Wellness is fueling your body, engaging your mind, and nurturing your spirit. How we think about wellness is affected by our culture and our life experiences.
While all dimensions of wellness need our attention for us to truly flourish, there doesn’t have to be a balance among all dimensions. Instead, the goal is to find a personal harmony with the dimensions that are most authentic for you. You can’t get there passively, it requires active awareness, acceptance, and commitment through choices you make every day no matter how small.
Physical wellness is not merely the absence of illness, but about maintaining a thriving lifestyle. This area of wellness includes adopting healthy habits such as routine medical exams, immunizations, safety precautions, sexually transmitted infection screenings, adequate sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and more. It is also about avoiding or minimizing risky behaviors like alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Most importantly, physical wellness is about discovering what healthy habits make you feel better and suit your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness.
Social Wellness focuses on connecting with your community and the people around you, which includes being aware of your own social and cultural background as a bridge to understand the diversity and depth present in other backgrounds. This dimension encourages taking an active part in improving your communities, connecting with others, establishing supportive social networks, developing meaningful relationships, and creating safe and inclusive spaces.
Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and the ability to experience and cope with feelings independently and interpersonally. Emotional wellness includes: practicing self-care; fostering inner resources and resiliency; finding unique ways of coping with stressors; creating satisfying relationships; empathizing with others; and being realistic about expectations and time; and knowing when to ask for help.
Intellectual wellness encourages participating in mentally stimulating and creative activities. Improving intellectual wellness can happen in and out of the classroom. It is the ability to think critically, reason objectively, make responsible decisions, and explore new ideas and different points of view. It also emphasizes lifelong learning and inspires curiosity.
Vocational wellness involves preparing for and participating in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle. This dimension includes taking a thoughtful and proactive approach to career planning and assessing personal satisfaction and performance in one’s work.
Environmental wellness inspires us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. It involves understanding the dynamic relationship between the environment and people and recognizing that we are responsible for the quality of the air, water, and earth that surrounds us and in turn, that social, natural, and built environments affect our health and well-being.
Our environment and the way we feel about the environment can play a big role in how we live our lives. Examples of our environment include out social environment (i.e. bullying, fat talk, and racism), out natural environment (i.e. air, nature, and climate), and our built environment (i.e. proximity to resources and living conditions).
Spiritual wellness involves seeking and having a meaning and purpose in life, as well as participating in activities that are consistent with one’s beliefs and values. It is more than prayer and believing in a higher being. A spiritually well person seeks harmony with the universe, expresses compassion towards others, and practices gratitude and self-reflection. When we integrate practices of spiritual wellness we are able to connect in mind, body, and soul.
Financial Wellness includes our relationship with money, skills to manage resources to live within our means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and learning to prepare for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. Part of this dimension includes an awareness that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique.