The Path to Wellness

Wellness is an attitude of empowerment in which there is an ongoing movement toward optimal well being of mind, body, spirit, and environment and an ongoing movement toward one’s full potential. Wellness involves the holistic integration of different aspects of well being. There are 7 major dimensions of wellness: Emotional, Physical, Social, Spiritual, Intellectual, Environmental, and Occupational.

Emotional wellness involves learning to manage stress effectively and being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Physical Wellness emphasizes developing body awareness, eating healthy foods, developing personal responsibility for your own health care, nurturing and caring for your physical being, and engaging in physical activity.

Social Wellness involves contributing to the common welfare of community. It includes creating meaningful relationships, utilizing healthy communication skills, maintaining respect toward self and others, and creating a support system.

Spiritual Wellness encourages discovering a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. It involves learning to balance your inner needs with your way of being in the world.

Intellectual Wellness encourages engaging in stimulating creative and mental activities, developing knowledge and skills, and discovering your potential for sharing your gifts with others.

Environmental Wellness encourages living in harmony with the Earth by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and the environment. It involves developing an understanding that well people cannot exist without a healthy environment and vice versa. It includes taking action to protect, nurture, and regenerate the environment.

Occupational Wellness emphasizes engaging in work that is personally meaningful and consistent with your passion, values, and life purpose. It involves learning to balance work and leisure time.

Wellness, therefore, is a continual striving to live a meaningful life and reach for one’s full potential. In this conceptualization of wellness, one can live with illness and still move toward one’s own optimal level of wellness.

Not living one’s full potential can lead to increased stress, anxiety, internal conflict, and feelings of hopelessness. Learning to embrace wellness is a process that begins with becoming more conscious of the things that we do, say, think, feel, and believe that are holding us back and keeping us stuck. Once we become consciously aware of what is keeping us stuck, we can learn more effective skills for coping with stress and for responding to challenging thoughts, feelings, and situations. Then we can begin to make healthier choices that are consistent with our desire for wellness and wholeness.

You can perform a quick assessment of your overall wellness by rating your current level of wellness on a scale of 1-10 in each dimension of wellness. How ready are you for change, and what step can you take today toward your optimal level of wellness?