Wellness @ SU
Holloway Hall

Wellness Wheel

There are six dimensions of wellness. They are:

1. Physical
2. Emotional
3. Intellectual
4. Social
5. Spiritual
6. Environmental

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 others.
  • Intellectual: Openness to new ideas, capacity to question, ability to think critically, motivation to master new skills, sense of humor, creativity, curiosity, lifelong learning.
  • 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 than oneself.
  • 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 wellness:

  • 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 family history.