Wellness is often confused with health, happiness, and well-being; however, these are purely static terms. Instead, it is an active pursuit that leads to optimal health and well-being. There are 8 areas of wellness that all work together to create a holistic state of health. Understanding these areas or dimensions of wellness is essential to finding the best balance between them. Everyone’s unique balance is different–it’s not required to be perfect, only the ideal harmony that best suits your needs. However, when one or more of these dimensions is severely out of balance or neglected, it will negatively impact the rest, leading toward a negative outcome. Now we’ll explore the definition of wellness and its eight dimensions. We’ll also look at the effect of stress on the areas of wellness and how to incorporate each into your daily life. Read on for everything you need to know about the areas of wellness.
What Is Wellness?
Before you can understand the various areas of wellness, you should first have a solid understanding of what wellness is. The Global Wellness Institute identifies wellness as an active pursuit of various activities, lifestyles, and choices, ultimately leading one to a holistic state of health.
You’ll notice there are two important points made in this definition. First, wellness is nowhere close to a passive or static state. Instead, it is entirely an active pursuit. It is associated with our choices, intentions, and actions as we move toward optimal health and well-being.
Second, wellness is connected to holistic health. In other words, it extends well beyond mere physical health. It is the incorporation of many dimensions that must work in harmony.
Additionally, wellness is not a group effort–it is an individual pursuit. We are responsible for the choices we make, our behaviors, and the lifestyles we live. However, wellness is also significantly influenced by the environments in which we live.
Many often confuse the term “wellness” with other terms like “health,” “well-being,” and “happiness.” There are several common elements among all these terms; however, wellness is not distinguished as a static state of being. Instead, it is more closely associated with the active process of being aware and making choices that lead to optimal health and well-being (6).
Read More: What Is The Difference Between Health And Wellness? Understanding The Relationship Between These Concepts
What Are The 8 Areas Of Wellness?
The wellness model is broken into eight different dimensions. They’re all interrelated, so one will impact the others when one is affected by something. Attention must be given to each dimension, as neglecting any one of them will cause negative impacts on the others. Additionally, it will negatively impact your health, well-being, and quality of life.
However, you do not need to keep them in a state of equal balance. Instead, you’ll need to find a level of personal harmony that works best for you. Everyone has their own priorities, aspirations, approaches, and views on the meaning of living life to the fullest (2).
The first area of wellness we’ll consider is emotional wellness. In the broadest sense, it is the ability to cope with life’s challenges and build satisfying relationships with those around you. This involves learning how to positively manage your emotions and empathize with the people around you.
If you have emotional wellness, you’ll also have a sense of self-acceptance, higher self-esteem, optimism, and a keen ability to share your feelings. While life can throw curve balls at you, you can take them in stride, overcoming them and finding positives even in moments of loss and pain.
It’s essential to boost your emotional wellness, which you can do in several ways:
- When you have an emotion, accept it. Don’t try to suppress or ignore it. You’ll need to understand where it’s coming from to begin to process it and move through it.
- Avoid all thoughts of self-harm or those that will put you into a state of trauma. These are severely detrimental to your overall well-being.
- Accept yourself for who you are and forgive yourself for your mistakes. It’s important not to hold onto negative thoughts and feelings.
- Focus on developing an optimistic attitude toward your life. When you eliminate the negative focus that many of us are prone to holding onto, you will have a greatly improved emotional wellness (3, 5).
In the physical dimension, the focus is on caring for your body. The goal is to stay healthy now and in the future. It is also a recognition of the need to remain active. You can improve your physical wellness through various healthy behaviors, including getting proper nutrition, participating in adequate exercise, and abstaining from unhealthy habits, such as smoking.
Exercise is one of the most beneficial ways to boost your physical wellness because it can help increase your longevity, relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reduce weight gain. However, that is not the only way to make yourself physically well. Actions such as brushing your teeth, visiting the doctor regularly, and showering all boost your physical wellness (2, 3, 5).
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In the social area of wellness, you learn how to develop harmonious interactions with the rest of society. This involves creating a well-developed support system where you feel a deep sense of belonging and connection. You’ll maintain relationships, build friendships and intimate relations, enjoy being with and caring about others, and allow others to care about you.
You can improve your social wellness through any of the following methods:
- Making a contribution to society
- Catching up with close friends
- Working with like-minded individuals on a social cause (2, 3, 5).
