We often hear the word “wellness” and think of nutrition, exercise, weight management or blood pressure, but how many wellness dimensions are there?
These dimensions are interconnected and are crucial to our overall health. They are also important to our quality of life.
Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors towards nutrition, sleep, exercise, and appropriate health care. It also involves developing body awareness and personal stewardship for your health.
It is no secret that a well balanced life adds years to your tally and increases your quality of life. However, many people are unsure of how to reach their full potential and what is the best way to go about doing so.
A strong social network is an essential part of achieving and maintaining wellbeing. Studies show that people who have healthy relationships tend to live longer and respond better to stress, with less risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Developing and maintaining healthy social habits can be a challenge, especially when everyone around you is busy. However, it’s important to set aside time for meaningful connection and make a conscious effort to build your support system.
Emotional wellness is the ability to understand your emotions, manage your feelings and behaviors, cope effectively with stress and adapt to change.
This dimension includes a positive attitude, high self-esteem and the ability to recognize and share a wide range of feelings with others in a constructive way.
Developing emotional wellness also leads to resilience and the ability to form symbiotic relationships with others. It can help students perform their social roles effectively and comfortably, and create supportive interpersonal connections with peers and romantic partners.
Intellectual wellness involves learning about new ideas, expanding knowledge and sharing that knowledge with others. This includes academic pursuits, as well as cultural, artistic and skill-based learning activities.
Engaging in mental pursuits can improve your focus, memory and critical thinking skills. Reading, puzzles, debating with friends who have different viewpoints or trying a new language are all ways to maintain and increase your intellectual wellness.
Occupational wellness is the ability to find a work-life balance that works for you and allows you to get personal fulfillment from your job. This dimension of wellness also includes finding enrichment and purpose in your career path or volunteer activities.
Occupational wellness is closely related to other wellness dimensions, such as spirituality and environmental wellness. These dimensions are interconnected, and each impacts the other in a positive or negative way.
Spiritual wellness is about finding meaning and purpose in life, and living with a set of values and morals. Some may gain this through religion, but it can also be achieved through meditation, yoga or mindfulness exercises.
People with strong spiritual wellness can be grounded during periods of change. It helps them cope with difficult emotions and build meaningful habits.
Wellness is not just the absence of illness and stress, it’s a dynamic, conscious development that fuels the body, engages the mind, and nurtures the spirit.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight dimensions of wellness to focus on to optimize health: Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Environmental, Financial, Occupational, and Social.
Environmental wellness involves living in closer harmony with your surroundings and the world around you. This includes learning about environmental pollution and taking actions to minimize the effects of your daily habits on the environment.
Financial wellness is the ability to control your finances so that they work for you. It includes learning to budget, managing credit cards, savings accounts, investments and retirement funds.
Being financially healthy can reduce the stress of money worries, helping you to maintain a balanced life and improve your overall mental health. Having a savings account and adding to it every month, even if it’s just a small amount, is a good way to start.