What is human flourishing? And how does it relate to wellness and wellbeing programs? Flourishing can be defined as a state in which all aspects of a person’s life are good, or put simply, the ability to live a good life. It includes living well and achieving potential. It encompasses all aspects of wellbeing of the whole person and draws on the unique strengths of individuals while applying universally to all human lives. The concept of human flourishing has been explored throughout history, from Aristotelian ethics all the way through contemporary study of positive psychology. In this article, we explore how human flourishing applies to whole-person health, wellness and wellbeing through the lens of Asset Health.
Our Approach to Whole-Person Care
Whole-Person Health, Wellness and Wellbeing
Asset Health is committed to the health, wellness and wellbeing of the whole person. In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined total health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”1 Simply because one is illness-free does not imply they are healthy and living well, in a state of wellbeing. Unfortunately, healthcare has historically focused on illness, disease prevention and physical risk mitigation through a simple “deficit” based lens. This reality has taken place at the expense of promoting true human flourishing.2 Wellbeing has become synonymous with the state of our physical bodies, but this is incomplete.
Complete Health: Being, Doing and Living
Consistent with current scientific research, at Asset Health, wellbeing includes not only the absence of disease and the presence of wellness but moves beyond physical and mental states.3 Wellbeing means to live “well” — to flourish and thrive: in all aspects of life. According to researchers, wellbeing can be further defined as “including all the manifold ways in which human beings can be, do, and live well.”4
At Asset Health, we define complete health as an integration of the following:
Health (Being) – refers to thephysical, mental, financial, etc. health state of a person
Wellness (Doing) – refers to habits and behaviors
Wellbeing (Living) – refers to meaning and purpose as influenced by beliefs, aspirations, identity and relationships
Supporting Personal “Best Health”
Stepping beyond the limitations of a system that simply measures physical health state, Asset Health is driven to support the complete wellbeing of participants, helping them achieve their personal “best health.” Every individual is unique, with distinctive health and wellbeing aspirations. As such, we meet each participant where they are in the journey, supporting them to realize their unique optimal state of health, wellness and wellbeing. Health, wellness and wellbeing, or being, doing and living, are crucially integrated to supporting us to live out this personal “best health.”
Flourishing at Asset Health
Our technology and coaching services are designed to actualize human flourishing by enhancing traditional health prevention and management strategies through the integration of human strengths and growth.5 Flourishing at Asset Health follows the findings of the scientific community and constitutes not only positive physical and mental health states, but also increased meaning, purpose, happiness, engagement, character development and strong relationships that sustain wellbeing.6 7
Asset Health Wellbeing Wheel
Promoting a life of balance and integration, health (being), wellness (doing)- and wellbeing (living) exist throughout the eight domains of the Asset Health Wellbeing Wheel8: physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, environmental, occupational and spiritual wellbeing. By activating one’s strengths and nature with the science of human motivation, we strive to support greater thriving in one’s relationship to self, others and the community at large leading to a life of greater wellbeing and joy.
1 World Health Organization (WHO). (1948) “Constitution”. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/about/governance/constitution (May 6th, 2022)
2 VanderWeele, T. J., McNeely, E., & Koh, H. K. (2019). Reimagining health—flourishing. Jama, 321(17), 1667-1668.
3 Lomas, T., Case, B., Cratty, F. J., & VanderWheele, T. (2021). A global history of happiness. International Journal of Wellbeing, 11(4).
4 Lomas, T., Case, B., Cratty, F. J., & VanderWheele, T. (2021). A global history of happiness. International Journal of Wellbeing, 11(4).
5 Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2000). A positive revolution in change: Appreciative inquiry. In Handbook of Organizational Behavior, Revised and Expanded (pp. 633-652). Routledge.
6 Seligman, M. E. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Simon and Schuster.
7 VanderWeele, T. J. (2017). On the promotion of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(31), 8148-8156.
8 Adams, T., Bezner, J., & Steinhardt, M. (1997). The conceptualization and measurement of perceived wellness: Integrating balance across and within dimensions. American Journal of health promotion, 11(3), 208-218.