Let’s think about our lives for a moment. We’ve had lots of interesting experiences. We’ve tried new things, met new people, developed some skills, made some decisions. Some things were only for a short time and some for a long time. And for what?
I think we make decisions for the purpose of trying to maximize our happiness, to give us the best quality of life we can muster. We may forego risk for security. We may sacrifice travel to save money for an early retirement. We may relinquish some freedom for the joy of raising children.
But ultimately, I think we are trying to maximize our well-being. Which got me thinking about what well-being, or wellness, actually is, what it means to incorporate it into our lifestyles, and how the various components of wellness fit into our larger wellness picture.
We have all heard stories of wealthy people being unhappy and we wonder why. We know people who have high-paying jobs, but are always broke. We know people who have big dreams, but end up spending their spare time watching television and playing video games.
We, ourselves, may have otherwise happy lives, with good income, creative pursuits, time at the golf course, and pets we love. And yet, we may be completely out of sorts because of a dysfunctional relationship we are experiencing with a family member or partner.
Something isn’t quite right. Well-being is a balance of multiple dimensions in our lives, and when one of them is out of whack, it seems that it can tear down the whole house of cards.
What I want to do in this blog post is to try to define some wellness terms and to try to identify the wellness dimensions, for the purpose of helping to identify potential problem areas that may be adversely affecting your quality of life.
I’ve also whipped together a simple wellness assessment that you may find thought-provoking. Enjoy.
What is Wellness?
Wellness is a state of optimum quality of life, an overall feeling that we are living a meaningful and successful existence.
What is a Wellness-Centred Lifestyle?
A wellness-centred lifestyle is a way of life in which we make choices, develop habits, and practice behaviours, for the purpose of achieving our highest potential. It is a positive approach to living, in which we recognize that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an impact on our wellness. It implies that we are personally responsible to enrich our physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, financial, and creative functioning.
What are the Seven Dimensions of Wellness?
Physical Dimension (body)
Physical wellness is nurtured through a combination of movement, exercise, healthy eating, self-care, and health screenings. It can be maintained by making good choices about nutrition, fitness, and safety.
- Alternative Health
- Disease Management
Social Dimension (relationships)
Social wellness recognizes the need for us to interact with, care for, and enjoy others, to develop and maintain close friendships, and to work for the common good. It improves when we budget time for leisure and recreation activities.
- Successful Relationships
- Healthy Parenting
- Sense of Community
- Culture and Traditions
- Pet Companions
Emotional Dimension (feelings)
Emotional wellness emphasizes an awareness and acceptance of our feelings and limitations, and our ability to manage our behaviours. It implies a positive attitude, high self-esteem, a strong self-image, good mental health, and an ability to accept the feelings of others.
- Time and Stress Management
- Style and Image
- Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Love and Happiness
- Sensuality and Sexuality
Environmental Dimension (nature)
Environmental wellness emphasizes a lifestyle that is respectful of our natural environment. It recognizes that our daily habits have an effect on the environment, but that we can make wise decisions to maximize our harmony with the earth.
- Green Solutions
- Simplified Living Space
- Organized Work Environment
Spiritual Dimension (values, meaning, purpose)
Spiritual wellness involves nurturing a positive approach to the meaning and purpose in life. It improves when our decisions and actions become more consistently aligned with our values and beliefs.
- Meaning and Values
Financial Dimension (resources, career)
Financial wellness recognizes the effect that our work, our attitudes toward work, and our financial position have on our physical and mental well-being. It improves with our ability to obtain resources to positively influence the other wellness dimensions, and when we make choices that allow us to live within our means.
- Career Planning
- Wealth Creation
- Worry-Free Retirement
- Money Management
- Savings and Investing
Creative Dimension (mind)
Creative wellness encourages imaginative and stimulating mental activity, expanding our knowledge, and sharing our talents and ideas with others. It involves being open to new ideas, thinking critically, and seeking out new challenges.
- Artistic Expression and Design
- Communication Arts
- Hobbies and Special Interests
- Negotiation and Problem Solving
- Creative Writing
Click here to access a simple wellness assessment.