Improving My Wellness


Course Description

D11 – Improving my Wellness, 3 CE hours

Course Description: This is a short course that examines the physiological and psychological aspects of personal health and wellness. The course also analyzes the factors that contribute or hinder mental well-being.

Course Objectives: The absence of illness is not wellness. Wellness is the harmonious integration of all personal dimensions. The study of wellness includes the PREVENTION of health problems, the PROTECTION from health threats, and PROMOTION of the health of others.

Course Format: Online linked resources and lectures that you can use anytime 24/7. One multiple-choice test.

Course Developers and Instructors: R. Klimes, PhD, MPH (John Hopkins U), author of articles on physical and mental wellness and awareness.

Course Time: About three hours for online study, test taking with course evaluation feedback and certificate printing.

Course Exam

At the completion of this course, please take test 16144: click here for the self-correcting test.

Course Instructor


Professor Rudolf Klimes, PhD, welcomes you to this online course. Keep going.

START the course here. TAKE the exam at the end. PAY after the exam.



1. What is Wellness?

1.1 Wellness Assessments provides a variety of assessments including a health risk assessment and a fitness assessment.

Some wellness inventories include areas such as self-responsibility, breathing, sensing, eating, moving, feeling, thinking, playing, working, communicating, sex, finding meaning and transcending. (

ERIC_NO: ED248212, TITLE: Wellness Assessment: A Rationale, A Measure, and Physical/Psychological Components, AUTHOR: Shuffield, Gilda; Dana, Richard H., PUBLICATION_DATE: 1984

ABSTRACT: Wellness, or holistic health, represents a positive attitude toward the integration of physical and psychological aspects of lifestyle. There have been few attempts to assess wellness that contain more than questionnaire items across several component areas. This paper describes a test battery that includes physical (nutrition, cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility) and psychological components (health locus of control, self-esteem, and stress and coping skills) and that can be administered in 90 minutes. In addition, an attempt is made to devise a brief global projective measure of inner balance, or coherence congruence, that can substitute for the test battery and be useful for monitoring wellness in specific populations.

1.2 Wellness Definitions

Wellness is defined as the optimal functioning and creative adapting that involves the whole person. Four essential ingredients of wellness are: (1) A lifelong approach emphasizing permanent lifestyle changes. (2) Taking responsibility for one’s own actions. (3) Adding to the quality of one’s life, not simply extending the length of life. (4) Making choices which improve an individual’s position on the lifestyle continuum. (Adapted from: Cardinal, Bradly J. & Krause, J. V. (1989). Physical Fitness: The Hub of the Wellness Wheel. Dubuque: Kendell Hunt Publishing. )

The absence of illness is not wellness. Wellness is the harmonious integration of all personal dimensions. The study of wellness includes the PREVENTION of health problems, the PROTECTION from health threats, and PROMOTION of the health of others.

1.3 Fitness

Fitness can be defined as the capacity for sustained physical activity without excessive fatigue or a the capacity to perform everyday activities with reserve energy for emergency situations. It also provides a degree of protection against hypo-kinetic disease, and a basis for participation in sport. A common way of viewing fitness is by dividing it into the realms of health-related and sport-related.

Health-related physical fitness is an activity aimed to improve health. It exists within five domains:

  1. Cardio-respiratory endurance
  2. Body composition
  3. Muscular strength
  4. Muscular endurance
  5. Flexibility

The goal of health-related fitness is the prevention of or rehabilitation from disease as well as the development of a high level of functional capacity for daily tasks.

Sport-related physical fitness is directed towards optimizing athletic performance, recreational activity, increasing ability to work, and avoidance of injury.

Exercise is an organized, regular program of physical activity designed to develop or maintain the components of physical fitness. Exercise interrupts the homeostatic state of the body which in turn initiates a stimulus to positively adapt to the new state. This eventually leads to improved fitness levels.

1.4 Health Indicators of Wellness

The following excerpt is from HealthyPeople.Gov, the website of Healthy People 2010, which “provides a framework for prevention for the Nation. It is a statement of national health objectives designed to identify the most significant preventable threats to health and to establish national goals to reduce these threats.”

The Leading Health Indicators will be used to measure the health of the Nation over the next 10 years. Each of the 10 Leading Health Indicators has one or more objectives from Healthy People 2010 associated with it. As a group, the Leading Health Indicators reflect the major health concerns in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century. The Leading Health Indicators were selected on the basis of their ability to motivate action, the availability of data to measure progress, and their importance as public health issues.

The Leading Health Indicators are—

  • Physical Activity
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Tobacco Use
  • Substance Abuse
  • Responsible Sexual Behavior
  • Mental Health
  • Injury and Violence
  • Environmental Quality
  • Immunization
  • Access to Health Care


1.5 Which health domain concerns you most?

HEALTH DOMAINS. Move toward optimal wellness in the:

__ PHYSICAL, constraining illnesses __ RATIONAL, creativity and evaluation
__ MENTAL, feelings and thoughts __ SPIRITUAL, meaning of life
__ SOCIAL, personal relationships __ ENVIRONMENTAL, global impact

Application: Avoiding Faculty Burnout through Wellness

Avoiding Faculty Burnout through the Wellness Approach by Wayne Eastman

ERIC_NO: ED399987, TITLE: Avoiding Faculty Burnout through the Wellness Approach, AUTHOR: Eastman, Wayne, PUBLICATION_DATE: 1996     

ABSTRACT: Burnout affects all professions but tends to be more pervasive in the human service occupations such as education. Symptoms include dissatisfaction, negativism, boredom, unpreparedness, testiness, frequent illness, forgetfulness, depression, and tiredness. The wellness approach can lessen or prevent burnout in a community college setting. Centered upon the idea of individuals taking responsibility for their own health status, the approach encompasses the management of time, people, space and physical well-being. Instructors have the responsibility to determine if their teaching is being affected by burnout through regularly completing self-assessments of personal and professional strengths, limitations, and skill areas and recognizing sources of excessive stress. Once negative conditions are identified, faculty should seek ways to prevent or diminish them by achieving and maintaining a balance among their spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being. Finally, specific suggestions for managing time, space, people, and health include keeping weekly schedules of things to do, organizing classroom space and materials to reflect a stress-free environment, developing a cooperative spirit in personal interactions through the sharing of ideas and decisions, and eating well and exercising regularly. Time management and strategy charts for avoiding burnout are included. Diet and exercise tips for avoiding burnout are appended.

Spiritual Health is about finding your place in the universe–the quest for meaning, value and purpose resulting in hope, joy, courage and gratitude.



2. How Do the Dimensions of Health Affect You?

2.1 Healthy Lifestyles

How many health problems are lifestyle related? (eg: Harmful drugs, staying up too late, lack of exercise, eating poorly, not drinking enough water, stress, etc)

How does a healthy lifestyle differ from an unhealthy one?

2.2 Social Health

What is the extend and quality of your relationships?

2.3 Personal Health Risks

How can you lower your risks from infection and lifestyle diseases?

2.4 Harmful Habits

What are the harmful habits that impede your health and what are you doing about them?

2.5 Health Care

Who and how are various people involved in your health care?

2.6 Health Records

Keep up your Health Records that include: Next of Kin, Resting Pulse, Blood-pressure, Allergies, Eye-glasses prescriptions, Fractures, Permanent Disabilities, Present Chronic Diseases, Medication Record, Tests Performed, Reproductive System, Common Childhood Diseases, Quick Reference of Doctors, Maternity Care, Surgeries, Hospitalizations, Dental Care, Therapeutic Services, Immunizations.

