Beyond Physical and Emotional Health: Recognising Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Traditionally, well-being has been indicated by two approaches, physical and emotional. However, many other vital aspects of human life must be considered when talking about holistic well-being. There has been an increasing awareness of various vital dimensions of well-being in more recent times. It is essential to recognise wellness as a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Wellness encompasses seven mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, financial, environmental, social, and occupational. This approach to wellness necessitates self stewardship and accountability for our well-being and for those we care about. Because of its flexible, subjective nature, it is a pathway to optimal human living.

By addressing these seven dimensions of wellness in our lives, we build a holistic sense of wellness that speaks to individual and community fulfillment.

1. Physical wellness

Physical wellness is about awareness of our bodily functions and actively adopting practices that encourage optimal growth, development, and maintenance of our body.

Developing healthy eating habits, optimum movement, resting, and medical and non-medical self-care are indispensable elements of holistic physical wellness. It also includes identifying disease symptoms and getting preventive tests done. Using seat belts, helmets, and other protective equipment during various activities throughout our life is also an essential element of maintaining physical wellness.

2. Emotional wellness

Emotional wellness is a dynamic state that makes us aware of our feelings. Being emotionally well means possessing and exercising the ability to recognise and express a full range of human emotions such as happiness, sadness, guilt, or anger. Acknowledging one’s limitations, taking accountability, developing autonomy, and effectively coping with stress, disappointment and anger are some of the signs of emotional wellness. A person who emotionally well has the ability to love and be loved and achieves a sense of fulfillment in meaningful relationships.

3. Occupational wellness

Every person is blessed with unique skills, gifts, passions and talents. Our ability to contribute to the existing world by using our gifts and talents is termed occupational or vocational wellness. Achieving optimal occupational wellness helps us gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in our life.

4. Social wellness

Social wellness is achieved by developing effective communication skills that equip us to interact successfully within a community and do justice to our roles. Learning good communication skills, cultivating a support network, and contributing to the well-being of the community build a sense of belonging.

5. Intellectual wellness

Intellectual wellness is characterised by one’s ability to recognize their creative abilities and explore new ways to expand existing knowledge and skills. It refers to one’s desire to increase understanding, be open to new ideas, the capacity to question, think critically, and continually challenge yourself. An intellectually sound person values creativity, curiosity, and lifelong learning.

6. Spiritual wellness

Possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, and values that helps give meaning and purpose to human existence is termed spiritual wellness. It encompasses the capacity to love, have faith, hope, and willingness to seek meaning and purpose in life. A spiritually healthy person respects a worldview different from theirs and appreciates human existence in its full glory.

7. Cultural wellness

Cultural wellness means understanding, respecting, and supporting cultural diversity in one’s community. It refers to how one interacts with people of different backgrounds, lifestyles, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and ages.

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