There are six dimensions of wellness. They are:
Each dimension is interrelated in that each has an effect on
the other. We should view the process of achieving wellness as
constant and dynamic, which involves change and growth. If we
ignore any of the six dimensions of wellness it is possible to
suffer harmful effects.
Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the
dimensions of wellness are:
- Physical: Eating well, exercising, and avoiding harmful
habits, practicing safe sex, recognizing symptoms of
disease, regular checkups, avoiding injuries.
- Emotional: Optimism, trust, self-esteem,
self-acceptance, self-confidence, ability to understand and
accept one's feelings, ability to share feelings with
- Intellectual: Openness to new ideas, capacity to
question, ability to think critically, motivation to master
new skills, sense of humor, creativity, curiosity, lifelong
- Social: Communication skills, capacity for intimacy,
ability to establish and maintain satisfying relationships,
ability to cultivate support system of friends and family.
- Spiritual: Capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness,
altruism, joy, fulfillment, caring for others, sense of
meaning and purpose, sense of belonging to something greater
- Environmental: Having abundant, clean natural resources,
maintaining sustainable development,recycling whenever
possible, reducing pollution and waste.
Wellness is the new health goal. Generations of people viewed
health just simply as the absence of disease. This view still
prevails today; however, the word health typically refers to the
overall condition of a person's body or mind and to the presence
or absence of illness or injury. Wellness is largely a new
concept helping to expand our ideas of health beyond the simple
presence or absence of disease. Wellness refers to "optimal
health and vitality and living life to its fullest."
There are two important differences in the words health and
- Health, or some aspects of health, can be determined or
influenced by things beyond your control. These include
genes, age, family history and so forth. An example is of a
60-year-old man with a strong family history of prostate
cancer. The strong family history of prostate cancer places
this 60-year-old man at a higher-than-average risk for
developing prostate cancer.
- Wellness is mostly determined by the decisions you make
about how you live. This same 60-year-old man can reduce his
chances of acquiring prostate cancer and even suffering
death from the disease by eating right, exercising and
regular screening tests for the disease.
We all have unique health risks due to the factors beyond
our control. However, we can all live within an enhanced
wellness that involves making conscious decision to control
the risk factors that contribute to disease, injury and even
death. The decisions made now and the habits developed over
a lifetime will largely determine the length and quality of
your life. To a large degree this is a totally new concept
as compared to the meaning of "health" in days gone by. Much
of our health and wellness depends upon making the
appropriate decisions on a daily basis rather than those
factors we have no control over such as genes, age and