Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Emotional Dimension

Exhibit an awareness and acceptance of one's feelings. Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the Emotional Dimension of Wellness are openness to new ideas, capacity to question, ability to think critically, motivation to master new skills, sense of humor, creativity, curiosity, lifelong learning.

Environmental Dimension

Respect those living in your environment as well as the physical environment itself. Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the Environmental Dimension of Wellness are having abundant, clean natural resources, maintaining sustainable development, recycling whenever possible, reducing pollution and waste.

Intellectual Dimension

Engage in creative, stimulating mental activities.

Occupational Dimension

Preparing for work in which one will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in one's life through work.

Physical Dimension

Encourage regular physical activity, good nutrition and medical self-care. Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the Physical Dimension of Wellness are eating well, exercising, and avoiding harmful habits, practicing safe sex, recognizing symptoms of disease, regular checkups, avoiding injuries.

Social Dimension

Contribute to the common welfare of one's community through an emphasis on the interdependence with others. Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the Social Dimension of Wellness are communication skills, capacity for intimacy, ability to establish and maintain satisfying relationships, ability to cultivate support system of friends and family.

Spiritual Dimension

Seek meaning and purpose in human existence by developing an appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. Examples of qualities and behaviors associated with the Spiritual Dimension of Wellness are the capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness, altruism, joy, fulfillment, caring for others, sense of meaning and purpose, sense of belonging to something greater than oneself.

Other Resources

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.

Fit and Well, Core Concepts and Labs in Physical Fitness and Wellness by Thomas D. Fahey, Paul M. Insel, and Walton T. Roth