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Health and Wellness Defined

Posted by TNCS on Feb 20, 2019

Let’s start with an activity. Open a new tab on your web browser. Type “define health.”
Go ahead, I’ll wait (using the time to take a few mindful breaths.)

Most of you will see the same definition I found:
Noun: “the state of being free from illness or injury.”

Really? That’s the best we can do? “Hey, I’m not sick so I am healthy.” I am sure we both know people who are in poor health, despite the fact that they are “free from illness or injury.”

As your child’s Health and Wellness teacher, I hope you would hold me to a higher standard than this when designing a curriculum. So, I continued my quest for a better definition. In 1946, the World Health Organization defined health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Alright. I can work with this. Here, health is not just defined by the physical but a more holistic view which calls us to consider our mental and social health. We also see the word “well-being,” which moves the ball away from a status quo of, “Well, at least I am not sick.” Yet, this isn’t enough to build a meaningful curriculum for your child.

This brings us to defining the word ‘wellness.’ This time, you take a mindful breath, and I’ll search the definition for you. “The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Okay, now we’re talking! We finally begin to see there is a difference between surviving versus thriving.

At TNCS, we strive to help students move from surviving to thriving in their daily lives. Our Health and Wellness program is no different. Through skills-based instruction inspired by the National Health Standards, we challenge students to critically think about relevant topics in their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Most importantly, the content of our program is flexible to meet the needs of our students and our community in an ever-changing world of influences and information.

No matter the content, we focus in four key elements of learning: KASH.

  • Knowledge: What are the facts? How do I determine credibility of information?
  • Attitude: What are my opinions? How am I influenced internally and externally?
  • Skills: What are my abilities? How do apply what I have learned?
  • Habits: What are my intentions? How do I make this a lifelong habit?

At TNCS, the old school definition of health won’t do. Health and wellness are not defined by a dictionary. They are defined by the influences and choices in our daily lives. It is the difference between saying “an apple a day,” and the ability to analyze what type of apple it is, how it was grown, the best way to prepare it, it’s nutritional content, and determining if there is truly a need to eat one every day.

Read about the 6 Dimensions of Wellness and find some helpful resources at the National Wellness Institute.

Jim Morgan
Health and Wellness Teacher