The holistic model of wellness was developed by Myers, Sweeney and Witmer. “Wellness” refers to a way of life orientated towards optimal health and well-being in which body, mind, and spirit are integrated by the individual to live more fully within the human and natural community. Ideally, it is the optimum state of health and well-being that each individual is capable of achieving. The Model of Wellness consists of 5 life tasks, namely: 1. Spirituality 2. Self-direction 3. Work and leisure
4. Friendship and 5. Love These life tasks interact dynamically with each other, and with various life forces (eg. Family, community, religion). Global events, whether natural or human, have an effect on the life tasks and life forces. Changes in one area of wellness affect other areas (in positive and negative directions), and different components of wellness are more or less salient at different developmental stages, with healthy functioning occurring along a developmental continuum.
The first life task, spirituality, which can be defined as an awareness of a being force that transcends the material aspects of life and gives a deep sense of wholeness/connectedness to the universe. Spirituality is the core characteristic of healthy people, and the source of all dimensions of wellness. Positive thoughts and optimism are components of spirituality. A distinction is made between spirituality, a broad concept representing one’s beliefs and values, and religiosity, a narrower concept that refers to institutional beliefs and behaviours.
Religiosity is a public matter, whereas spirituality is more private. The second life task is self-direction, which is the manner in which an individual regulates, disciplines, and directs the self in daily activities and in pursuit of long-range goals. It refers to be mindful and intentional in meeting the major life tasks. The patterns of behaviour and the methods of adjustment to life that make up self-direction are referred to as “positive personality traits”, and they act as buffers against stress. Self-direction has 12 sub-tasks:
Sense of worth: refers to descriptions, prescriptions, and expectations about our self. 2. 2. sense of control: where perceived self control results in positive outcomes, and perceived lack of self-control in negative outcomes 2. 3. realistic beliefs: increases the potential for healthy behaviours in response to life events 2. 4. emotional awareness and coping: where healthy functioning is reflected in rich, varied, and frequent expressions and responses to people and events within one’s daily experiences problem solving and creativity: this intellectual stimulation is necessary for healthy brain functioning and hence, quality of life across the life span.
Sense of humour: including both recognition and appreciation of humorous stimuli 2. 7. nutrition: where there is a clear relationship between what we eat and our health, moods, performance and longevity 2. 8. exercise: which is the essential in preventing disease and enhancing health, promoting healthy aging 2. 9. self-care: which requires personal habits of preventative behaviour as well as remedial treatments
Stress management: promotes positive psychological and physiological functioning 2. 11. gender identity: which is a basic, existential conviction that one is male or female and 2. 12. cultural identity: which includes racial identity, acculturation and an appreciation for the unique aspects of one’s culture, and is positively related to well-being. The 3rd life task is work and leisure, which is task-centred, and provides an opportunity for pleasurable experiences that are intrinsically satisfying, and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Work serves the major functions of economic support, psychological purposes, and social benefits. It is useful to the community whether for monetary gain or social purposes. Work satisfaction is one of the best predictors of longevity as well as perceived quality of life. Validation in the work environment and feelings of competence have positive effects on people’s well-being. A balance should be kept between a person’s work and other commitments and relationships, since this is a good predictor of mental health.
Leisure activities, including physical, social, intellectual, volunteer and creative, have a positive effect on self-esteem, and also act as mediators of stress. The 4th life task is friendship. This involves all of one’s social relationships that involve a connection with others, either individually or in the community, but do not have a marital, sexual, or familial commitment. According to Adler, everyone is born with the need to connect to others. There is a positive connection between friendship quality and sense of well-being.
Social support acts as a buffer against stress, whereas social isolation is a negative predictor of health. The 5th and final life task is love. Love relationships are relationships that are formed on the basis of sustained, long-term, mutual involvement and commitment and involve intimacy. These relationships provide protection against physical and mental illness, increased longevity, and an enhanced sense of well-being. This model depicts the person at different levels, relationships, and developmental stages, and strives for the achievement of optimal mental health.