Achieving the Eight Dimensions of Wellness

I want to talk about the “Eight Dimensions of Wellness.” This theory suggests there are eight different areas where people need to be balanced and healthy in order to have complete wellness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These eight areas are:

  1. Emotional

  2. Environmental

  3. Financial

  4. Intellectual

  5. Occupational

  6. Physical

  7. Social

  8. Spiritual

Too often we focus on one thing such as weight loss or finding a job we like or having enough money to meet our basic needs, but in actuality it can take fulfillment in all eight areas to ultimately contribute to our physical and mental well-being. I believe that we need to address and find our own balance or harmony between our body, mind, and spirit to be well (wellness goes beyond absence of disease). Our individual balance changes through the life stages.

Here are seven tips to help people achieve success in the eight dimensions of wellness:

  • Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.

  • Weed out things and relationships that do not support you.

  • Have what you want AND want what you have.

  • Practice gratitude. Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a great tool.

  • Care for your body: Eat well, preferably a whole foods, plant based diet. Also, sleep well, and get daily exercise.

  • Know your values, and live them.

  • Find activities that give you a sense of purpose and connectedness.

A good way to use the wellness model is to draw a large circle, make a Wellness Pie. Now divide that circle into equal slices—each slice is one aspect of wellness. From one to 10, write on the pie chart if you are feeling like you are meeting your needs in that area. For example, for physical wellness, are you exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest?

If there are any slices of the wellness ‘pie’ that you are below a seven on, write down ways you can improve. For example, for physical wellness, try going to bed before 11 p.m. Perhaps you need to power off those electronics earlier in the night and set up your bedroom for optimum sleep. Work in an extra serving of vegetables to your daily diet.

The Eight Dimensions serve as a reminder that we are ‘whole’ human beings and need to treat the whole versus one part and neglect the other part. Here are some tips on how to master each of the eight areas of wellness:

  1. Emotional: These are the areas that require a person to have healthy relationship skills. The first part is to have a healthy relationship with yourself, and then you are creating the foundation to having healthy relationships with others. Focus on gratitude and the positives in your life. Look for opportunities and silver linings in all situations. Start a daily gratitude journal to help you focus on the positives.

  2. Don’t complain or vent—it quickly turns into rumination. Research shows rumination inhibits problem-solving and can lead or sustain depression.

  3. Intentionally add positives. These can be simple things such as indulging in a latte, watching the sunset, playing with a pet, or making room in your schedule for some alone time. Simply incorporating positives (even without the benefit of eliminating negative stressors) increases well-being.

  4. Environmental: There is an old saying “you are who you hang around with,” and that includes your environment. Healthy-minded individuals seek healthy-minded environments.

  5. Financial: Taking care of responsibilities creates self-esteem and competence. Taking care of business breaks through the fear that your finances are in control. Go step by step, but address finances, or they will continue to trip you up and control you. It is actually fun to take care of your responsibilities once you see the positive effects of less stress.

  6. Intellectual: Remember your brain is like a muscle and deserves to be exercised, strengthened, and nurtured with healthy plant based nutrition.

  7. Occupational: Try and find out what you really love to do; ask yourself what you could do if you had no limitations. If you can identify what you really enjoy doing and could get paid for it, there is a strong likelihood that it is not too far from your reach, but you will have to work for it. The irony is that it won’t feel like work. There are quizzes you can take online to see what types of careers you may thrive in.

  8. Physical: This is so important for managing stress and to have the ability to maintain what you have accomplished and have the energy to pursue a life worth living. Take care of your body, but don’t obsess over it. Think of it as a tool to do what you need to do, to get you where you need to go.

  9. Social: We are social beings and seek the connection with people; all people seek this in order to feel a part of a bigger picture. Attending to relationships is important. The goal is to attend to those relationships that are healthy versus destructive. End hopeless and toxic relationships.

  10. Spiritual; This is the key to everything. If you have some kind of spiritual path that YOU are comfortable with, that is the best way to overcome the obstacles that life can deliver. You will see them as challenges versus limitations if you have a spiritual path to follow.

I hope you will look at your pie and fill in the pieces that are missing. YOU are worth an amazing life. Truly.

Justine Divett