What Research Tells Us About the Immense Value of Wellbeing

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(Newswire.net — November 20, 2019) — We all have our own ways of looking after ourselves. Whether you follow guided meditation exercises explained on an app, go swimming with your Apple Watch tracking your laps or apply an exfoliating face cream, you are partaking in the “wellness” industry.

That industry now generates over 5% of worldwide economic output, says the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), but you might not be aware of just how far-reaching the benefits of wellbeing can be – or, indeed, what research suggests about how you can unlock those benefits.

What is wellness?

It’s a question worth answering, given what a broad term “wellness” can seem. The GWI defines wellness, in words quoted by Forbes, as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”

The wellness economy, meanwhile, is what the GWI describes as “industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives”. Those activities and lifestyles can cover fitness, diet, nutrition and beauty, to list just a few factors.

All of these factors concern how consumers can proactively look after their own health and wellbeing. So, if the “proactive” element is important, what can you do to help improve your health – or encourage other people to help improve theirs? 

Health and wellbeing are closely linked

The word “health” can pop up so often in discussions about wellbeing that you could understandably start wondering whether the two terms are essentially interchangeable. The truth is, not quite; however, health and wellbeing apparently have “two-way causality”…

These are the words of the UK’s Department of Health – which, in a report, elaborates that “good health improves wellbeing and good wellbeing improves health”. The government department cites evidence that happiness could influence physiological processes which, in turn, affect health. 

Therefore, mental health and physical health should not be treated as completely separate and segmented. Negative feelings are, for example, capable of adversely affecting cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems, while people of good wellbeing are likely healthier in lifestyle.

This represents an indirect association between health and happiness, but it has also been established how good wellbeing directly influences good health. According to one estimate, high levels of subjective wellbeing can, compared to low levels of subjective wellbeing, add 4 to 10 years to a person’s lifespan. Research also suggests that feeling positive can help people to live longer. 

The crucial question of workplace wellbeing

Given how much of our lives we spend at work, fostering wellness in the workplace is obviously important – though you may remain uncertain how to effectively go about the task. You should be careful to use the right measures when recording the success of your workplace wellness scheme.

Jason Russell, the North America Total Awards Director for business software purveyor SAP, told Forbes: “It’s not always as simple as counting the number of people that are using the program, but rather assessing the impact.” Keep this in mind as you implement a scheme like the Employee Assistance Programme from LifeWorks.