When you hear the word “wellness,” what comes to mind? Many people make the mistake of equating “wellness” with physical health only. You know – exercise, heart health, nutrition, etc. But it is much bigger than that. The human body is more than just a physical being. True wellness encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and by bringing these three concepts together, we can achieve integrated wellness and a higher quality of life.
Comprehensive wellness is multi-dimensional. In fact, many view wellness as having seven dimensions, all of which integrate with one another to achieve total wellbeing. So, what are the seven dimensions of wellness?
Dimension #1 – The Physical
The physical dimension is perhaps the most well-known. Afterall, most of us are familiar with the concepts of physical health – adequate exercise, healthy nutrition, regular medical checkups, etc. Taking the actions necessary to help prevent or treat illness and injury and abstaining from unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive drinking is at the core of the Physical Dimension.
To achieve physical wellness, you can:
- Eat well-balanced and healthy foods
- Use organic and all natural products
- Get plenty of rest
- Prevent injury by using that which will keep you safe, such as seat belts and helmets
- Be aware of physical changes and signs of illness and address them immediately
- Keep up with annual physicals and preventative care
- Stop using tobacco products
- Consume alcohol moderately
Let’s break for a second and talk about organic and all natural products (after all, that’s what we specialize in) and how they connect to internal harmony and wellness. Although the terms organic and all natural are often interchangeable, organic refers to foods grown without pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. All natural products are those that have no additives or synthetic ingredients and go far beyond just food. Chemicals and additives can and will prevent us from achieving the seven dimensions of wellness by blocking our ability to bring together the dimensions successfully. The chemicals and synthetics found in many products have a direct negative effect on our health and emotional wellbeing, which are at the foundation of overall wellness. These chemicals can cause diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders, thyroid issues, and several other health problems. By using products that don’t contain harmful materials, you can help ensure your physical wellbeing is optimized.
Dimension #2 – The Emotional
Emotion is a complex experience of the mind. Unlike the physical, the emotional dimension is not tangible. It is a state of feeling – both about others and yourself. It’s being open to relationships and letting yourself feel the 27 different types of human emotions – happiness, sadness, anger, etc. Now, we know 27 emotions is a lot to think about and that is a topic in and of itself, so just take our word for it for now. Emotional wellbeing comes from the ability to focus on the positive – to be optimistic, have self-esteem and confidence and be able to accept the love of others, without denying yourself moments of sadness, anger, and self-doubt – face it, we all feel that sometimes. What is important to emotional wellness is finding that place where the positive emotions outweigh the negative.
To achieve emotional wellness, you can:
- Practice stress and anxiety relieving techniques
- Learn to forgive yourself
- Learn to accept who you are
- Seek out and provide support to others when needed
- Cultivate emotionally healthy relationships with others
- Be a glass half-full kind of person
Dimension #3 – The Intellectual
The intellectual dimension is not about education in the formal sense. You don’t need a graduate degree to achieve intellectual wellness. This dimension deals with the stimulation of the mind. It is the seeking out of information and a continued desire to learn. An active mind can help decrease the chances of certain physical diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and can contribute to your emotional wellness as well by giving your mind something to focus on. It is about creating the ability to form relationships with others by opening doors that you didn’t know existed before. This will help increase your quality of life by avoiding boredom and stagnation.
To achieve intellectual wellness, you can:
- Learn a new skill, language or take an online course
- Get involved with a club or group
- Seek out those who provide intellectual stimulation
Dimension #4 – The Social
“Let’s get ready to party!” Don’t worry if you’re not a party animal, that’s not what the social dimension is all about. Although if that’s your thing, have at it! Social wellness is our ability to successfully interact within a larger community and contribute to its growth. Whether personally or professionally, this includes developing good communications skills, relationships and a support network of family and friends.
To achieve social wellness, you can:
- Form positive relationships both on a personal and professional level
- Volunteer and get involved with community events and organizations
- Offer your expertise, guidance, and support to others in the community
- Don’t be afraid to share your personal thoughts and feelings with others in a respectful and meaningful way
Dimension #5 – The Spiritual
The spiritual dimension is built upon beliefs, principles, and faith. This dimension is not limited to organized religion, but if that is where you draw your strength from, that is where you should focus. The spiritual dimension is about individual beliefs that provide a personal meaning and purpose or bring comfort to us in times of need. It is the balance between what we can and cannot see both from the outside and within ourselves. Finding that balance will lead to spiritual wellness and ultimately better health.
To achieve spiritual wellness, you can:
- Learn to be mindful of everything around you and be present in today
- Listen to yourself and never compromise your principles
- Be yourself and let others be who they are
- Always look for ways to grow
Dimension #6 – The Environmental
Environmental wellness considers how environmental effects have a positive or negative impact on our daily habits and health. It takes an understanding of how your actions impact earth and how you can minimize negative impacts on the environment. It is finding a harmonious place where you can go about your daily activities while being mindful of the social responsibility we have to protect the environment.
To achieve environmental wellness, you can:
- Go paperless
- Use sustainably sourced food
- Conserve water and other limited resources
- Shop organically to reduce chemical use
- Consider and reduce your carbon footprint
Let’s take another time out to discuss the positive impact organic and all natural products can have on the environment. There is a ton of scientific information out there showing how harmful chemicals and synthetic products are to the environment. They harm all living things by changing the climate, contributing to diseases, and increasing the effects of global warming. By using organic and all natural products, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and keep the environment around you healthy, which is necessary to achieve overall health and wellness.
Dimension #7 – The Occupational
Finally, we are at the 7th dimension – occupational. As you may have already guessed, occupational wellness deals with the satisfaction and purpose as it relates to our work. A fulfilling occupational experience gives you the ability to maintain a positive attitude, while feeling like you are contributing to the betterment of society. Occupational wellness can help reduce stress and anxiety that is often associated with a work environment by focusing on the rewards associated with the results of that hard work. We spend so many hours at work that our workplace experience can have a profound effect on our overall health and can be very detrimental if not positively maintained.
To achieve occupational wellness, you can:
- Choose a career that aligns with your strengths and interests
- Seek to learn new skills that will benefit you professionally
- Not be afraid to make a change if you find yourself in a toxic or unfulfilling environment
- Envision your future and plan how to get there
Achieving the seven dimensions of wellness is not something that can happen overnight. It is something that grows organically and may change over the course of time as your situation and environment changes around you. It is important to check-in with your dimensions periodically and take stock of what is and is in not working for you. This is a personal journey to wellbeing.