2.7 Make Healthy Choices

Make better choices for yourself and your family when choosing doctors, health insurance, online health information, and a healthy lifestyle. Follow the links below to reliable health information from :



3.2 Caring for Your Body

How can you care for your physiological systems? Survey the following six body systems and suggest ways to keep them healthy:

  1. Skeleton and Muscles
  2. Brain and Nerves
  3. Heart, Lungs and Blood Vessels
  4. Digestive Organs
  5. Reproductive Organs
  6. Sense Organs

3.3 Digestive Organs

The following article about how the digestive system works is excerpted from:

Your digestive system and how it works / National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Publisher, Date:
[Bethesda, Md.] : National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, [2004]
NIH publication ; no. 042681

The digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. Inside this tube is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. There are also two solid digestive organs, the liver and the pancreas, which produce juices that reach the intestine through small tubes. In addition, parts of other organ systems (for instance, nerves and blood) play a major role in the digestive system.

Digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract, and chemical breakdown of the large molecules of food into smaller molecules. Digestion begins in the mouth, when we chew and swallow, and is completed in the small intestine. The chemical process varies somewhat for different kinds of food.

The large, hollow organs of the digestive system contain muscle that enables their walls to move. The movement of organ walls can propel food and liquid and also can mix the contents within each organ. Typical movement of the esophagus, stomach, and intestine is called peristalsis. The action of peristalsis looks like an ocean wave moving through the muscle. The muscle of the organ produces a narrowing and then propels the narrowed portion slowly down the length of the organ. These waves of narrowing push the food and fluid in front of them through each hollow organ.

The first major muscle movement occurs when food or liquid is swallowed. Although we are able to start swallowing by choice, once the swallow begins, it becomes involuntary and proceeds under the control of the nerves.

The esophagus is the organ into which the swallowed food is pushed. It connects the throat above with the stomach below. At the junction of the esophagus and stomach, there is a ring-like valve closing the passage between the two organs. However, as the food approaches the closed ring, the surrounding muscles relax and allow the food to pass.

The food then enters the stomach, which has three mechanical tasks to do. First, the stomach must store the swallowed food and liquid. This requires the muscle of the upper part of the stomach to relax and accept large volumes of swallowed material. The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach. The lower part of the stomach mixes these materials by its muscle action. The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine.

Several factors affect emptying of the stomach, including the nature of the food (mainly its fat and protein content) and the degree of muscle action of the emptying stomach and the next organ to receive the stomach contents (the small intestine). As the food is digested in the small intestine and dissolved into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion.

Finally, all of the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls. The waste products of this process include undigested parts of the food, known as fiber, and older cells that have been shed from the mucosa. These materials are propelled into the colon, where they remain, usually for a day or two, until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement.

3.4 Women’s Health

Did you know that Life expectancy for women in the United States is 82? One in seven women will experience major depression in her lifetime. The most common chronic condition affecting women is chronic sinusitis. More than 40 million surgical procedures are performed on women yearly. If cervical cancer is caught early, women have about a 90 percent survival rate. Women account for 65 percent of the medical expenditures each year.Women make three-fourths of the health care decisions in American households and spend nearly two out of three U.S. healthcare dollars, approximately $500 billion each year. Eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, occur in 10 times as many women as men. Heart disease in women often goes undetected and untreated until the disease has become severe. Therefore, 39 percent of women who have heart attacks die within one year, compared with 31 percent of men. Migraines are 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men.

Tests and screenings recommended for women in the 50s age group include:

  • Monthly breast self exam
  • Monthly skin self exam
  • Yearly clinical breast exam
  • Yearly mammogram
  • Yearly pelvic exam
  • Yearly fecal occult blood test
  • Pap smear every 1 to 3 years
  • Blood pressure every 2 years
  • Fasting plasma glucose every 3 years
  • Cholesterol every 5 years
  • Colonoscopy ever 5 years
  • Bone mineral density test once – for screening purposes.