Your mind is like your body and must receive stimulation to remain healthy. You must constantly inspire and exercise it. Intellectual wellness recognizes creative abilities and finds ways to expand on knowledge and skills. Someone who possesses intellectual wellness never truly stops learning.
To boost this dimension of the eight areas of wellness, you’ll need to perform mentally stimulating activities. This can include reading books with profound messages, trying to learn a foreign language, or adding learning to one or more of your hobbies (2, 3, 5).
To have spiritual wellness, you’ll need to identify the purpose, meaning, and value in your life. You can do this with or without organized religion. To do this, you can participate in activities that support your values and beliefs.
Spiritual wellness is not a one-size-fits-all thing–it’s unique to everyone. You’ll need to develop an appreciation for the beauty in everything. In addition, it’s essential to bring balance and harmony between your inner self and external forces.
To increase spiritual wellness, you’ll need to learn how to accept the uniqueness in yourself and others, never give less than your all in everything you do, and always live by your values, morals, and beliefs (2, 3, 5).
Having environmental wellness can mean several different things. First, you’ll need to occupy stimulating and pleasant environments while providing support for your well-being. Second, you’ll need to understand how your health and well-being are affected by your natural, social, and built environments. Third, it is a connection to the earth and nature and the modification of your habits that could potentially negatively impact both.
To improve your environmental wellness, it’s essential to clean and organize your space. Providing a neat place to live or work will enhance your well-being. In addition, you’ll need to focus on what you can do to reduce your negative impact on the earth, such as reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower and recycling more often (2, 3, 5).
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7. Occupational Or Vocational
Having occupational or vocational wellness means you have work that is personally satisfying to you. It provides enrichment that aligns with your values, goals, and lifestyle. To have this type of wellness, you need to get a feeling of contribution and enrichment from the work you complete.
To maintain your occupational wellness at its peak, explore all your choices before making a career selection, always hold onto your vision for the future, and be open-minded when it comes to change (2, 3, 5).
Having financial wellness doesn’t mean you’re well off or rich. Instead, it refers to being able to live within your means, make informed financial decisions, set realistic goals, and prepare for future needs, whether long-term, short-term, or emergencies.
The best ways to improve financial wellness are avoiding large debts, establishing budget goals, and avoiding spending sprees when you can’t afford it. It’s all about wise decisions (2, 3, 5).
What Impact Does Stress Have On The Areas Of Wellness?
Stress can have a severe impact on the areas of mental wellness. It leads to one or more of your areas of wellness being off-kilter. In turn, this leads to more areas being imbalanced. To bring things back into line, you’ll need to focus more on one of the different areas of wellness, such as social wellness, and the others will begin to follow. While it’s not essential to have a perfect balance between all wellness dimensions, you do need to maintain the proper harmony for your personal needs (4).
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How Can The Eight Areas Of Wellness Be Incorporated Into One’s Daily Life?
The areas of health and wellness are readily incorporated into your daily life. By taking the best practices of improving each area and acting on them, you can add them to your routine. These are examples in which you can incorporate each of the eight areas of wellness into your daily life:
- Emotional wellness: Healthily express your emotions as they come up instead of suppressing them or ignoring them.
- Physical wellness: Add a daily exercise regimen to your morning routine.
- Social wellness: Have a night out with friends you haven’t seen in a while.
- Intellectual wellness: Learn a new hobby that is more challenging than you’re used to.
- Spiritual wellness: Find an activity that adheres to your values.
- Environmental wellness: Declutter your home or workspace.
- Occupational wellness: Develop a plan for your future and be prepared to make a change if your current job is not fulfilling you.
- Financial wellness: Create a budget you can easily stick to.
The 8 areas of wellness are essential to your overall health. Having the right balance between each one will ensure that you reach an optimal state of well-being. Only you can know the perfect balance for you, as wellness is an individual pursuit.
When any of the areas is neglected or off balance, it can severely impact the other dimensions. You’ll need to focus on these areas to restore the balance, ensuring that your wellness in all areas is restored to the total capacity.
Now that you know more about the different areas of wellness, how will you incorporate them into your daily life?
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 8 Dimensions of Well-Being (n.d., csupueblo.edu)
- Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Do the Eight Dimensions of Wellness Affect Your Life? (n.d., goiam.org)
- Wellness Wheel (n.d., healthcenter.indiana.edu)
- What Are the 8 Areas of Wellness? (2021, medicinenet.com)
- What is Wellness? (n.d., globalwellnessinstitute.org)