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We hear the word all the time, wellness. It’s used in several areas of everyday life from mental health to fitness and even to sustainability. The concept is more complex than most people realize, though, and it sometimes leaves them asking, “What is wellness?”

A man finding spiritual wellness in the evening

Although it’s often confused for simply being without illness or injury, it is actually influenced by virtually every aspect of our daily lives. In fact, there are 8 dimensions of wellness that serve as guidelines for living a content, fulfilling life.

Here’s everything you need to know about wellness and its 8 dimensions!

The 8 Dimensions

Wellness isn’t just eating well and exercising regularly; it’s much more than that. At its core, it is an ongoing process and a continuous journey toward realizing our full potential and finding fulfillment in life.

In particular, wellness focuses on 8 areas — or dimensions — where people can improve and be satisfied with their lives.

Physical

Physical wellness what most people will think of when faced with the question: “What is wellness?” It concentrates on cultivating a healthy body through proper diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.

This dimension also includes seeking medical care when you need it. If you’re feeling sick, for example, and not just “toughing it out.”

Emotional

Emotional wellness relates to understanding emotions and feelings as well as responding to them appropriately. Self-care will allow you to manage feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety. Self-reflection will show you how to learn from those stressful experiences,

Intellectual

This dimension has to do with constantly learning new things. Similar to the Japanese business principle kaizen — a philosophy of continuous improvement — this dimension encourages keeping an open mind.

With an open mind, you can continue to learn and grow throughout your entire life.

Social

This dimension of wellness focuses particularly on interaction with others. Being socially well allows you to build strong, rewarding relationships with others. This relates to growing friendships as well as blossoming romances.

A group of friends looking out into the distance

Spiritual

Spiritual wellness allows you to establish a set of values and morals by which you live your life. It involves understanding your support system and knowing how to handle any dilemmas that may arise.

Alth0ugh the word has religious connotations, this dimension is not reliant on religious beliefs. While religion is an effective way to incorporate spirituality, mindfulness and relaxation techniques are very effective too.

Occupational

This dimension of wellness concentrates on your feelings about your work. It involves having a sense of purpose in your occupation and genuinely enjoying what you do. Occupational wellness promotes gratification and fulfillment that come from the work you do.

Financial

Money may not buy happiness, but it impacts our everyday lives in a variety of ways from the food we eat to how stressed we are. Financial wellness focuses on financial literacy and being able to competently manage expenses.

Having a strong foundational knowledge of how to manage money is crucial in minimizing the fear and anxiety associated with finances.

Environmental

Environmental wellness focuses on living in harmony with the world around us. It inspires us to be mindful of our surroundings and treat the environment with compassion and respect.

It encourages protecting the environment as well as connecting with nature and your own personal environment. This dimension can be easily strengthened by becoming more aware of how humans impact the environment.

What Is Wellness in Your Life?

Wellness is not the same for everyone. In fact, everyone’s journey will be different and unique to them. However, its 8 dimensions serve as a set of guidelines to lead you in the right direction.

By becoming physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, financially, occupationally, intellectually, and environmentally well you’ll be setting yourself up to live a fulfilling life.

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