The primary objectives of this article are (a) to put forth an explicit operational formulation of positive human health that goes beyond prevailing “absence of illness” criteria; (b) to clarify that positive human health does not derive from extant medical considerations, which are not about wellness, but necessarily require a base in philosophical accounts of the “goods” in life; (c) to provoke a change of emphasis from strong tendencies to construe human health as exclusively about the mind or the body toward an integrated and positive spiral of mind-body influences; (d) to delineate possible physiological substrates of human flourishing and offer future directions for understanding the biology of positive health; and (e) to discuss implications of positive health for diverse scientific agendas (e.g., stress, class and health, work and family life) and for practice in health fields (e.g., training, health examinations, psychotherapy, and wellness intervention programs).
Ryff, C. D., &Singer, B. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological inquiry, 9(1), 1-28.