What is wellness. Wellness is a broad concept and specific sense of what it means. Wellness as meaning being healthy in many dimensions of our lives. Wellness is a familiar term, but what is its true definition? Is it simply the absence of disease?
This article will define all the components of holistic wellness and describe the factors that contribute to not only a person’s physical and mental health, but also their ability to develop, thrive, succeed, enjoy life, and meet challenges head on with confidence and resolve.
To achieve this type of overall wellness, a person must be healthy in nine interconnected dimensions of wellness:
physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, environmental, occupational, financial, and cultural. A description of each
The Nine Dimensions of Wellness
• Physical Wellness
People who are physically well actively make healthy decisions on a daily basis.
They eat a nutritionally balanced diet; they try to get an adequate amount of sleep, and they visit the doctor routinely.
They make a habit of exercising three to five times per week; they have the ability to identify their personal needs and are aware of their body’s limitations.
They maintain positive interpersonal relationships and make healthy sexual decisions that are consistent with their personal values and beliefs.
• Emotional Wellness
An emotionally well person successfully expresses and manages an entire range of feelings, including anger, doubt, hope, joy, desire, fear, and many others.
People who are emotionally well maintain a high level of self-esteem.
They have a positive body-image and the ability to regulate their feelings.
They know where to seek support and help regarding their mental health, including but not limited to, seeking professional counseling services.
• Intellectual Wellness
Those who enjoy intellectual wellness engage in lifelong learning.
They seek knowledge and activities that further develop their critical thinking and heighten global awareness.
They engage in activities
associated with the arts, philosophy, and reasoning.
• Spiritual Wellness
People who can be described as spiritually well have identified a core set of beliefs that guide their decision making, and other faith based endeavors.
While firm in their spiritual beliefs, they understand others may have a distinctly different set of guiding principles.
They recognize the relationship between spirituality and identity in all individuals.
• Social Wellness
A socially well person builds healthy relationships based on interdependence, trust, and respect.
Those who are socially well have a keen awareness of the feelings of others.
They develop a network of friends and co-workers who share a common purpose, and who provide support and validation.
• Environmental Wellness
An environmentally well person appreciates the external cues and stimuli that an environment can provide.
People who have achieved environmental wellness recognize the limits to controlling an environment and seek to understand the role an individual plays in the environment.
• Occupational Wellness
An occupationally well person enjoys the pursuit of a career which is fulfilling on a variety of levels.
This person finds satisfaction and enrichment in work, while always in pursuit of opportunities to reach the next level of professional success.
• Financial Wellness
Those who are financially well are fully aware of their current financial state.
They set long- and short-term goals regarding finances that will allow them to reach their personal goals and achieve self-defined financial success.
• Cultural Wellness
Culturally well people are aware of their own cultural background, as well as the diversity and richness present in other cultural
Cultural wellness implies understanding, awareness and intrinsic respect for aspects of diversity.
A culturally well person acknowledges and accepts the impact of these aspects of diversity on sexual orientation, religion, gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds, age groups, and
Creating balance in our lives is an important part of wellness.
Overall, a balanced life can mean many things, depending on culture, circumstances, resources, and other factors.
Balance means making sure we have time to do the things that make us feel happy and
This includes working having fun, spending time with family and friends, participating in the community, being physically active—including sexually—praying, and relaxing and sleeping.
Because we each have individual needs, preferences, and capabilities, what we consider “balance” will also look different.
And it’s important for us to re-balance from time to time, to adjust to what is going on in our lives.
When we’re trying to get through a tough time—whether it is stress, an illness, trauma, or an emotional challenge—balance is especially important.
In these times, our habits and routines can help us get that feeling of control back.
This means focusing on ourselves as well as the roles we play in the lives of others—like being students, friends, parents, spouses, coworkers, congregants, hobbyists, community members, and citizens.
Our roles and relationships help define who we are, what gives us a sense of purpose, and how our lives are interdependent on other people, animals, and the environment.
Being engaged in life and relationships provides a measure of balance and overall wellness.
For example, swimming has physical benefits (building strength, improving circulation), as well as social (meeting other people) and emotional benefits (relieving stress).
But we don’t have to swim laps every week to be well getting into the pool even occasionally is a great step.
Having a safe and clean living environment helps us feel organized and in control.
It can be a way to get physical activity in as well, and offers the chance for partners and families to work together.
EMBRACING SUPPORT FROM OTHERS
Most of us know something that we do that makes us feel good about ourselves, or in
It could be as different as taking our dog for a walk, or balancing our checkbook.
And any step in that direction, such as finding a new walking route or gathering receipts from a purse, is positive.
However, sometimes we may want advice from family and friends. That’s OK, too, and is where support from others comes in.
Talking with someone who has been through similar things—whether it is a mental health issue, addiction, trauma, pain issues, smoking, diabetes, bullying, or abuse—makes us feel less alone.
When we realize others have had similar feelings and experiences and have been able to move forward and grow, it can give us the confidence to move forward, too.
• Supportive input from people with a range of backgrounds who have experiences
similar to ours.
• A chance to support others by our presence, compassion, our ideas, and empathy.
• People who can suggest services or resources we might not have considered.
We can find supportive people in many places—a community or church/synagogue/
mosque/temple group, at work, or through volunteering efforts, to name a few.
VALUING ROUTINES AND HABITS
Having self-defined routines and habits can offer personal balance and satisfaction.
Routine and habit is generally determined by our basic needs (nutrition/food, shelter,
social affiliation, safety, etc.), and the various roles we occupy in society.
Our habits affect what we eat, what we wear, how we relate to others, how we go to work, how we spend or save money, and more.
Habits become ingrained in us—and are often tough to change.
For example, we might put ourselves down or feel we need a particular thing or person to get us through a tough spot.
Life demands, stress, crisis, or trauma can impact or alter our routines and habits.
Ten Processes of Change:
1. Consciousness Raising
Increasing awareness about the healthy behavior.
2. Dramatic Relief
Emotional arousal about the health behavior, whether positive or negative arousal.
Self-reappraisal to realize the healthy behavior is part of who they want to be.
4. Environmental Reevaluation
Social reappraisal to realize how their unhealthy behavior affects others.
5. Social Liberation
Environmental opportunities that exist to show society is supportive of the healthy behavior.
Commitment to change behavior based on the belief that achievement of the healthy behavior is possible.
7. Helping Relationships
Finding supportive relationships that encourage the desired change.
Substituting healthy behaviors and thoughts for unhealthy behaviors and thoughts.
9. Reinforcement Management
Rewarding the positive behavior and
reducing the rewards that come from negative behavior.
10. Stimulus Control
Re-engineering the environment to have reminders and cues that support and encourage the healthy behavior and remove those that encourage the unhealthy behaviors.