"Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and
making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” – UC Davis SCHS
"Wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being,
and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - The World Health Organization
"Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of
achieving full potential." - The National Wellness Institute
"Wellness describes a person’s overall health and balance in one’s life.
Balance in the eight dimensions of wellness gives people confidence that
generates a sense of peace and wholeness. This integrative view of wellness means that
anyone can manage their life for optimal health and well-being." - Kiero Senior Health Care
“I define wellness as the good feeling you get after finding and
using a series of personalized, specific strategies that allow you
to achieve optimum health. It is as much an action as it is a feeling.” – Dr. Jim Nicolai
"Wellness is the ability to live life to the fullest and to maximize personal
potential in a variety of ways. Wellness places responsibility on the individual; it becomes
a matter of self-evaluation and self-assessment. Wellness involves continually learning
and making changes to enhance your state of wellness." - North Dakota State University
In my opinion, wellness is balance of your overall well-being & the journey towards your greatest potential.
The six dimensional wellness model was originally developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, Co-Founder of the National Wellness Institute. Other organizations, including UC Davis, later enhance this model to incorporate two additional dimensions of wellness, environmental and financial. Even other organizations take this wellness model a step further, discussing mental, medical, and multi-cultural wellness.
In my own work, I feel most qualified and comfortable discussing the following 8 dimensions: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, environmental, and financial. Regardless of whether or not you personally connect with all 8, think of the dimensions of wellness as the different slices of life. They are different aspects or elements of life that directly impact our well-being, quality of life, and greatest potential.
I believe that when these 8 dimensions of wellness (8 slices of life) are aligned to the way we desire to feel (so that the slices form a full, rich, and abundantly topped pie), then we feel the healthiest we’ve ever felt. This is our ideal health and likely the exact life we want to live (our greatest potential).
When the dimensions of wellness are not aligned and not given proper care (the pie is missing bites, without toppings, and stale), then we are not in our ideal health and likely not living our desired lives.
(Note: do you picture a pizza pie or dessert pie? 😉)
8 dimensions of wellness:
Note: these are NOT in order of importance. Importance is defined individually.
- Our emotional wellness largely includes our stress, coping mechanisms, and feelings. This slice poses questions such as…How well do you cope with stress? Do you tend to hide your feelings? Do you feel a lot of guilt? Do you practice the relaxation response? How are you with alone time? What feelings tend to pull and push you to the fridge?
- Our occupational wellness includes our satisfaction within our work and/or career. This slices poses questions such as…Do you enjoy your job? Is it stressful? Do you get along with your coworkers? Do you feel valued and respected? What’s your actual office like? Do you take lunch? What’s your dream job? Why did you choose the job or field you’re in?
- Our physical wellness largely includes many of the things we typically associate with health! Our physical wellness talks about our physical body, including our heart, muscles, bones, joints, tissues, and other organs, and centers around what we eat, how we eat, and our daily activity. This slice poses questions such as…How does your body feel regularly? How is your weight? Do you like your workout? What do you eat on a daily basis? Can you move well and comfortably? What physical symptoms might you have on any given day? How's your relationship to food?
- Our environmental wellness includes our natural environment, such as the outdoors and other living things, as well as our personal environment, such as what we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. This slice poses questions such as…Do you take in fresh air during the day? How comfortable or relaxing is your personal environment? What textures, scents, and sights do you surround yourself with? What is your social media feed like?
- Our social wellness is geared around your support system and your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and significant others. This slice poses questions such as…Do you have a support system for every area of your life? Do you have anyone to celebrate success with? What kind of love is in your life? How are your relationships?
- Our spiritual wellness largely includes our different values and the beliefs we hold that give our lives meaning and purpose. A greater sense of clarity in our lives and our direction is also associated with a strong spiritual wellness. This slice poses questions such as…Do you have a spiritual practice? Do you connect to a bigger purpose or a bigger picture in life? What do you believe in? What do you value? What do you see for the future of the world? How do you fit in that future? What footprint do you want to leave?
- Our intellectual wellness recognizes the importance of continuing to grow, learn, and expand our beliefs. This slice poses questions such as…Do you have any hobbies or interests? What are you passionate about? What do you like to talk about? What do you like to learn about? In what ways are you growing or would you like to grow?
- Our financial wellness discusses our satisfaction with current and future finances. We often here people talking about sound financial wellness as “financial freedom” or “financial independence”. Your finances might be exactly where you want them to be, but a strong sense of financial wellness means that you are taking the right steps towards your clear financial goals. This slice poses questions such as…What do you consider to be financial freedom and/or success? Where do you spend money? What type of personality do you have when it comes to money? Do you understand everything on a bank statement? Money is energy!
Each dimension of wellness is interrelated with one another and equally important! In other words, we want to focus on all aspects of wellness, not just on physical wellness. However, it is possible that the majority of your effort needs to be spent on a few, specific dimensions at a time.
When deciding where to spend your effort and how to make a few changes, think about the dimensions of wellness that are directly impacting the life you want to live and the person you want to be. Think about the dimensions that feel the least rich and fulfilling. Think about what's missing in your life.
To help you get started, reflect on the following questions.
What situations, feelings, people, or things tend to pull and push you to the fridge?
Where do you find a lot of stress in your life?
Where do you find a lot of anxiety or unhappiness?
Is your current job something you enjoy?
How are your relationships right now?
Do you cope well with emotions or tend to use something (like food) to hide them?
Do you get time doing things you enjoy?
What would you like to do more of?
What would you like to do less of?
You're here because you feel stuck. Something's missing.
Where do you not feel fulfilled?
Where do you not feel fulfilled?