Seven Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness is the pursuit of continued growth and balance in the seven dimensions of wellness. Many people think about “wellness” in terms of physical health only. The word invokes thoughts of nutrition, exercise, weight management, blood pressure, etc. Wellness, however, is much more than physical health. Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is a complex interaction that leads to quality of life.
Wellness is commonly viewed as having seven dimensions. Each dimension contributes to our own sense of wellness or quality of life, and each affects and overlaps the others. At times one may be more prominent than others, but neglect of any one dimension for any length of time has adverse effects on overall health.
The Seven Dimensions of Wellness
Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors including adequate exercise, proper nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. It means learning about and identifying symptoms of disease, getting regular medical checkups, and protecting yourself from injuries and harm. Developing such healthy habits today will not only add years to your life but will enhance the enjoyment and quality of those years.
Tips for optimal physical wellness:
Get adequate rest
Use seat belts, helmets, and other protective equipment
Learn to recognize early signs of illness
Eat a variety of healthy foods
Control your meal portions
Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
Use alcohol in moderation, if at all
Emotional wellness is a dynamic state that fluctuates frequently with your other six dimensions of wellness. Being emotionally well is typically defined as possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger. It means having the ability to love and be loved and achieving a sense of fulfillment in life. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings.
Tips for optimal emotional wellness:
Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings
Cultivate an optimistic attitude
Seek and provide support
Learn time management skills
Practice stress management techniques
Accept and forgive yourself
The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.
Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness include:
Take a course or workshop
Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
Learn to appreciate art
Social wellness refers to our ability to interact successfully in our global community and to live up to the expectations and demands of our personal roles. This means learning good communication skills, developing intimacy with others, and creating a support network of friends and family members.
Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. Contributing to your community and to the world builds a sense of belonging.
Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include:
Cultivate healthy relationships
Contribute to your community
Share your talents and skills
Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas
Spiritual wellness involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose. It is willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence, to question everything and to appreciate the things which cannot be readily explained or understood.