The 7 Dimensions of Wellness
The 7 Dimensions Of Wellness
There is so much going on these days in everyday life that it is really hard to find true peace of mind and optimal wellness. We are all juggling various responsibilities, demands, priorities, errands, family, friends, work and the list goes on. It seems next to impossible to be able to balance all these aspects of one’s life and yet still make time to work on yourself.
According to the World Health Organization, wellness is a state of “complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The word 'wellness' tends to pop up everywhere nowadays, but what does it really mean to you? People often think about wellness in terms of physical health - nutrition, exercise, energy etc. But, in reality it is way more than that. It is the integration of physical, mental and spiritual well being. Wellness matters because everything we act on and every emotion we feel plays a role in our well-being.
The 3rd weekend of September is World Wellness Weekend (September 21 - September 22). This is a global event with local activities and is being celebrated for the third time, yet! 2000+ spas, salons, yoga studios and fitness clubs in 100 countries open their doors and invite you to boost your vitality, serenity and beauty. This initiative encourages you to take quality “me time” in your busy 24 hour day to pay attention to your personal well being.
In order to fully participate in World Wellness Weekend, it is important to really understand and resonate with the 7 dimensions of wellness.
Dimension #1: Physical
This dimension of wellness is the most sought after and well known. It means recognizing your body’s need for proper nutrition, physical activity and optimal sleep so the body can stay healthy now and in the future. Being physically fit and healthy can lead to the psychological benefits of improved self-esteem, self-worth and self-control.
Tips for physical wellness:
Sleep 8 hours a night - Lack of sleep is damaging to both the body and brain. Work to improve your sleep quality through disconnecting your electronic devices 1 hour before bed. Scrolling through social media news feed before bed makes it harder for the brain to shut off and lowers melatonin. Instead come up with a bedtime routine that is calming like, taking a shower with some essential oils in the background.
Dimension #2: Emotional
The emotional dimension of wellness involves understanding your feelings, accepting other people’s feelings all while managing your own thoughts and emotions. It involves the ability to recognize, process and express your feelings. This allows you to address and process the way you feel so you can grow as a person. Being in tune with emotions can help to manage them. Lack of emotional expression or suppression can lead to long term stress, anxiety and insomnia. Often times, this is the dimension of wellness that is the least practiced. People tend to hold in their feelings and emotions because of what people will think of them. Withholding emotions and feelings only results in stress and anxiety with the possibility of long term emotional harm to one’s self.
Tips for emotional wellness:
Gratitude - There is a big connection between positive emotions and gratitude. Research shows that gratitude is beneficial for people’s life satisfaction and emotional well being. People who are grateful tend to be more happy. Focus on what you have and not on what you don’t have. Try keeping a gratitude journal and writing 3 things that you are grateful for every night before bed.
Dimension #3: Spiritual
This dimension of wellness encompasses a level of hope, faith and provides a sense of meaning to your life. Spiritual does not equal religious. Being a spiritual person means being more grateful, forgiving and working to be a kind person over all. Spirituality involves allowing time away from the material world to stay grounded and centered. Whether this is achieved through religious practices or simply meditating is completely up to you! Live your life consistent with your values and belief system while listening to your heart.
Tips for spiritual wellness:
Spend some time alone before bed. Try a breathing meditation, 4-7-8 method. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds; hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Do this 3x before bed. This breathing method helps slow your heart rate and activates a sense of calming internally and most importantly, allows you to be present in the moment.
Dimension #4: Intellectual
Intellectual wellness involves lifelong learning. It encourages creativity and mentally stimulating activities. It is about always expanding one’s knowledge base in the pursuit of lifelong learning and working to improve your skills. Life expectancy all over the world has risen. However, as you age the risk of cognitive decline increases, so the mind needs to be exercised just as the body is.
Tips for intellectual wellness:
Engage in cultural activities as often as you can. Whether it is making a conscious effort to visit museums or concerts or spending 30 mins a day to solve crossword puzzles or reading a book every month to learn something new!
Dimension #5: Environmental
Environmental wellness involves being aware of how your daily actions can impact the physical environment around you. It is important to care for the world we live in and protect our resources. This involves recycling where possible, minimizing water wastage, biking or walking instead of driving.
Tips for environmental wellness:
Eliminate plastic where possible. Start with tupperwares. Revamp your kitchen by throwing away 1 plastic container a week and replacing it with a glass container!
Dimension #6: Occupational
The occupational dimension of wellness is how satisfied you are in our professional life. How suitable are your interests, values and skills to your jobs and how fulfilled are you in your professions. With the amount of time that is spent doing your job, it is important that you enjoy it and are fulfilled by the career path you chose. Focus on what you like about your career and having a positive attitude at work.
Tips for occupational wellness:
If you are feeling bored or are not enjoying your current work position, attempt to look for new positions in your company to learn new skills that may be more challenging and keep you more focused. Another option would be to find a volunteer position to engage it after work hours to expand your knowledge and skill set.
Dimension #7: Social
The social dimension of wellness involves maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends and co-workers. It is a well known fact that people who have more meaningful relationships are healthier, happier and tend to live longer. As important as finances and having a successful career are, building long lasting relationships is just as important. We live in a society where it has become very easy and convenient to hide behind a computer screen. It is important to nourish existing relationships and make new friends. Stay connected to those around you and participate in social activities.
Tips for social wellness:
Take the time to strengthen current friendships. Allocate a couple days a month that are meant to contact a family member or friend and plan an outing!
As you can see, there are many dimensions to the word “wellness”. Wellness is a dynamic process that involves life-long learning. It takes work and discipline to fully live and breathe by all aspects of wellness. Each dimension is its own entity and needs attention and care.
Make use of world wellness weekend and learn more about every dimension of wellness. Set personal goals to master each one. Make sure to look up local events in your neighbourhood and lets all spend some time this weekend practicing in all 7 dimensions of wellness.
** Disclaimer: The advice is in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.