by Alyssa Protsman, MS, CWP

As we move from 2022’s NWC theme “Well Connected” to this year’s focus on how to “ACTIVATE” wellness, there have been many conversations around how to engage the hearts and the minds of wellness professionals to make a greater cultural impact in communities where they live, work, learn, play, and reflect.

Authenticity, connection, and storytelling are great drivers of wellness and helping others navigate the stages of behavior change. This is a lot different than the Measure/Act/Measure formula we see performed time and time again in wellness initiatives across individual, community, and corporate settings. Pursuing a Social Activation of Wellness approach helps us tap in to individuals’ inherent need and desire for personal validation, belonging, and meaning.

Here our five steps to consider including in your wellness strategy when working to activate social change:

  1. Listen Well – Learn who you are trying to help by creating a variety of opportunities where people feel safe to share their stories and their needs.
  2. Invest in Sustainability – Choose solutions and strategies that honor the whole-person and consider extrinsic influences and environment.
  3. Build a Trusting Community – Cultivating a culture of wellness requires that practitioners and leaders show up with authenticity and integrity to establish mutual trust. To influence others positively, we need to talk the talk AND walk the walk to gain buy-in while showing consideration and respect to the individuals and families that we wish to serve. Make sure you are providing the support your audience and participants need in order to be successful. Every time you follow through, you can build trust.
  4. Match Their Interests – Meet people where they are and find out what makes them tick. What are their values – their non-negotiables? What drives them to action?
  5. Listen Again – Go beyond quantitative surveys and evaluations and continue to offer participants the option to share their experiences anonymously or in a group event or discussion.

Humans are social creatures that thrive when we feel accepted and connected, especially when working through big life changes. We see this as a factor for patients working to recover from tobacco and other addictions. We see this is as a factor in employees trying to make better food choices during the workday.

To ACTIVATE wellness, we must consider and prioritize the social drivers of well-being, otherwise any change we see will only exist in the short-term.

That is why a program or initiative that enlists a comprehensive well strategy and brings in trained wellness practitioners that exercise all domains of National Wellness Institute’s Wellness Promotion Competency Model is going to result in greater buy-in, traction, and results.

Well leaders and Certified Wellness Practitioners go beyond checking the box when it comes to addressing health and quality of life concerning their clients and participants. We know that change happens when we combine our knowledge of the body, the brain, and other factors of behavior change with the passion we have for helping others find healing, live well, and feel their best. We are advocates, champions, navigators, and changemakers. In order to practice what we preach, we need a community of diverse wellness professionals to plug into, ask questions, share stories, learn together and celebrate success.

To stay connected with your peers in the wellness space and stay on top of evidence-based strategies to activate sustainable change, join NWI at this year’s 48th Annual National Wellness Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 19-21, 2023.  NWC is the leading destination for wellness professionals and practitioners to connect, collaborate, engage, and elevate industry standards.