With so much information out there about the products and services related to healthy living, it can get pretty confusing. So how do you know how to determine what will be good for you? Well, it’s all about knowing where to look. To help you along your journey, we have compiled for you a list of the Seven Dimensions of Wellness that you should make your focus.
Wellness has many different meanings, but most agree it is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. The Seven Dimensions of Wellness model was created by doctors in the 1970s to understand and discuss the complex interactions that contribute to overall health.
The first dimension of wellness is physical activity. It involves maintaining an active body and mind throughout life, including proper nutrition and avoiding the use of tobacco or alcohol. You can maintain a physically active lifestyle by doing anything that keeps you moving! From biking or swimming to dancing or walking around campus, anything that gets your heart pumping counts towards physical activity.
Emotional wellness is having an awareness of your feelings and behaviors, and the ability to accept them. It also means you’re able to understand how these emotions affect your decisions, actions, and interactions with others.
Emotional wellness means being able to understand and manage your emotions. You have a positive self-image, and you’re able to deal with life’s challenges without becoming overwhelmed or turning to destructive behaviors.
Emotional wellness can help you:
Manage stress in healthy ways
Communicate openly with others
Learn from past mistakes
The intellectual dimension is about how you use your mind. It involves how well you can think, reason, analyze and make decisions. It also relates to how you learn new things and apply what you know to different situations. You may want to be more creative or expand your knowledge or interests. Or you may wish to become a better problem solver, a better negotiator or a better decision maker. All these are part of the intellectual dimension of wellness.
The intellectual dimension is closely related to other dimensions of wellness:
Intellectual wellness includes the ability to learn, have an open mind and be open to new ideas. A person who is intellectually well will do puzzles, read books and magazines and exercise their brains through activities that stimulate them.
The social dimension of wellness refers to the ability to interact effectively with people in our lives. It includes communication skills, interpersonal effectiveness and relationship quality.
When we have a high level of social wellness, we feel comfortable and satisfied both in our personal relationships and in society as a whole. We have the skills necessary to develop relationships with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. We are able to make connections between our inner selves and the outer world.
A healthy social life not only makes you feel good about yourself but also can impact your health for the better. Studies show that having strong social connections improves sleep quality, bolsters your immune system and speeds recovery from disease.
Spirituality is a personal belief that supports our ability to find meaning in our lives, a connection to something greater than ourselves, and the ability to transcend the challenges we all face. Whether people choose a formal religion, practice an informal spiritual path, or are simply seeking to gain a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, they can benefit from tapping into their spiritual side.
Many people think they need to be religious to be spiritual. This is not the case. A person can be religious without being spiritual and vice versa. For example, many people think of spirituality as an individual experience that has nothing to do with organized religion. Some use meditation, yoga, or a walk in nature as ways to connect with their spirituality. Others find it through prayer or time spent with others who are deeply important to them.
There are also those who consider themselves spiritual but don't have any religious beliefs or practices. These individuals may look at spirituality as a way of connecting with themselves and the world around them--nature and animals for example--rather than connecting with a higher power or God.
Environmental wellness inspires us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. This realm encourages us to live in harmony with the Earth by taking action to protect it. Environmental well-being promotes interaction with nature and your personal environment. Everyone can have a strong environmental consciousness simply by raising their awareness.
Our environmental awareness encompasses several practices:
Carpooling, biking or walking instead of driving
Recycling paper, plastic and glass
Buying locally grown produce and environmentally friendly products and services
Using recyclable bags when shopping
Planting trees, flowers or a garden
The Occupational Dimension of Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact and to be recognized for our contributions helps us to grow in this dimension.
This dimension encompasses how we view work, what we consider a career, and how one views the time spent working. It asks: Am I challenged by my work? Do I feel that my work is meaningful? Does my work provide me with a sense of purpose? Does my job provide variety and stimulation?
The occupational dimension focuses on the need for us to derive satisfaction from our careers. When we find ourselves searching for meaning and purpose in our work, it can often be difficult to find satisfaction. Too often, we allow others to define what success looks like for us and then wonder why we are unhappy when we reach the top of that mountain. By defining what success looks like for us, not only will we likely feel greater levels of satisfaction if/when we achieve it but also if/when we don’t.
At the end of the day, you need to remember that wellness is a personal choice and goal. What works for you may not work for your friend, partner, or brother. You need to determine what the most effective steps will be in reaching your goals and creating a sustainable plan that works best for you. Once you do that, it’s all about incorporating those new behaviors into your life to ensure lasting wellness.