Whole-person wellness represents the integration of an
individual's multiple dimensions into positive beliefs and
meaningful activities. It is relative to the individual, has
nothing to do with age, and the process and attainment are
behavior specific. Whole-person wellness promotes the concepts
of moderation, rather than excesses; finding balance among
various facets of life activity; the importance of a personal
role in shaping one's health; providing a broad framework for
the integration of activities to enhance human functioning and
quality of life; and the pursuit of individual efforts and to be
as healthy as possible in the areas of emotional, intellectual,
physical, social, spiritual and vocational health.
Six Dimensions of Wellness
Following is a more complete definition of each of the six
dimensions of wellness.
Promotes an awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It
reflects the degree to which an individual feels positive and
enthusiastic about one’s self and life. This dimension involves
the capacity to manage feelings and behaviors, self acceptance,
and coping with stress and life’s challenges.
- Ability to give and receive love.
- Ability to understand and express feelings/emotions.
Promotes the use of one’s mind to create a greater
understanding and appreciation of one’s self and others. It
involves one’s ability to think creatively and rationally. This
dimension encourages an individual to expand his/her knowledge
and skills-base through a variety of resources and activities.
- Developing and expressing creativity.
- Processing information effectively.
Promotes participation in personal safety and activities for
cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, balance and
flexibility. This multi-faceted dimension is relative to each
person’s abilities and disabilities. It promotes healthy
lifestyle habits and discourages negative and excessive
- Physical activity and fitness.
- Immune system function.
- Body composition.
Promotes creating and maintaining healthy relationships. It
enhances interdependence with others and nature, and encourages
the pursuit of harmony and feelings of connectedness.
- Quality and quantity of relationships.
- Fostering a social network through personal
Promotes seeking meaning and purpose in human existence. It
involves developing a strong sense of personal values and
ethics. This dimension emphasizes the development of an
appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural
forces that exist in the universe.
- Feeling connected to someone or something beyond
Promotes the process of determining and achieving positive
personal and occupational goals and interests. This dimension is
linked to discovering an individual’s “calling” in life, and
encourages one to be a good giver and receiver of life’s gifts.
- Feeling good about one’s contributions to the world.
Defining Your Whole-Person Wellness Journey
Now that you understand whole-person wellness and the six
dimensions of wellness, we encourage you to complete several
activities to help you achieve whole-person wellness.
Activity 1: Wellness Wheel
This activity assesses the wellness dimensions in which you
have strengths and the dimensions that will benefit from your
attention. Once you have completed the activity, evaluate what
factors have led to your areas of strength. Is that where you
are spending more time? Do you enjoy that area the most? Does
your health cause you to focus on that area more? Now consider
how you can capitalize on those strengths to improve in the
wellness dimension(s) that you feel you are not performing as
Follow the steps below to complete the Wellness Wheel
Activity. Consider re-assessing your Wellness Wheel at least one
each year to see if you have made changes affecting any of your
Choose a personal wellness concept to focus on and write it
in the center of the Wellness Wheel.
Personal Wellness Concepts Examples: Choices, Optimism, Being
in the Moment, Self-Efficacy, Happy, Self-Responsibility, Learn
Rate your level of wellness in each dimension by placing a
mark on the line corresponding to each dimension of wellness:
1 – Not So Well
2 – Kind of Well
3 – Well
4 – Very Well
5 – Unbelievably Well
Connect your marks and see if your Wellness Wheel will roll.
Activity 2: Goal Setting
Setting and working towards accomplishing goals is an
important part of achieving success with your whole-person
wellness. Each semester we encourage you to define new or update
existing goals for each of the six dimensions of wellness –
emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and
Goal setting can be a challenging process, but the rewards of
accomplishing your goals can be tremendous. The best-known
method to achieve success with your goals is to define
S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. is a tool to help you remember and
perform effective goal setting.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
S = specific – can you define who, what, when, where and why
of the goal?
M = measurable – can you define how much, how many, how
frequent so you can measure your progress toward achieving the
A = attainable – is the goal one you have the means,
attitude, and skills to accomplish
R = realistic – is the goal reasonable for you to tackle at
this time; do you believe you can accomplish it in the
time-frame you’ve defined?
T = time-bounded – what is the time-frame when you expect to
accomplish the goal? This links back to the goal being
measurable, attainable and realistic.
Let’s look at several examples of turning a goal into a
Example 1: I want to exercise more.
Making that goal S.M.A.R.T. could be: For the next 90 days, I
will walk at a brisk pace (get my heart-rate elevated) for 20
minutes following dinner Monday-Friday. (After 90 days, increase
the goal to include 30 minutes of walking.)
Example 2: I will lose weight.
Making that goal S.M.A.R.T. could be: Every day I will eat
1-2 vegetable servings (~1/2 cup) at lunch and a serving/piece
of fresh fruit with breakfast and lunch.
Example 3: I will reduce my stress.
Making that goal S.M.A.R.T. could be: On Monday, Wednesday
and Friday, I will take 5 minutes in the morning to practice
meditation (or deep-breathing, yoga, read calming passages,
Incorporate the phrase “I will” into your goals to make the
statements more affirmative and to help you be accountable.
Goals do not have to be large and burdensome. But goals
should cause you to stretch a bit, and do something different
than what you have already been doing. The sense of
accomplishment and the reward of a rich and fulfilling life is
worth the effort!
Now that you know how to develop S.M.A.R.T. goals, it’s time
to document your goals for the next 6 months.
Download and print the whole-person wellness goal setting
contract by clicking here. For ideas of goals and examples
of how to write S.M.A.R.T. goals, review the goals setting
examples document by
We hope you will enjoy the journey of defining and
accomplishing your goals. We wish you success and encourage you
to ask us for assistance if you are struggling with defining or
accomplishing your goals.