We all aspire to live a healthy, happy and successful life. We feel good when we are healthy.

Good health enables us to engage in various activities, leading to self-fulfilment. Poor health and illness undermine our ability to actualise our potential and could even lead to death.

It is common knowledge that our lifestyles, meaning the choices we make regarding how we live, have a direct bearing on our health.

Medical experts tell us that many human diseases are preventable with the right choices about what we eat or drink, what we do with our bodies and even how we think.

The world is grappling with a surge in chronic but preventable illnesses linked to changing lifestyle patterns among individuals.

These include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Many of these deadly conditions have been attributed to poor lifestyles. They fall within the category known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), now considered a bigger threat to mankind than communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB).

Fortunately, the incidence and prevalence of these killer diseases can be checked by embracing wellness.

There is growing and irrefutable evidence that a healthier lifestyle can cut the risk of debilitating NCDs.

Of course, one’s genes and the environment play a role, too.

Wellness is one avenue to lessening susceptibility to chronic lifestyle illnesses. The term denotes conscious decisions by an individual to maintain good health.

It encompasses wise lifestyle choices that promote good health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines wellness as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”.

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

“Wellness” is used interchangeably with “health”. While the latter refers to the general state of a person’s physical, mental and emotional condition, the former alludes to activities geared to not only preventing disease but also enhancing a person’s overall health and well-being.

For instance, sticking to a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs and managing stress are integral elements of wellness and signify a desire to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional health.

The growing significance of wellness is illustrated by the increased use of work-place wellness programmes to boost employee productivity and reduce costs associated with absenteeism due to illness linked to lifestyle illnesses. Many employers are investing in that.

This may involve interventions directly targeting lifestyle — for example, prohibiting smoking at the workplace and providing sports facilities for employees. Workers with substance abuse problems are offered counselling and medical assistance.

Embracing wellness also reduces the high cost of treatment associated with life-style diseases.

Making conscious positive decisions about lifestyle, therefore, enhances productivity and longevity.

They also come with financial benefits. We should not wait to treat diseases when they strike.

Prevention is always better than cure. Wellness is the way to go.

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