Five Dimensions of Health and Wellness

Wellness is often thought of in physical terms. When most people are asked about their health, they tend to talk about their nutrition, how much exercise they do and how they are able to manage their weight. In reality wellness encompasses more than physical health. Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual well-being. Wellness requires that we care for ourselves holistically, which means nourishing the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit.

A holistic approach to wellness says that if there is strain or stress on one of the dimensions of health all other dimensions will become strained or stressed. This requires that we take a holistic approach to care for ourselves. For optimal health all dimensions of health and wellness must be in balance. Balance is different for each of us. Therefore, we must understand the dimensions and know how they affect our daily lives.

Physical Health: Physical health fits the traditional definition of health. It focuses on the absence or presence of disease in the body. Physical well-being requires you to make healthy choices around exercise, nutrition, rest and sleep. Making choices that promote a physically healthy body.

When your physical health declines, you may begin to feel depressed or become angry. Physical ailments often affect your mental function and can cause isolation; affect your mental wellness and social wellness. Healthy choices that affect your physical well-being include incorporating 20 minutes of physical activity, ideally in the morning. Physical activity helps to boost your mood and increases energy.

Emotional Health: Having a realistic understanding of who you are so you can truly access your potential and limitations. The process of knowing and accepting your self-worth. The ability to recognize your emotions and feelings and expressing them in a healthy manner; whether that emotion is anger, fear, sadness, or joy. Emotional health allows you to meet challenges and have the drive to succeed despite setbacks. Emotional health allows us to appreciate the feelings of others.

Spiritual Wellness: The process of finding your values and beliefs. Having an understanding of your purpose in life. Experiencing a meaning and purpose that makes you a part of something that is bigger than you.

Social Wellness: Creating and maintaining healthy relationships at home, work and in your community. Having a sense of connection with family and friends and the community at large. Contributing to society for the common good of your community. Having the ability to connect and engage with others in a manner that is mutually nurturing and respectful. One way to engage with your community is to participate in community groups or events.

Intellectual Wellness: Creating an understanding and appreciation of the universe. Intellectual wellness is about making connections, examining your own beliefs and questioning. Intellectual wellness is the ability to grow and learn from experience.