The Seven Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness is a proactive pursuit of continued growth and balance in the seven dimensions of wellness. While many people think about "wellness" in terms of physical health only, it should be viewed as a full integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is a complex interaction that leads to quality of life. In fact, research studies related to wellness indicate that individuals who make healthy lifestyle choices are healthier, happier, more productive, miss work less, and have lower healthcare costs.
Each of the seven dimensions 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.
1. Physical Dimension
Physical wellness can be achieved through regular 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 oneself from injuries and harm. Developing healthy habits can add years to your life and enhance the enjoyment and quality of those years.
Tips for optimal physical wellness:
- Exercise daily
- 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 potions
- Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
- Use alcohol in moderation, if at all
Physical Wellness at UNT
2. Emotional Dimension
Emotional wellness is intricately woven into the other six dimensions. Being emotionally well is typically described as having the ability to understand ourselves and being able to adequately cope with life's challenges. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and the ability to share feelings.
Tips for optimal emotional wellness:
- Expression of emotions
- Cultivate an optimistic attitude
- Seek and provide support
- Practice stress management techniques
- Accept and forgive yourself
Emotional Wellness at UNT
3. Intellectual Dimension
The intellectual dimension encourages the utilization of critical thinking skills and the ability to make sound decisions. It is often characterized as an openness to new ideas, mastery of new skills, and a willingness to seek out opportunities for personal growth and social development. 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.
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 a new hobby
Intellectual Wellness at UNT
4. Social Dimension
Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. This dimension often refers to our ability to interact successfully within our communities while still navigating the varied expectations and demands of our personal roles. Learning good communication skills, developing intimacy with others, and creating a support network of friends and family members, is a means to developing social wellness.
Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include:
- Cultivate healthy relationships
- Get involved and contribute to your community
- Share your talents and skills
- Communicate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas
Social Wellness at UNT
5. Spiritual Dimension
Spiritual wellness is not focused on what religion, if any, that you practice. Rather, it 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. A spiritually well person may derive meaning or purpose through their relationships with others, community service, art, music, education, religion or meditation.
Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:
- Discovering meaning and purpose in life
- Determining and exploring your morals, values and ethics
- Be fully present in everything you do
- Listen with your heart and live by your principles
- Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are
- See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you
Spiritual Wellness at UNT
6. Environmental Wellness Dimension
Environmental wellness consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. Always remember the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Tips and suggestions for optimal environmental wellness:
- Stop your junk mail
- Conserve water and other resources
- Encourage the utilization of environmentally sustainable activities and products
- Walk, ride your bike, or car-pool
- Turn lights off and unplug appliances when not in use
Environmental Wellness at UNT
7. Occupational Dimension
Occupational/Vocational wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. The development of occupational satisfaction and wellness is related to your attitude about your work. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment. Occupational wellness means successfully integrating a commitment to your occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding.
Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellness include:
- Explore a variety of career options
- Create a vision for your future
- Choose a career that suits your personality, interests, and talents
- Be open to change and learn new skills
Occupational Wellness at UNT
Why should you care about wellness?
Wellness research shows that Americans who take care of themselves and manage their lifestyle are healthier, more productive, have fewer absences from work, and make fewer demands for medical services. An article published in the Journal of American Medical Association indicated that, in one study, the “wellness” approach resulted in a 17 percent decline in total medical visits and a 35 percent decline in medical visits for minor illnesses.