Wellness is more than just “health” or “self-care,” as wellness often extends beyond our physical bodies and personal emotions. Perhaps the best way to define wellness is by acknowledging it as the personal and relational connections that are essential for living an abundant life.
For a well-balanced life consider following the 7 Dimensions of Wellness as we explain them here.
When many people think of wellness, their minds turn toward physical health. Bodily health is important: We live in our bodies, after all, and it is our bodies that move us in the world that we live in.
Bodily wellness involves discipline and care. We need enough sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. We also need to work with health care professionals who can provide us with guidance on getting and remaining healthy at every stage of our lives.
Emotional wellness can sometimes be even more challenging to achieve than physical wellness. Yet working to maintain emotional balance and learning to express our feelings in a healthy and productive way are critical skills for everyone to learn.
Whether you are pursuing career goals or making the transition between full-time work to retirement, personal development is important. If you are still working, or even considering a career change, learning new skills and professional networking are essential.
This can also be a time for new creative pursuits, such as writing, fine arts, cooking or acting. Develop the talents you already have, and discover new ones, by getting involved in community clubs and classes.
At our core, we are relational beings. We need to be loved, respected, and supported by the people around us while offering the same in return. Strong personal relationships require time and effort, but the benefits that one reaps from friendships and family ties are immeasurable.
Your body requires stimulation and exercise if you want to stay healthy and in shape. Similarly, your mind also needs engagement and challenge. Reading, writing and engaging in conversation with others contribute significantly to your intellectual development.
It is also possible to slow down the mental aging process by learning new things. For example, taking up a new hobby or learning to play an instrument or speak a new language can support brain health and promote cognitive wellness.
Not everybody identifies themselves as being religious or spiritual, but many people find comfort and purpose through spiritual practices and religious community. In some cases, spiritual wellness comes from participation in a formal religious tradition while others take a more individualistic approach, engaging in meditation, mindfulness and a willingness to seek areas of personal growth.
Every person, regardless of age, is connected to the environment. Environmental wellness touches on the human needs for clean air and water, along with healthy food and safe surroundings. This area of wellness also places demands on all of us: If we are willing to take responsibility for the environment, we can live knowing that we have fulfilled some of our responsibilities to future generations.
Take a few minutes to ponder your level of wellness. If there are areas of your life in which you'd like to improve, now is a great time to make some changes. Think of what you could do, right now, that could improve your wellness in just one of these dimensions; Then take a risk and do it.