The Wellness Paradigm

As some of you may know, I recently embarked on a new endeavor. At the age of 38, I am ready to get my career-change on. Going back to school is never taken lightly in my family, but any time I mention it to Hershey, he is supportive and helps me find a way to make it work. 

So here I am, lost in my studies in a Master's of Science in Health and Wellness program, getting myself prepped to take the exam to become a clinical nutritionist, and I had this idea. Since this is a distance learning course, all of my peer discussion takes place online. BINGO! I'm going to share this journey with you, and post my weekly discussion responses to this blog (along with other things). 

Point being - if you want to learn more about health and wellness, I'm your gal. Stop by once a week and get caught up on my ramblings. If not, keep it moving. I've got recipes, ruminations on motherhood, and reflections on my own life to keep you entertained. 

My first assignment is for my Stress Management course, and it's all about the Wellness Paradigm. I can hear you already - "What in the...??"

The Wellness Paradigm is "The integration, balance, and harmony of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being through taking responsibility for one's health; posits that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts." Here are my thoughts on this:

Health is so much more than merely the absence of disease. While the medical model focuses on reactionary interventions, what I am most interested in is precautionary intervention -- studying our individual minds, bodies, spirits, environments, and relationships to find strategies to prevent becoming ill in the first place. I see an interconnected being, someone who exists in the surroundings that s/he has chosen for her/himself, and who's "wellness" reacts to those surroundings accordingly. Whereas wellness focuses on thriving in our world, medicine focuses on managing our reactions to the world once our being is out of balance.

When it comes to wellness, we crave support and balance, and we will do just about anything to feel just that - supported and balanced. However, if you are working out for an hour a day and then rationalizing that because you worked out you deserve that doughnut, then you are not in balance. And you will not feel better mentally as long as you are playing the rationalization game.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts - no one knows this better than a musician. When played alone, the sound of a piano is beautiful and mesmerizing. But when joined by an orchestra, the music becomes powerful and overwhelming. Our existence is like that of an orchestra. What is it without the piano (mental)? Without the violin (emotional)? Without the percussion (physical)? Without the flute (spiritual)? The song becomes empty and void of that which makes it whole.

Over the past two years I have adopted a MORE healthy lifestyle - exercising daily, integrating reading, meditation, and prayer as part of my morning routine, peeling back the layers and shedding unhealthy relationships. However, I live with a mental disorder that went unchecked for a number of years, and I assumed that adopting a "healthy lifestyle" would "fix" it. After a bit of a shock, I came to the realization that my mental disorder has gone unchecked for too long, and I enrolled in therapy sessions. I was not in balance. I was leaving part of my health up to chance, and now I have to act in a reactionary manner to try to manage what has become an impediment to my daily life. My mind was diseased, therefore my body and soul were not thriving.

Our society - a society reliant on the "quick fix" - does not see that in order for that fix to continue working, we must feel it, experience it, bind ourselves to it emotionally, and have faith in it. Without those factors, NOTHING will heal our brokenness. When we feel as though we are in control of our own needs (nutritional, spiritual, intellectual, relational), then we experience a much higher rate of satisfaction, which, in turn, causes our health to improve exponentially.

Has YOUR wellness paradigm got you feeling less than balanced? Click here to grab my free e-book all about how to make the most of your time and find some balance in your life!


Hermon, D. A., & Hazler, R. J. (1999). Adherence to a wellness model and perceptions of psychological well-being. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 77(3), 339-343. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Swarbrick, M. (2006). A WELLNESS APPROACH. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29(4), 311-4. Retrieved from