The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

The phrase “health and wellness” can be a little vague. With so much information, there have been many creative ways developed to help understand it in a simplified manner.

Even though many people categorize wellness into physical and mental categories, the “Seven Dimensions of Wellness” breaks it down into seven groups (mind-blowing, we know).

These seven dimensions are as follows: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical wellbeing.

Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Environmental, Occupational, Intellectual

With these different dimensions in mind, you can go through the many layers of yourself and decide whether or not they feel as though certain areas lack attention.

When trying to care for yourself, ask “Does this dimension feel fulfilled?”

Also, understanding what it means to fulfill each one is very subjective; for example, spiritual wellness means many things to many different people and should be treated as such. You make it what you want, that’s the beauty of this!

Let’s talk about it.

Social Wellness

Surround yourself with those who only lift you higher - Oprah Winfrey

Social Wellness is one of the dimensions because who you surround yourself with is crucial to being happy and fulfilled in life. By surrounding yourself with people who are positive, uplifting, and ambitious, you too will begin to imitate those qualities, eventually taking them on as your own.

There’s a saying: “if you surround yourself with five happy people, you’ll be the sixth. If you surround yourself with five unhappy people, you’ll be the sixth.”

Teamwork, collaboration, and communication are other aspects of social wellness that matter. Almost everybody has to work with others in some capacity, whether it’s their job, family, or relationships.

Although you don’t always get to choose who you surround yourself with, understanding the importance of communication in this dimension will help to make this part of your life go smoother.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself About Social Wellness

  • Do I surround myself with uplifting and positive energy? If not, what can I do to change that?
  • Do I put out positive and uplifting energy?
  • What are the ways for me to improve or evolve my relationships with others to benefit everyone involved?

Emotional Wellness

True emotional healing doesn't happen without feeling, the only way out is through - Jessica Moore

For many, this is the foundation of all wellbeing. Having your emotions in check and understanding yourself on an emotional level can be crucial to making the other dimensions function and improve over time.

Emotional wellness is being able to understand and express your own emotions productively and thoughtfully to change whatever may be wrong or improve whatever may be great.

Emotional wellness is not easy to define, but recognizing how you feel and expressing that feeling productively is the easiest way to start.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself About Emotional Wellness

  • Do I make time to focus and think about my current emotional state
  • How can I better understand myself and my own emotions?
  • What do others do? Is that worth trying?

Spiritual Wellness

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience - Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

Spiritual Wellness may be the most subjective of the dimensions. Spirituality has such an interpretive definition so it’s really in the eye of the beholder.

Simply put, your spirituality means your guiding principles, values, or goals. For some, that’s their religion. For others, that could just be a great book they read.

Defined by those ideas, spiritual wellness would mean to live your life in line with your values and being the person that you set out to be every day.

Nobody can be flawless in this way (or any way really) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be the best version of yourself.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself About Spiritual Wellness

  • What values and principles guide me and are most important in my mind?
  • Do I live every day by those principles? If not, what stops me?

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    Environmental Wellness

    The earth is what we all have in common - Wendell Berry

    No, environmental wellness is not just about recycling.

    On a personal level, it could just be whether or not you are happy where you are. Being satisfied with your space is crucial to mental health and emotional wellbeing.

    Another way to look at it would be whether or not you live your life treating the environment and the natural world with respect.

    It’s not plausible for many people to live their life completely waste-free and without any impact on the environment (it’s actually impossible), but taking little steps every day to reduce your impact can make a difference. Something is always better than nothing.

    Questions to Ask Yourself About Environmental Wellness

    • What do I do to lessen my impact on the world around me?
    • Is there more that I can do? If so, how
    • Am I happy where I am? Why?

    Occupational Wellness

    Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending - Carl Bard

    Occupational wellness relates to the job or occupation that you are involved in. Whether or not you like your profession, what it entails, and where it leads are all part of this dimension.

    This dimension might not be so easy to change for obvious reasons that we don’t necessarily need to dive into. But, understanding how you feel about your occupation and why you feel that way may allow you to make small changes for a more positive experience overall.

    Questions to Ask Yourself About Occupational Wellness

    • Do I like my current occupation? Why?
    • Am I being challenged to grow?
    • What has this position taught me?

    Intellectual Wellness

    Education is the kindling to the flame. not the filling of a vessel - Socrates

    Learning and expanding the mind is an ongoing process. Intellectual wellness is just the idea that maintaining your mind will help you maintain overall wellness.

    Whether learning a new hobby or just reading a book, keeping your mind active will always be a significant step towards improving wellness overall. Luckily, you’re in college, so you’ve already got a headstart on this one.

    Walter Breuning said: “Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, you’ll be here a long time” and he lived to be 114. So… if that’s your goal, intellectual wellness is probably important.

    Questions To Ask Yourself About Intellectual Wellness

    • What interests you? Why?
    • What makes you feel like you are challenging yourself, how can you conquer it?

    Physical Wellness

    If you have a body, you are an athlete - Bill Bowerman

    Physical Wellness is like emotional wellness in the sense that is almost always associated with “health and wellness”. Keeping your physical being strong is an integral part of life and goes hand in hand with the rest of the dimensions.

    Whether you’re an avid cyclist, a casual gym-goer, or a take-a-daily-walk type, physical activity can be meditative and therapeutic for anybody.

    Like all the other dimensions, this one is individualized and unique to each person, you do what is good for your body. If you feel like you get a good workout from dancing on the weekends, walking from class to class, or stretching during study breaks – then that’s all that matters.

    Questions To Ask Yourself About Physical Wellness

    • What keeps me active and moving?
    • How can I stay motivated to maintain my physical wellness?

    Organizing These Layers

    Although these “wellness” philosophies are well thought out and nice in theory, that doesn’t mean you’ll wake up tomorrow able to juggle all 7 dimensions. It’s not that simple.

    Organizing your philosophies and figuring out how YOU can apply them is what makes these things helpful. Unfortunately, we don’t have the complete answer because it is about what you can manage.

    However, if we could suggest one thing, it would be to stay organized and stay open-minded with the seven dimensions. You’ll never have them all right and accepting that can do wonders.

    Your life is only yours and if journaling (my personal approach) is what helps you manage these, then that’s amazing. But, you are on your own path and it’s up to you to walk it. We’re just here to add some ideas and help you find a path. Goodluck!

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