When wellness comes to mind, we often think about our health. However, wellness is so much more than just not being sick! It is a dynamic process of change and growth. There are eight dimensions of wellness, each adding a different element to being well.
Think for a moment about goals. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to run my first 5k.” “I want to save more money.” Do you usually focus on just one aspect when setting goals, or do you try to branch out and become better in all the different areas of life? These different areas of life are also known as the different dimensions of wellness.
The eight dimensions of wellness are as follows:
Each dimension of wellness has its own specific focus. Below is a breakdown of each one, in no particular order, along with an easy to apply tip on how to improve that area of your life as individuals.
1) Emotional Wellness
Emotional Wellness is focusing on self care, relaxation, limiting stressors, and developing inner strength. It allows you to accept how you are feeling. Once you accept those feelings, you can begin to understand why you are feeling that way and later, decide how you want to act. Remember, to be optimistic in all you do- this allows you to greet all of your emotions, both positive or negative, with a confident attitude that will allow you to learn from mistakes.
- Smile! Remind yourself to always stay positive.
- Throughout tough experiences, take a moment, step back, and think about the “why” and what you can learn from it.
- Seek for and accept help from others when applicable.
2) Spiritual Wellness
Spiritual Wellness lets us find meaning in life events and helps determine our individual purpose. It allows us to be in tune with our spiritual selves, regardless of whether you believe in a particular religious faith or not. Spiritual wellness allows you to seek meaning and purpose in human existence. Additionally, it helps you to be able to appreciate your life experiences for what they are. As you seek meaning and appreciate the things that happen, humility will overcome you and you will develop a deep harmony with your inner self and the outside world. You will find balance.
- The next time you have a moment to yourself, think about who you are. Take time out of your day to practice mindful relaxation.
- Throughout life-changing experiences, take a moment and think about what life events led you there.
- Think grandfully. What do you want your legacy to be?
3) Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual Wellness consists of active participation in scholastic, cultural, and community activities. The goal is to gain and maintain knowledge and skills. Engage in new ideas and new understandings and be open to them! Ask yourself: Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills? Do I look for ways to use creativity? Let your curiosity flow as you gain interest in your community and the world around you.
- Listen to new podcasts that spark a small ounce of curiosity.
- Get involved in your community and get to know the people around you.
- Review past learning experiences in order to stay up to date and fresh on the new wisdom you have gained.
4) Physical Wellness
Physical Wellness is recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep. You don’t have to go on a 10 mile run in order to be physically well. Not counting sleep, the average person sits about thirteen hours a day. Regular physical activity reduces the risk disease, diabetes, depression, and is crucial to energy balance and weight control. Make sure to get those good, healthy foods in! It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while, as long as you’re eating what your body needs nutritionally. Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Seven to eight hours of sleep should be the goal.
- Get an app or a smart watch and make it a goal to take 10,000 steps daily! (The average American walks less than 5,000 a day.)
- Clear your house of too many goodies so you can focus on the foods with nutritional value.
- Set a goal to always get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. “Catching up on sleep” during the weekend is impossible. It won’t give your body the same thing if you had just done it in the first place.
5) Environmental Wellness
Environmental Wellness and how we feel about it can have a huge impact on the way we feel overall. Environmental well-being includes trying to live in harmony with the Earth by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment. A core factor here is having respect for the things around you. As you become more aware about your surroundings, your daily habits will become of a certain respect for those surroundings and the environment around you.
- Conserve energy by turning off lights that are not in use, change to new and improved light bulbs, and try washing your clothes on cold!
- Volunteer with environmental organizations and get involved to help your surroundings stay nice.
- Spend time outside- get to know your surroundings and become more aware of how they are.
6) Financial Wellness
Financial Wellness includes the process of learning how to properly manage financial expenses. Keeping up with finances can be overwhelming, but putting them off will cause them even more stress. If you find yourself struggling, look into the different resources that are available, such as workshops, programs, library books, and even reaching out to financial advisors. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so select the proper resource necessary in your situation.
- Be proactive – don’t put it off; identify any financial problems now.
- If you are currently a student, take advantage of discounts and any scholarships you can.
- Plan ahead! Make a budget, set your limits, and stick with it!
7) Occupational Wellness
Occupational Wellness encourages one to explore different career options and pursue the opportunity you enjoy the most. In life, attitude is often the thing that can hold us back. Have an open attitude about work and it will allow for occupational development. It is important to separate home life and work life so the stressors don’t combine and create extra conflict. Since working takes up the majority of your week, stay positive in all aspects to greatly influence your overall well-being.
- Reflect on yourself and your occupational needs/desires. Which do you find enjoyable? What tasks cause you stress?
- Set realistic goals.
- Find ways to enjoy both paid and volunteer opportunities that interest you.
8) Social Wellness
Social Wellness refers to the relationships we have, and how we act with them as well as others around us. We can be socially well by building healthy relationships as well as making genuine connections with those we come in contact with. Each relationship should have its own amount of respect and affection. Balance each relationship accordingly and include the correct amount of empathy and active listening necessary.
- Reflect on yourself and your social needs. What parts of your social life do you enjoy, and what things might you dislike? How can you turn that into something positive?
- Make an effort to support your friends and be an active listener.
- Keep in touch.
The first step toward wellness is becoming aware. Take each dimension of wellness and split them up into eight weeks, focusing on one each week. Reflect daily, recalling both positive and negative aspects/events that may be leading you toward, or away from your goals. No matter how small, make note of what you did each day to move toward a higher level of wellness.