The focus of health and wellness in today’s society has become so centered around diet, weight-loss, and fitness, its crazy! As a future health communication/promotion specialist, this is frustrating to me. It totally misleads people into thinking, “Hey as long as I’m physically fit and eat well, I’m as healthy as can be!” But, that’s so far from the truth! Wellness is a broad concept. Being healthy all around means being healthy in all of the different aspects of your life, and nutrition and physical activity are just a small part of that. Achieving well-rounded wellness will make you much more happy, healthy, and feel better! SO what are these other dimensions of health that lead to better overall health anyways? Well, let me tell you.
The Dimensions of Wellness are 8 dimensions that make up your overall health and wellness. They are all aspects of your life that, if not in check or lacking, could affect your life (and of course your health!) in a very big way. The Dimensions of Wellness include Physical, Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Occupational, Social, Intellectual, and Spiritual. If you think about it, these are all very important aspects in our lives. If you’re thinking, “No way is that dimension important to my life” then you’re wrong because each dimension is very important to overall health. Let me explain them in a little bit more detail for you and maybe that’ll health you understand them a bit better and change your mind.
Your physical wellness is pretty much exactly what you think it is. A healthy body. Good physical health habits. Exercise, fitness, and access to appropriate health care. These make up the physical dimension of wellness. A few ways we can get there might be choosing things that make our body feel good and trimming back the things that bring us down. Our body is very smart and knows what it needs when it needs it, and learning to listen to it more deeply is very important and empowering.
The Emotional Wellness Dimension involves the ability to express feelings, adjust to emotional challenges, cope with life’s stressors, and enjoy life. Being in touch with your emotions and feelings is very important towards having a healthy, balanced life. It includes knowing our strengths as well as what we want to get better at, and living and working on our own but letting others help us from time to time.
The Environmental Wellness Dimension involves what your own personal environment looks like and creating a healthy space for you. This can include:
- Having access to clean air, food, and water
- Keeping the areas where we live, learn, and work clean and livable
- Creating and maintaining pleasant environments that support our well-being
- Promoting learning and relaxation in natural places and spaces
I know this is a tough one. Sometimes is hard to deal with finances and keep up with it, I can definitely contest to this as a poor college kid! There are many definitions of what constitutes being financially well, but overall, the Financial Wellness Dimension involves things such as income, debt, and savings, as well as a person’s understanding of financial processes and resources. A person’s satisfaction with their current financial situation and future prospects also comes into play. Finances can affect the other dimensions if not in check or at least controlled, but it is not a deciding factor for your overall health.
Jobs can be exhausting and at times the source of our stress. That’s why being happy and satisfied with your occupation is so important to your wellbeing. But, the Occupational Wellness Dimension involves other topics as well like participating in activities that provide meaning and purpose and reflect personal values, interests, and beliefs, including employment. Doing something you enjoy and love is SO important, let it reflect in your work so you can combine the two!
Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people is very important to your wellness. Interacting with people can benefit you in so many ways. Relationships are like the backbone of many of the dimensions. The Social Wellness Dimension involves having healthy relationships with friends, family, and the community, and having an interest in and concern for the needs of others and humankind.
There is so much to learn throughout our lives! Even if you think you know it all, you don’t. Your brain longs to learn, so let it! The Intellectual Wellness Dimension involves what keeps our brains active and our knowledge expanding. Through a number of activities—from learning about current events to organizing game nights in your home or community center—you can broaden your perspective and understand diverse points of view. This even includes things like just broadening your viewpoints or expanding your perspectives.
Spiritual wellness isn’t just what you think it is. There are many different aspects that go into your spiritual wellness. The Spiritual Wellness Dimension is a broad concept that represents one’s personal beliefs and values and involves having meaning, purpose, and a sense of balance and peace. It includes:
- Recognizing our search for meaning and purpose in human existence
- Developing an appreciation for life and the natural forces that exist in the universe.
- Taking time out of your day to meditate and take a breather
- Values and beliefs that are important to you
- Religion and what it means to you
Taking all of these different aspects that go into your health into consideration, think about how you incorporate these dimensions into your life. Are you lacking in certain areas? Are you strong in certain areas? Keep this information in mind and take time to think about how you can grow in each area to achieve well-rounded wellness.
Source: SAMHSA Dimensions of Wellness