Wellness includes so much more than the foods you eat or the time you spend at the gym – wellness is a multidimensional concept that involves all facets of your life. The seven dimensions of wellness include physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational factors. By encompassing these aspects of wellness into your daily routine, you can enhance your overall health and create a more balanced and vibrant life.
Physical wellness tends to show up at the forefront of any wellness regimen and encompasses everything from physical activity level and the nutritional value of your diet to the quality of your sleep. Optimal physical wellness directly impacts the way you think and feel. As an example, when you overdo it on greasy foods or miss out on crucial hours of sleep, your body will likely react in a physical manner to express imbalances. Physical symptoms can manifest as a headache, digestion issues, lack of focus, or general fatigue. When you take care of your body in a physical manner, you are rewarded with better digestion, a clearer mind, a better sense of judgment, and a more optimistic attitude.
Your physical health extends beyond your body’s basic functioning. You can improve physical wellness with small changes in your daily habits, such as regulating the amount of alcohol you consume, taking supplements when necessary, or being more mindful of your meal portions. The idea is to try to minimize any potentially destructive habits that could become second nature.
Emotional wellness covers everything from mental health and self-esteem to intimacy and the healthy expression of emotions. As humans, we possess a complex set of emotions that equip us for connecting with others, living with a sense of morality, and acting as functional members of society. You can strengthen your emotional and mental well-being by turning to a support network of family and friends, finding time to meditate and stay calm, or committing to better understanding your emotions and thought processes.
Your relationships and connections with others – part of what we at IIN call primary food – is crucial in satisfying your social and emotional needs. When you safely express your feelings to others, you are better able to address your emotions in real time, which leads to a better understanding of how to behave in future similar situations. This is key in order to healthily manage stress and develop coping skills for when things get difficult. The best way to stay emotionally healthy is to seek out external resources, whether it be a therapist or self-help book, to learn how to express your feelings.
When you exercise your mind, stimulate critical thinking, and seek out people and experiences that challenge you intellectually, you are contributing to your overall intellectual wellness. This type of wellness is achieved through embracing new concepts, improving your skill sets, and seeking new challenges.
You can challenge your mind and intellect by participating in creatively stimulating mental activities. This can include signing up for a new course or workshop, reading an autobiography or memoir, or learning about new cultures through museums or theater. Through these activities, you’ll gain perspective and learn new skills and ideas that can be applied to your daily life. As an example, creative minds can look to experts like Da Vinci or Shakespeare for inspiration when developing an art piece or writing a script. These historical resources can give you a greater context of the world around you and inspire you to create art or literature through an intellectual lens.
Social wellness refers to your relationship with your community and others. At its core, it’s the ability to communicate effectively and build positive relationships that extend to satisfaction in all areas of your life, such as friends, family, school, and work. This area of wellness is important as it directly affects the way you show up as an individual and contribute to your community.
You can enhance your social wellness by simply expanding your network of people. Try reaching out to old friends and sparking new connections with those who share common interests and values. When you build these connections, your life will feel fuller and more enhanced. You can further this practice by creating spaces for more socialization and interaction. If you enjoy reading or cooking, this could be an opportunity to set up a virtual club or meeting to discuss and interact with like-minded people. As humans, we thrive off social connection and the positive energy found within a group setting.
Productive and healthy individuals seek meaning and purpose to nourish their lives. Spiritual wellness encompasses this idea, encouraging you to live by a guiding set of principles and belief systems that can help you approach life with a positive mind-set. By aligning yourself with your spirit and moral compass, you become more emotionally in tune to your own needs and the needs of others.
Spiritual wellness can be put into practice through daily meditation, a thirst to stay inquisitive, and a focus on listening to your gut morals in difficult situations. It is also an opportunity to allow for self-growth and introspection when it comes to the challenges that life may throw your way. When you encourage yourself to listen to your heart and your inner moral compass, you can become more present and aligned with positive people and energies within the world.
Environmental wellness is the ability to recognize how your daily habits and interactions affect the health of the earth we live on. This can be practiced by conserving water and other resources, reusing items when possible, and recycling in an effort to minimize harm to the environment. Additionally, this concept can be applied toward your personal environment, whether it’s how you feel in your home or the effect that the people you surround yourself with have on your mood and energy.
Each of us has a personal responsibility to improve the health, harmony, and homeostasis of the air, water, and land that we make use of every day. You can start practicing environmental wellness with small actions today, such as minimizing your use of paper goods, choosing to walk or bike rather than drive, or composting your food scraps. In terms of your personal and home life, environmental wellness can manifest in the cleanliness of your home, optimizing your at-home work setup for boosted productivity, or the conversations and relationships that you engage in.
In an effort to live a more vibrant and holistic life, your occupation should reflect your core values and overall mission in life. Occupational wellness is achieved when you are able to find a job or purpose in life that makes use of your gifts, skills, and talents. This wellness factor in your workplace will extend to feelings of satisfaction in all other areas of your life! If you find yourself leaving each workday drained of energy or dreading the next time you step foot in the office, you may not be on the right career path for achieving your best self. Devoting your energy to a rewarding career that speaks to your unique talents and gifts and aligns with your life goals is how you can achieve occupational wellness.
The idea of a career change can seem daunting and scary, but it’s an essential step toward finding your unique path and building a healthy vision for your future. Whether you have a knack for numbers or finances or an affinity for sales and public speaking, these vocational skills can be utilized by any company or business that speaks to your greater passions.
Integrating Wellness into All Facets of Your Life
The many areas of wellness we discussed permeate into every aspect of your life, from your morning routines and how you manage your work schedule to your relationships with your friends and family and what you put on your plate. The IIN curriculum highlights the importance of each area of wellness, educating students on the nutrition, mind-set, and community aspects of health that can help them live a more holistic and balanced life.
By focusing on nourishing each of these dimensions of wellness, you can reach an optimal level of whole-body health and show up in your life as the best version of yourself.
Check out the IIN Curriculum Overview to learn more about how primary food factors into the overall well-being of your body and mind.