depression or anxiety, but also to focus on inviting positive emotions and experiences in life that make you feel happier and more fulfilled.


‘Wellness’ on the other hand, is not a state of being and is defined by the National Wellness Institute as “an action-oriented process.” In short, it’s making a conscious effort to adopt healthy habits and to take actions that can improve your health and help you attain well-being. Below are some examples of the actions you can take to achieve these states:

  • Doing meditation and yoga to improve your emotional and spiritual health.
  • Getting an annual screening test, eating a healthy diet, and exercising to prevent diseases, improve your physical health and boost your energy level.
  • Setting goals and working on your passion and purpose.
  • Putting effort into developing meaningful connections.
  • Contributing to your community by performing random acts of kindness like donating clothes, buying food for someone, or giving a smile.