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Living Health + Well-Being

Salute to Salutogenesis

The Center for the Study of Human Health’s Living Health + Well-Being initiative focuses on applying the evidence-based health practices we discuss in class to our own lives. Studying health alerts us to the importance of self-care in our mental and physical health. Take time to run, dance, laugh, cook, create, reflect, meditate, and sleep. We hope that you aren't just studying health, but that you are also living health + well-being. Salud! Salut! Salute!

What is "salutogenesis"?

A model describing the dimensions of health and focusing on well-being rather than disease, salutogenesis was promoted in the twentieth century American medical context by Aaron Antonovsky, emphasizing the coping mechanisms of individuals that help them preserve physical and mental well-being and health despite stressful conditions. Added to the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary only in 2019, the namesake is the Roman goddess Salus, personification of health, well-being, prosperity and safety.


From social support to the arts, individuals’ coping strategies are essential to human well-being. What are yours? Re-engage in activities you thought you don’t have time for but actually need for stress-relief, and identify new opportunities. Call a friend, sing, play a game or a musical instrument together, share a meal and a walk – social communication and support help the brain avoid neurological stress, overcome hardship and build resilience. Have a walking buddy? Try South Peachtree Creek Trail.



Human Health x Salutogenesis

Educating students in the science of health and well-being and translating the evidence into action are core to the Emory Human Health educational program. Predictive Health emphasizes the emerging causal pathways underlying the analog state of health.


Take one concept that you have learned and put it into action. For example, as Dr. Quave explains, take benefit from turmeric or ginger added to your menu. As Dr. Benardot advises, don’t wait until you’re hungry and thirsty to eat and drink today—by then it’s too late as steady blood sugar levels keep the brain happy. And, as Dr. Noble describes, don’t forget to breathe: breathing slowly and deeply isn't just for relaxation—it helps keep memory sharp, enhance alertness, and promote whole-body health. Be patient with yourselves and others, take a few minutes to consider how contemplative reflection can be harnessed to enhance your emotional well-being. For an outdoor break, try the Emory Path.



Human Experience x Salutogenesis

The opportunities we all have to enhance our health, well-being, and flourishing potential rely on self-empowerment in daily choices. Identifying our stress points and strengths as they arise in daily life empowers us to manage events and shape our health. We may discover satisfaction in new solutions to challenges and find ourselves developing new habits. Mindfulness and participating in activities we find meaningful can bring a sense of calm and joy to even the most difficult day.


The power of place to influence how we feel in daily life is profound. Try an exercise from Dr. Raison's "21st Century HLTH & Well-Being.” Identify a place where you feel most centered. Reflect on what this place means to you, and what sensations, feelings, and moods emerge for you in “your place.” Consider where in the local environment you can find a similar experience and spend time there when you need to re-energize. For inspiration take a look at the Topophilia Project. Try finding your place at the Lullwater Preserve.


Well-being x Salutogenesis

Life is filled with experiences beyond the control of individuals. Maintaining a sense of well-being is a challenge, and something many people have to learn to achieve. From human contact to mental imagery, identifying sources from which to draw strength and energy is a journey.


Empower yourself to manage your well-being. Engage in an activity that gives you a sense of well-being. This may involve prayers, meditation, a walk, a swim, playing music, or any activity that engages you to the point of losing sense of time and self, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined “flow.” Give meditation a try or visit Sacred Spaces on campus.


Celebrating Salutogenesis Discoveries

The Center for the Study of Human Health faculty are among leading University scholars who have numerous achievements to celebrate this year in health and well-being, from ground-breaking discoveries in the treatment of COVID-19 to the launch of the Co-Design Lab, a novel health innovation enterprise partnering with local-global communities.  In addition, Predictive Health celebrates 15 years of their ground-breaking, longitudinal study of healthy individuals to better understand the science of health, well-being, and salutogenesis.


Discovery is based upon creativity, innovation, and understanding.  Listen to stories of health discovery on Health is Everything and explore resources on campus where you can create and learn new skills:

Emory ArtsLab
Emory TechLab
The Hatchery