What is Wellness?
Wellness goes beyond the absence of illness or disease. It goes beyond "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Maximizing one's health and wellness potential is an active, lifelong, and dynamic process. Wellness is all about maintaining a happy and balanced quality of life.
Health Promotion's Seven Dimensions of Wellness emphasizes how a holistic approach to health is crucial for reaching one's health potential. It's important to understand that each dimension is interconnected, and change (positive or negative) in one area is likely to impact other areas as well.
Feel free to read about each dimension below. Health Promotion challenges you to think about which dimensions are currently your strongest and your weakest, and begin to make small changes in order to reach optimal wellness!
Environmental wellness encourages us to recognize the impact of the environments around us, be it our homes, communities, or planet. A crucial element of this dimension is the capability to live, work, and play in settings that are clean, safe, and beneficial to one's health. As citizens of the Earth, we are obligated to be respectful and responsible when it comes to caring for this planet by sustaining the Earth's resources and minimizing harm to our overall environment.
Intellectual wellness is the passion and motivation towards creativity, problem-solving, curiosity, and ongoing learning. Fulfilling your intellectual wellness includes seeking opportunities to expand your knowledge and develop your skills, as well as remaining open to new and innovative ideas in the classroom and beyond. Just like our bodies, our minds also need to be inspired, stimulated, and exercised regularly.
Occupational wellness focuses on doing what we love and loving what we do. This dimension is all about developing our gifts, skills, and talents and suiting them to a career path that we find purpose, enrichment, and happiness in. By engaging in satisfying professional work and striving for a healthy work/life balance, we are able to enjoy the responsibilities and challenges that come our way. Find a career that is consistent with your personal values, interests, and beliefs so that you can make a positive impact and pursue opportunities to reach your goals.
Physical wellness encompasses a balance of several components. Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, fulfilling sleep habits, the avoidance of harmful or risky behaviors, and medical self-care are all important for maintaining physical health. Especially during the college years, these components of health can seem almost impossible to get under control. Taking baby steps towards your goals can help you lead a more balanced life.
Spiritual wellness involves seeking meaning, value, and purpose in our lives. By developing a core set of beliefs to guide our choices, we can establish peace and harmony in our experiences. Spiritual wellness may take the form of optimism, connectedness with others, love of self, social responsibility, or feeling of belonging, for example. Some people lean towards religious practice and a relationship with a higher power to encourage spirituality, while others may spend time in nature or practice yoga or meditation.
Emotional wellness is achieved through recognizing and accepting our feelings, coping with disappointments and challenges, and learning from our experiences. By acknowledging and managing the entire range of emotions we experience, we are better able to form satisfying relationships, reduce our stress levels, and encourage positive self-esteem and self-care. Emotionally well individuals develop effective problem-solving and decision-making skills and reach out for support when needed.
Social wellness is fostered through satisfying relationships with friends, family, partners, and associates. We develop a deep sense of connection and belonging when our social groups share a common purpose, provide support and validation, and encourage mutual respect and trust. Maintaining active participation in community affairs and developing respect for people of all cultures can contribute to social wellness as well as condition us towards empathy and affection.