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The Difference Between Wellness and Wellbeing

When you look at the words “wellness” and “wellbeing,” you might think that they’re pretty much the same thing. They look similar, they both include the word “well” … the definitions can’t be that far off from each other, right? Not exactly. 

There’s actually a pretty big contrast between these two words, and it’s important to be aware of the difference. Let’s start by diving into some basic definitions:


“Wellness” is defined as the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal. In general, this refers to your physical health: eating right, exercising, and so on.  

More and more employers are becoming invested in this aspect of their employees’ lives. In fact, it’s estimated that about 50% of U.S. employers offer wellness programs, with larger organizations offering more advanced services. The idea behind many of these programs is that if employees have access to resources that will help them stay on top of their health, they will perform better in the workplace.


“Wellbeing” takes a closer look at the quality of your life as a whole. It is defined as the state of being comfortable, happy, or healthy. According to Gallup, there are five essential elements of wellbeing.

Elements of Wellbeing

  • Career Wellbeing: How much you like what you do every day. 
  • Social Wellbeing: Having strong relationships in your life.  
  • Financial Wellbeing: Effectively managing your economic life.  
  • Physical Wellbeing: Having good health and enough energy to get things done. 
  • Community Wellbeing: The sense of engagement you have with the area you live. 

Focusing on Wellbeing

As you can see, wellness is just a small piece of the puzzle. While you may be thriving in your physical fitness, it’s important to focus just as much of your attention on other aspects of your wellbeing. Strength in all five elements is the ultimate goal. Here are a few ways you can put more of an emphasis on wellbeing for a more well-rounded life:

Career Wellbeing

As Mark Twain once said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life.” Unfortunately, only about 20% of people feel very passionate about their jobs. You can combat this by striving to surround yourself with the most positive coworkers and working on creating a great relationship with your boss. This is potentially the most important aspect of your wellbeing, since you spend a lot of time at work during the week, so be sure to make it a priority.

Social Wellbeing

Make sure you’re hanging out with people who make you feel full. These are the ones who encourage you to be yourself, hold you accountable, and support you in your goals. Great friendships have a certain level of trust, communication, and honesty. Having the right friends will help you thrive in all areas of your life, so be sure to choose your crowd wisely.

Financial Wellbeing

We all have differing relationships with money, but a strong sense of financial wellbeing is important to being able to live a less stressful life. Everyone could use a little improvement in this area. Read this article for tips on how you can improve your financial wellbeing in order to live the life you want.  

Physical Wellbeing

There is much more to your physical health than just eating healthy and working out. Though those two areas are important, remember to focus on things like washing your hands, getting a good night’s sleep, and drinking enough water throughout the day, too. Sometimes, physical health also means knowing when to rest and indulge in self-care. Success comes when you’re able to create a healthy balance in this aspect.

Community Wellbeing

It’s important to feel like you’re truly a part of your community, so get involved! Take on volunteer opportunities, find different clubs to join, and get to know small business owners in your area. Fostering relationships within your community can lead you to a sense of fulfillment in your life.

Balance of Wellness and Wellbeing

Wellness is important, but there is so much more to focus on than that alone. Work on improving the five elements of wellbeing in order to live a more balanced life. 

If you want to maintain a better balance of wellness and wellbeing, consider developing your discipline. It will help you stick to the routines and habits that aid in your success!