4. Psychological Health

4.1 How can you develop psychological health?

Give yourself…

  • acceptance (It’s OK to be limited)
  • respect (It’s OK to shine)
  • love (It’s OK to be happy alone)
  • changes (It’s OK to grow)
  • aims (It’s OK to move ahead)

4.2 Psychological Ways to Improve Health

Review the six topics below and suggest ways that they can improve your health. Remember that disrespect and lack of love are among the most destructive human values.

  1. Know Yourself.
    • Know your values. Your values are like the mission-statement of your life
  2. Pursue Life and Happiness
  3. Find meaning for life through love, caring for your soul, and helping others.
  4. Feel in Control
  5. Boost your Energy
  6. Connect with Others

4.3 Application: Employer Wellness Programs

ERIC_NO: ED286019, Wellness in Small Businesses. By Behrens, Ruth A., 1985

ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers of small businesses are providing wellness activities for their employees. By instituting wellness programs, small businesses can improve employee morale, engender a commitment from employees, enhance the feeling of “family” among employees, improve worker productivity, and contain health care costs. Wellness programs are especially important for small businesses since small businesses often operate with very small staffs and because health insurance for small businesses is often costly or difficult to obtain. Small businesses can encourage wellness among their employees in the following ways: formulation of policies and implementation of practices aimed at supporting wellness, provision of a supportive physical environment, development of programs to educate employees and their families about the benefits of wellness, provision of small classes, development of incentives (monetary or tangible) for staying healthy, and provision of screening examinations and counseling services. The most successful small business-sponsored wellness programs are generally small, simple, inexpensive, family-oriented, and cognizant of the fact that keeping employees healthy requires providing them with a safe and healthy workplace.


5. Mental Health/Disorders

5.1 How can you relate to mental health? disorders?

Describe the kinds, symptoms and strategies for change and prevention of each of the following disorder:

  1. Anxiety Disorders
  2. Depressive Disorders
  3. Attention disorders, including Schizophrenia

5.2 What are some recent developments in wellness and mental health?

5.3 Depression Fact Sheet

Depression is a serious medical illness. In contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, clinical depression is persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function.

Symptoms of depression include sad mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, change in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, physical slowing or agitation, energy loss, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. A diagnosis of unipolar major depression (or major depressive disorder) is made if a person has five or more of these symptoms and impairment in usual functioning nearly every day during the same two-week period. Major depression often begins between ages 15-30 or even earlier. Episodes typically recur.

Some people have a chronic but less severe form of depression, called dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder), that is diagnosed when depressed mood persists for at least two years and is accompanied by at least two other symptoms of depression. Many people with dysthymia also have major depressive episodes. While unipolar major depression and dysthymia are the primary forms of depression, a variety of other subtypes exist.

Depression can be devastating to all areas of a person’s everyday life, including family relationships, friendships, and the ability to work or go to school. Many people still believe that the emotional symptoms caused by depression are “not real,” and that a person should be able to shake off the symptoms if only he or she were trying hard enough. Because of these inaccurate beliefs, people with depression either may not recognize that they have a treatable disorder or may be discouraged from seeking or staying on treatment because of feelings of shame and stigma. Too often, untreated or inadequately treated depression leads to suicide.

  • Depression affects nearly 10 percent of adult Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people in 1998.

  • Unipolar major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and worldwide.

  • Nearly twice as many women (12 percent) as men (7 percent) are affected by a depressive illness each year.

  • Evidence from studies of twins supports the existence of a genetic component to risk of depression. Across six studies, the average concordance rate in identical twins (40%) for unipolar depression is more than twice the concordance rate in fraternal twins (17%).

  • Research has shown that stress in the form of loss, especially death of close family members or friends, may trigger major depression in vulnerable individuals.

5.4 Mental Health/Wellness Resources


Study this web-site for 3 hours for an approved (RN-CEP 16144) 3-hours Continuing Education Certificate (0.3 CEUs) Now click here for the self-correcting test.

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