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Consumer Health Resources: Perceptions of Health & Wellness

Resources and tips for patients and health consumers

Point of Contact: Level Up Your Healthcare “Game”

Join Nursing & Health Sciences Librarian, Professor Debra Smith, in an exploration of the cultural, societal, familial, and individual "norms" or "patterns" that we apply to our health and interactions with healthcare professionals. Improve your interactions with providers and transform yourself from a passive patient into a proactive partner advocating for your well-being and health.  Learn valuable tips ranging from scheduling to pre-visit preparation, the actual healthcare visit (virtual or face-to-face), and any post or follow-up contact.

My Body, My Frenemy


     Our relationship with our bodies directly impacts
     our overall health and wellbeing.

     How do YOU view your body?

     Is it your friend and ally?
     A means to an end?
     A “vehicle?”
     An enemy or a rival?

     We can improve our health by reframing how we relate to our bodies.
     Learn how to mindfully turn your body into your ally!


noun: frenemy; plural noun: frenemies
definition: a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.

What is health?

                                                           Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (WHO, 1948)


The World Health Organization (WHO) wrote this definition of health in 1948. In 1986, they further expanded their definition of health when discussing health promotion:

"Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy life-styles to well-being." [1]

Our Thoughts Shape Our Reality

What is your perception of life and the state of your body (your health)?

Do you focus on fighting disease OR on creating health?

Which point of view is "better" and why might that be?

What shapes and influences our perceptions of "health?"

Answers to that vary but may include personal experience(s), family, friends, society, Institutions, national policies/rules, culture, media...

Our mindset can create either an adversarial or a cooperative/collaborative relationship with our bodies and minds.

Countless studies show that a positive attitude leads to a longer, healthier life.

The cultural, societal, familial, and individual "norms" or "patterns" that we apply to our bodies and our health can and do effect our interactions with healthcare professionals.

Prerequisites for Health*

The fundamental conditions and resources for health are:

  • peace
  • shelter
  • education
  • food
  • income
  • a stable eco-system
  • sustainable resources
  • social justice, and equity

*WHO, 1986,

   What other internal or external factors do you think contribute to overall health & well being?

   What about these external factors:

  • Strong Social Network (including emotional support)
  • Traditions (familial, cultural, religious)

   Or the internal factors of being:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Hopeful
  • Engaged
  • Emotionally balanced
  • Resilient

8 Dimensions of Wellness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created a workbook (PDF):
Creating a Healthier Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Wellness

Need Help?


Need research help and not sure where to turn? Get help from the library via email, chat, and online appointments or stop by one of our reference desks during open hours of operation. 

Want to contact your Nursing & Health Sciences Librarian or set up a virtual or F2F appointment with her? Email Debra Smith:

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  • Last Updated: Mar 15, 2024 11:13 AM
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