The National Wellness Institute has promotes the Six Dimensions of Wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual and spiritual. The dimensions represent a way to find a holistic sense of wellness and fulfillment in each and every day.
Although the use and definition of the term “wellness” varies greatly, the National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”
We’ll break down the dimensions of wellness for you, and provide tangible examples and steps you can take to achieve wellness in different areas of life.
“Nurturing yourself is not selfish—it’s essential to your survival and your well–being.” –Renee Peterson Trudeau, award-winning life coach, speaker and author
This dimension looks at your ability to recognize and accept your feelings, and specifically how positive or enthusiastic you feel about yourself and your life. Emotional wellness often requires self reflection and a look at how you feel in your current life day in and day out. In addition, you must be able to manage your feelings and related behavior to assess a realistic scope of your limitations, autonomy development and ability to cope effectively with stress.
Successful emotional wellness is often defined as maintaining satisfying relationships with others, while being aware of and accepting a wide range of emotions for both yourself and others. Emotionally well individuals can often arrive at personal choices and decisions based on their feelings, behavior and knowledge, and work independently while also understanding and respecting the importance of support from others.
To find emotional success, take a look at what your day-to-day looks like now, and change your environment to take on a new headspace. Consider journaling for a week your feelings and behaviors, and then reflect on how you can think before you speak or act, find new ways to support those around you, or seek help.
If you’re constantly deciding to be aware of your feelings and not denying them, you’re on your way to emotional wellness. In addition, try to have an optimistic, rather than pessimistic, attitude when approaching situations or challenges. It can be tough! Rely on your girl gang for support.
We all long for a career that promotes happiness in our lives. The occupational dimension recognizes just that, looking at the personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work.
Occupational development is related to your attitude about your work, and in travelling toward occupational wellness, you contribute unique gifts, skills and talents to produce work that is meaningful and rewarding to you.
To find occupational wellness, don’t settle! Continue to set goals for yourself, and to find organizations, workplaces and positions that align with your values, beliefs and mission. Also, make sure to continue to develop your skills so that when the perfect opportunity comes along, you are prepared. It’s never too late to learn new things.
If you’re doing work that you’re excited and motivated to continue, you’re excelling in your occupational wellness.
If you’re a workout junkie, you may have physical wellness all figured out! It’s important to stay active regularly, so that your body continues to work as it was designed. Physical wellness is also about your diet, and ensuring that you are choosing food and drink items that are nutritious and promoting the growth and maintenance of your body.
To find physical wellness, consider finding an exercise buddy so that you can both hold each other accountable to not only the activity side of physical wellness, but also to your diet. Set a wellness goal for yourself and try to eat a healthy diet that will help you achieve it. A rule of thumb is to not to let more calories come in than you can burn in a day. And remember to stay hydrated.
If you’re primarily consuming food and drink that enhances your wellbeing and staying physically active, you’re excelling at physical wellness.
Especially now, your community needs you. Social wellness recognizes a person’s ability to contribute to the surrounding environment and community. You depend on your community and they depend on you!
To find social wellness, think about what you can do (big and small) for your community. Maybe you can help your elderly or immune-compromised neighbor shop for groceries, or volunteer at a local food drive. Or, maybe it’s sticking up for those in your community if you hear something inappropriate or buying a take out meal from a local restaurant instead of Chick-fil-a.
By taking an active role in improving the world, you’re encouraging others to do the same and leading by example. Once you’ve started to pay close attention to this, you’ll notice the actions and behaviors that don’t better your community or girl gang and stop making those choices.
If you’re contributing to your community’s well being and snuffing out conflict with others, you’re excelling at social wellness.
We’re not talking Einstein here, we’re talking how you can find creativity and stimulation through mental and challenging activities. It’s great to know every trivia question, but can you think through every situation?
To achieve intellectual wellness, use intellectual and cultural activities to better your understanding of the world around you, and how the things you say can affect your community. Expand your skills in problem solving, creativity and the yearning to learn more. Try to tailor your personal interests to reading and other activities that further your intellectual wellness.
In addition, be sure to stay up to date on what is happening in the world so that you can make informed, intellectual responses and thoughts connected to those ideas, and use your knowledge to better your community.
If you’re stretching and challenging your mind and also determining how you can respond to potential issues and discussions that arise. Pursue creative opportunities to avoid becoming unproductive and self-satisfied. The world has so much to offer!
The last dimension looks at how to find purpose and meaning in human existence. For some, this is found through religion, but that’s not the only source of spirituality. Understanding why you’re here and what your mission is is crucial to understanding how you can positively impact the world around you.
In finding spiritual wellness, you must look at the harmony between your personal feelings and rough patches in life. Nothing will ever be all sunshine and rainbows, but you are discovering what your values rely on and how to back those up as you build respect for yourself. Finding spiritual wellness can be tiring, and seem pointless at times, but joy comes when you have a discovery that helps you find who you were meant to be.
A way to know that you are becoming more spiritually well is understanding a worldview, and noticing that your actions are more consistent with that belief system. Make it a goal to stick to this worldview, maybe by keeping a journal for reflection or finding an accountability partner to check in with you and your progress.
If you’re keeping an open mind and respecting the beliefs of others while also holding true to your own, you’re excelling at spiritual wellness. Live each day in a consistent way, upholding your values and beliefs in all that you do in order to avoid feeling helpless and untrue to yourself.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
It can be difficult to focus on six different areas of life and make each cohesively sound. There’s no such thing as a perfect person, so strive for your best rather than for perfection. By applying the dimensions of wellness, you can have awareness of the interconnectedness of each dimension and how they all contribute to healthy living.
The National Wellness Institute offers three questions to ask yourself to determine what degree to incorporate each wellness dimension:
Think about these questions and start your wellness path to balance today.