The word “wellness” is such a broad term and our culture, as well as our life experiences, play a huge role in how we perceive it. Mostly, when we hear the word “wellness”, we start to think in terms of physical health focusing on exercise, nutrition, weight management, etc. But wellness is not just restricted to physical health, it involves all aspects of our life beyond our physical health. It is a comprehensive integration of physical, mental, and spiritual prosperity where the body is fueled, the brain is engaged, and the soul is nurtured. Although wellness always includes the pursuit of health, it is more about living a fulfilling life.
Wellness, being holistic, and multidimensional comprises various dimensions. In order to improve overall health of individuals, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight dimensions of wellness. These eight dimensions are emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social.
Emotional wellness includes the capacity to cope effectively with life events and build satisfying relationships with others around us. Emotionally healthy people feel confident, can control their emotions and behaviors, and face challenges in life gracefully. Emotional health can be maintained or improved through regular leisure and recreational activities.
Intellectual wellbeing includes understanding our unique abilities to be innovative and we try to find out approaches to apply our information and skills. People who are aware of their intellectual wellbeing frequently discover that they have a higher concentration, advanced memory, and better critical thinking skills. Reading, doing tough puzzles which include crosswords or Sudoku, debating problems with others who’ve opposing viewpoints, gaining knowledge of a new language or musical instrument, or coaching and tutoring others are all approaches to preserve or enhance our intellectual wellbeing.
Physical wellness includes being physically healthy. It is affected by physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep. We can maintain our physical health by indulging in activities like yoga, jumping rope, engaging in sports, bike riding, running, walking, jogging, skiing, dancing, tennis, and gardening.
Environmental wellness is associated with the environment we occupy. This dimension of wellness connects our typical well-being to the health of our environment. Our environment, both social and natural, can significantly affect how we feel. It may be difficult to feel appropriate if we’re surrounded by litter and disorganization, or if we feel risky in our environment. Ways to manage environmental wellness encompass creating community watches, recycling, planting a private or community garden, shopping merchandise with minimum packaging, avoiding littering, and preserving energy and water through turning off lighting and water when they are not in use.
Financial wellness is the feeling of being satisfied with our financial situation. Finance is a common cause of stress. Therefore, if we can reduce our attention to this aspect of our lives as much as possible, then it can improve our overall health. Financial wellness management options include family budgeting, opening a savings account, keeping some of our income for emergencies, reducing or limiting unnecessary expenditures, cook by ourselves instead of eating out.
Occupational wellness is a sense of satisfaction with our choice of work. It involves a balance in work and leisure, build relationships with colleagues and deal with workplace pressures. The goal of occupational wellness is to find meaningful and economically rewarding work. Finding a job that matches our values, interests, and skills can help maintain occupational health.
Social wellness is a sense of interconnection and belonging. The social dimension of health involves establishing and maintaining a healthy support network. Establishing a healthy social atmosphere can include inviting colleagues or acquaintances to dinner, joining a club or organization, establishing healthy boundaries, and using good communication skills.
All these dimensions of wellness require our attention so that we can truly flourish. However, there is no requirement to have balance among all dimensions, but the goal is to find personal harmony with the dimensions that are most relevant to us. We cannot get there passively, but with positive awareness, acceptance, and commitment, we will surely reach there.