What's the difference between Health & Wellness?

Health vs. Wellness


Health refers to a state of being, from physical health to social and mental health. While whole-person or holistic health is the goal, health is often achieved by breaking down the areas that need attention and taking steps to address each area, from heart health to gut health. The steps that one would take to improve either of those areas of health might start with many of the same things, such as aiming to lose weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol by limiting processed foods, eating more nutrient-dense foods, prioritizing sleep, managing stress, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and much more.

Essentially, health is the goal, while wellness, on the other hand, is the process of living a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness encompasses the many areas of our lives that impact our health and well-being, and not just our nutrition and physical activity! At in. my schooling at IIN, we call these areas primary food –making the food on our plate secondary – and how well we nourish ourselves with these “foods” will determine our overall wellness.


IIN’s Circle of Life exercise is one of the best ways to figure out how much attention you’re paying to:

  • Career

  • Creativity

  • Education

  • Finances

  • Health

  • Home cooking

  • Home environment

  • Joy

  • Physical activity

  • Relationships

  • Social life

  • Spirituality

Doing this exercise will illuminate which areas need strengthening, and you might find there are crossovers, such as finances with career; home cooking with home environment; or relationships with social life and joy.That's why I always go over this with my coaching clients. Our well-being is interconnected, and optimal wellness will depend on the balance of all areas together. We find balance by strengthening each area on its own in addition to all the areas as a whole.

So is health or wellness more important than the other? No. In fact, that’s why the term health and wellness exists – to bring the two together to demonstrate that to truly be healthy and fulfilled, you can’t have one without the other.

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