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Understanding the REAL Nature of the Wellness Concept

Introduction: What is wellness?

Because the term wellness has been used indiscriminately for decades, many have abandoned it in favor of more generic terms (e.g., health promotion). However, others, particularly those who embraced and used it decades ago, continue to describe wellness as a positive lifestyle for anyone looking to thrive, thrive, and maintain vitality and well-being. Wellness advocates and promoters do not confuse the term, first used by physician Halbert L. Dunn in the 1950’s, with issues relating to prevention, health education, alternative medicine, the spa business, product promotion, or anything else unrelated related industries.

However, since so many medical professionals, entrepreneurs, alternative medicine advocates, spa organizers, and various new-age hippie dippies like actress Gwyneth Paltrow have embraced the term for their own diverse interests that have nothing to do with personal responsibility, I’ve I decided decades ago to create a brand for authentic wellbeing.

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To emphasize my work, which advances a positive life-enhancing model based on the true nature and logical dimensions of positive wellness, I added the modifier REAL to the word wellness. REAL is an acronym; the four letters REAL stand for reason, exuberance, sportiness and freedom.

How does this form of wellness differ?

REAL Wellness is about positive approaches, perspectives and opportunities to improve the quality of life. Risk reduction, medical management, prevention, and anything else geared toward cost containment in workplace wellness programs is all well and good, as are medical services, medical testing, and most common health services. However, it is best not to confuse such offers with the original, unadulterated form of wellness. The latter involves a focus that goes beyond (and does not include) the absence of disease, dysfunction, and dissatisfaction.

REAL Wellness invites continued learning and progress toward life-affirming things, including but not limited to happiness, positive passions, meaning and purpose, joy and affection, effective decision-making, and expanding personal freedoms. It’s about living the life you want to enjoy while being in tip-top shape both physically and mentally.

When you invest the time and energy in taking care of yourself, don’t settle for gadgets, diets, amateur endeavors, or anything but REAL wellness.

Protecting the integrity and meaning of the concept

You might share my idea that other uses of wellness without this modifier are most likely FAKE wellness. I am pleased to announce that I have been granted a registered trademark for REAL wellness ® by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The first person I told about the REAL Wellness trademark award was Dr. Grant Donovan, the Australian Halbert L. Dunn who popularized wellness down under in the 80’s and 90’s and with whom I have worked closely ever since. Here’s what he wrote in a congratulatory email:

On a very long continuum, wellness has become a broad marketing term for everyone from medical and pseudo-health groups to resort owners, spa operators and tour operators. In fact, it can be difficult to find a more bastard word in any language.

In a randomly assembled and utterly meaningless world, overpopulated with people who are all here by accident rather than willingly, I see a wellness lifestyle as a fun way to fill in the time between birth and death, not as a way of keeping people alive obtained to experience an insane or painful ending. That’s just not REAL wellness.

Good luck getting your wellness back on track. I hope REAL Wellness helps at least a few people find a fun way into the abyss.

Don’t be fooled by those who peddle services and products as if there is a shortcut or alternative to adopting a philosophy and creating/fine-tuning a lifestyle that keeps you mentally and physically in tip-top shape. There are no shortcuts or effortless ways to true wellness beyond the limiting norms of the general population. To be at your game, that is, winning life in all the important ways, settle for nothing short of REAL well-being.

Thanks to Donald Ardell

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