People are complicated. The human body is so intricately designed that when one part is struggling it can affect the entire system. For example, if you’re dealing with depression, that can often lead to physical symptoms like fatigue. Or if you have anxiety, it can cause gut issues or trouble sleeping.
The mind-body connection is real, but it actually goes much more beyond that. Scientists and health professionals have narrowed down 8 different dimensions of wellness. So let’s see what they are and how to optimize them for our own health goals!
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness: Work For Them, and They’ll Work For You
You’ve got physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial, occupational, and environmental facets of health. And it makes sense, right? Each one contributes to a certain aspect of your life that directly affects your wellness levels. The idea is when you can optimize these areas to work for you, your wellness as a whole increases — which makes you more likely to accomplish those health goals!
But how do you do that? Keep reading, and let’s find out together!
Physical refers to taking care of your physical body. This could look like exercising, stretching, getting a massage, eating nourishing foods, sleeping, balancing your blood sugar, and more.
But on a daily basis, it can look like moving your body, not sitting for long periods of time, and meal-prepping healthy foods. For instance, packing a lunch instead of eating out, taking a standing break every hour, and booking in a yoga class. It’s all about taking care of the physical functions of your body!
2020 taught us that humans are definitely social creatures, and loneliness is actually a very serious health problem. However, social limits look different for everyone, depending on if you’re an introvert or extrovert. Someone could need at least 8 hours of socializing a day, whereas another person can only handle 2 before exhaustion hits.
Social health also encompasses the quality of your relationships. Choosing to surround yourself with loving, kind, and compassionate people can really turn up the dial on your wellness. It’s not necessarily about the quantity of friends you have, but how well they treat you!
Emotional wellness is about learning how to manage and process your feelings. This can be especially difficult if you were raised to shove your feelings down and avoid them because it made you “weak.” But nowadays, we’re realizing the opposite is true. What you resist, persists, and often in some not so good ways, like depression and anxiety.
Okay, so how do you manage your emotions? The first step is to allow yourself to feel them in the first place. This can be scary, but over time, it will get easier. You can also get help from a therapist or start a journaling practice to work on processing them and moving forward.
Spiritual health refers to your belief system about the world or universe. Now, why is it such a big part of our health? Simply put, if we’re in a place of mistrust or chaos about the world, it can cause a lot of stress.
To optimize this area of your life, it could look like praying or meditating often and even setting boundaries with your family and friends on not demeaning your beliefs.
Mmm, surprised to see intellectualism as one of the 8 dimensions of wellness? Well, humans are curious creatures by nature, which is why we’ve learned so much about science and technology throughout our history. And yes! Satisfying these urges of creativity and learning can be so important in reducing stress and staying happy and fulfilled.
In terms of wellness, this can look like reading books, taking courses, having deep conversations, or getting a degree or certification.
Financial situations often place a huge amount of stress on our bodies and minds. Because whether we like it or not, money is how we buy food and pay rent. It’s how we survive! However, optimizing this area of your life doesn’t necessarily mean making more money.
It could simply mean improving your relationship with money. For instance, maybe you tend to online shop when you’re feeling low or always feel like enough is never enough. It might be beneficial to cut down on excess spending and step into a place of gratitude with the money you do have.
Our careers make up a massive portion of our life, so it’s important to do something you enjoy, or at the very least, do something that doesn’t send you into a place of stress/anxiety every time you step into work.
For some people, amping up your occupational health means finding a new job you love, or for others, it means doing less work and spending more time with family. Work/life balance is key!
Environmental wellness is all about making sure you’re living and working in a safe space, one that’s healthy and comfortable. This could be as simple as purchasing an air purifier or even moving to the city — because that’s where you love to be!
It could also be cleaning up your space regularly or making your house more homey with your favorite decor.
Pick a Dimension You Want to Work On & Go For It!
The beauty of these 8 dimensions of wellness? Even if you just work on one at a time, your health levels still increase because they all play a role in your overall wellness. How amazing is that? To prevent overwhelm, we recommend starting to slowly optimize one area of your life at a time. And remember, health is always an ongoing adjustment. So don’t be afraid to revisit a certain area and re-optimize it!