Exploring The Six Dimensions Of Wellness
Wellness is a buzzword in 2022. But what does wellness really mean? By definition, it’s the state of being in good health - and for most people, that centers around physical health. However, wellness extends to many other areas of our lives and requires a holistic approach to reach our full potential and feel maximum fulfillment. In other words, if you only focus on one aspect of wellness but neglect the others, you may still have more room to grow.
So how do you make sure you’re covering all the bases? The six dimensions of wellness are all the puzzle pieces that fit together to create the entire beautiful picture of full potential: intellectual, physical, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and spiritual.
Learn more about what each of these aspects of wellness entail and how you can make strides in each area.
We’ll start with physical because it’s the most obvious and intuitive. Most people maintain some degree of fitness goals throughout their lives with the intention of living long lives, minimizing their risk for disease, feeling good about their physical appearances, and being able to participate in activities they enjoy.
However, physical wellness looks entirely different to each individual. We’ve all come across societal standards of what peak physicality looks like, but these standards are often unachievable for many due to their own genetic makeup and unique circumstances. Instead of demanding that everyone must aim for optimal physical wellness by running a marathon or having washboard abs, it’s important to set your own standards for what wellness looks like for you.
For example, if you currently lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle, aiming for physical wellness could be setting a goal to go for a walk every day. You can certainly stretch towards bigger goals, but depending on your schedule and current physical capabilities, you may be able to find the same benefits from simple goals. Nutrition is certainly an important part of this journey as well, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to strive towards a certain weight. Your nutrition can be simply centered around getting enough nutrients in your daily diet and eating the foods that give you energy and make you feel good about yourself.
Emotional wellness relies on one’s ability to feel positively about themselves and their life. This involves some aspects of maintaining good mental health, but also hinges heavily upon the ability to deal with the ups and downs of life without getting derailed from your personal goals or losing touch with your sense of self. Managing stress and maintaining self-confidence are both essential parts of emotional wellness.
Self-care practices are helpful tools for maintaining emotional wellness, and many activities like exercise and good sleep are also supportive of the other dimensions of wellness. These practices can help you stay balanced even during stressful or difficult circumstances. Beyond self-care, though, lies self-acceptance and confidence. These are crucial aspects of emotional wellness because they allow you to be happy with yourself the way that you are. Reflection on self-acceptance can help you prioritize your emotional needs and not feel the need to alter yourself or say “yes” to obligations just to satisfy the wishes of someone else.
Social wellness centers around maintaining fulfilling relationships in your life. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation has contributed to significant mental health challenges for many people. Feeling closed off from one’s support network can lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and ultimately snowball into ongoing mental and physical ailments.
Humans are meant to thrive in communities. We feel our best when we can connect with others, because we can be accepted and nurtured as well as provide support to loved ones. Even if your personal community is small and your loved ones live far from you, it’s important to find ways to stay connected. Phone calls, virtual coffee dates, and socially distant gatherings are all great ways to get enough facetime with your friends and family to maintain social wellness.
When you hear the word spirituality, you may automatically think of religion. However, this dimension of wellness doesn’t require that you subscribe to a particular religious system. Spiritual wellness comes down to connecting with your own personal values and sense of purpose. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it’s vital to explore what’s important to you and who you want to be as a person in order to find greater fulfillment. Once you’ve identified your purpose and values, you can participate in activities or work on behavioral changes that get you closer to who you want to be.
For many people, this involves how they relate to and interact with other members of their community. Spiritual wellness often comes to fruition through finding ways to support those in need. It can also include connecting with others who share your values and are willing to discuss ideas or even serve as mentors and role models.
Most people spend about one-third of their time each week working. In fact, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime. When you take this amount of time into consideration, it becomes a no-brainer that your occupation plays a major role in your long-term happiness and health.
However, occupational wellness doesn’t just have to center around work and your job isn’t the only avenue to achieve happiness in this realm. Perhaps you’re in a job that you tolerate because it provides the financial support you need, or perhaps you’re not actively employed.
In these circumstances, you still can find ways to support your occupational wellness by finding activities that do give you a sense of purpose. That can include volunteering or being a caretaker, or it can involve other activities in which you contribute your unique talents to organizations or efforts that are meaningful to you. Ultimately, finding ways to lend your skills to work that you believe in is key to leading an enriched life.
Finally, personal development is an important part of maintaining happiness. Humans are naturally curious creatures who are always looking for opportunities to explore and learn new things. Much of life’s satisfaction comes from opportunities to grow our skills and abilities or deepen our understanding of topics that excite us. Intellectual wellness revolves around looking for these opportunities and embracing activities that satisfy our desire to learn and grow.
You can support your intellectual wellness by trying new hobbies or reading about topics that interest you. Simply learning for the sake of learning can do wonders for maintaining excitement and curiosity about life. This sense of fulfillment keeps us grounded and motivated even during times of stress, and can help us push ourselves to new heights of happiness and health. The best news is that you can reap these benefits without a huge commitment. Even if you only spend a few minutes each day on personal development and educational activities, you’re still likely to enjoy more happiness and motivation.