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News & Media

What Does Chronic Wellness Look Like for You?

April 10, 2024

By Jill Patton, NBC-HWC
Integrative Health & Wellness Coach

“What does wellness mean to you?”

That’s a question I often ask clients when we first meet — and I’ve learned that wellness is in the eye of the beholder!

Some people talk about physical health, while others speak of a grounded sense of well-being. Some say it’s energy to play with their children or walk in nature, while others focus on freedom from pain.

For many people experiencing chronic illness, the idea of “wellness” may seem out of reach. If that feels true for you, I encourage you to consider expanding your definition of wellness.

Wellness Beyond Illness

This wellness model below, developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, is referred to as the Six Dimensions of Wellness.


One thing this model makes clear is that we are much more than physical beings. We’re physical, emotional, social, and spiritual creatures. We engage with the world in many ways. We are holistic!

So, you don’t have to define your wellness — or lack of it — in terms of a medical diagnosis. I believe it’s possible to touch wellness every day, even in the face of chronic illness.

You can be chronically well.

Embracing Chronic Wellness

As you look at these dimensions, where can you already claim wellness? Where are you most challenged? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

PHYSICALLY: What would feel good to your body? What would nourish it, strengthen it, and soothe it?

EMOTIONALLY: Can you gently acknowledge your feelings of fear, grief, worry, or anger? At the same time, can you find balance through experiences that bring love, gratitude, awe, or even joy?

SOCIALLY: Who matters to you? (And do they know it?) How might you nurture friendships or connect with loved ones on a deeper level?

SPIRITUALLY: What practices center and sustain you? What do you have faith in? What do you hold true and possible, even when you can’t clearly see the path ahead?

INTELLECTUALLY: What knowledge, skills, and wisdom are you gaining? Is it possible to stay curious about unwanted experiences — and how might doing so change those experiences?

OCCUPATIONALLY: (This not necessarily about a job!) How can you contribute your skills, talents, gifts, and perspectives in ways that are meaningful and personally satisfying?

What could chronic wellness look like for you?

I’d love to explore that with you. I’m a health and wellness coach working with Minnesota Personalized Medicine, and my role is to guide and support you as you make changes toward achieving chronic wellness, whatever that looks like for you.

Learn more about health and wellness coaching at, or email me at

Jill Patton, NBC-HWC
Integrative Health & Wellness Coach