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An Introduction to the Six Dimensions of Wellness

Topics in health and wellness are popular these days, there’s no denying that someone will be looking for the new fitness regimen, diet, or spiritual program to suit their busy lifestyle. How do you find balance in an increasingly noisy and active world? Are you feeling out of sorts in your personal or professional life? Perhaps it is time to identify with your current level of wellness and determine areas where you can improve the overall quality of your life. The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”


Only by applying a six-dimensional holistic model of wellness, can we discover that our overall health is interconnected and dependent on the stability of the other. Though one element of our health may impact another, it is important to be mindful of the bigger picture. Only when we seek to find balance in mind, body, and spirit are we able to achieve true wellness.


The six-dimensional model of wellness includes:


Occupational Wellness: Determines whether a person is happy in their work environment. It asks the person to consider a career which is consistent with their personal beliefs, values, and interests, and to find opportunities for growth that can enrich and foster one’s occupational development.


Physical Wellness: Determines an individual’s overall physical condition (i.e. strength, flexibility, and endurance) and helps find areas of improvement. Physical development is dependent on seeking a balance between diet and exercise. It is important to find a fitness regimen that suits one’s specific needs and body type while also maintaining healthy eating habits and avoiding the use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.


Social Wellness: Determines a person’s role in building a better community. Social development involves building positive and meaningful relationships and encouraging healthier living by engaging in compassion rather than conflict with those around you.


Intellectual Wellness: Determines whether a person is mentally stagnant or is actively augmenting their knowledge. Intellectual development presumes that we are all life-long learners and don’t have everything figured out, and that furthermore, we’re open to engaging life as well as new ideas and possibilities.


Spiritual Wellness: Determines an individual’s appreciation for humanity and finding balance or peace with nature and the world around them. Spiritual wellness can be dependent on whether a person is open minded to opposing systems of belief or politics.


Emotional Wellness: Determines a person’s ability to understand and manage their emotions as well as to develop and sustain positive and lasting relationships. Emotional wellness also corresponds to stress management as well as accepting and finding peace in one’s limitations.


Tackling the six-dimensions of wellness is a daunting task. Where do you begin? Perhaps you are only interested in working on a few areas of wellness. That is okay too, just know that it is never too late to improve your quality of life. There will be challenges when managing and balancing the six-dimensions of wellness outlined above, whether it is occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, or emotional in nature. Face these challenges head on and know that you are not alone. Continue building a life of internal and external peace, strength, endurance and resiliency.


For more information on the six-dimensions of wellness, check out the National Wellness Institute’s website, become a member, read their blog, sign up for their newsletter, or find out how to become a certified wellness practitioner.


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