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Balance These Six Dimensions of Wellness for Your 'Whole Health'
August 12, 2015
Follow these dimensions of wellness along with corresponding action steps.
There’s more to wellness than simply “not being sick.” Today, people tend to focus on their whole-health selves more than previous generations. The real ah-ha moment comes when they learn there are at least six dimensions of wellness – and they’re all interrelated!
Take financial wellness for example. Three quarters of Gen Xers and Millennials say that money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress. That financial stress can affect their emotional wellness. But it doesn’t end there. About 40% say their financial situation also prevents them from living a healthy lifestyle.1
It’s like a domino effect. But that can be a good thing! If you’re strong in certain areas, your strengths can nurture other dimensions. And if you identify weaker areas, you can take steps to become well in those dimensions, too. It’s all about maintaining the right balance.
Reflect, re-evaluate & rebalance
Following are six key dimensions of wellness along with corresponding action steps. If you can’t complete all of the steps under each category, choose one area that you can improve on right away. As you make progress, move on to another dimension that needs your attention. Remember, it’s a domino effect!
1. Physical wellness.
There’s more to being physically well than eating right, getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Those are all important, but don’t stop there. Avoid bad habits and think “preventive.” Even if you’re young, lack of preventive care now could lead to greater health risks as you get older.
- Talk with my parents or grandparents about my family’s health history and update my medical records.
- Schedule an annual physical and ask my doctor about recommended health screenings.
- Take steps to prevent illness and injuries (e.g., always wear a seatbelt).
2. Emotional wellness.
Think about how you manage life’s ups and downs. This includes expressing – and managing – your emotions, from happiness and love to anger and sadness. Emotional wellness also means taking responsibility for your actions.
- Do at least one thing each day that’s enjoyable or fulfilling for me.
- Write down my personal values to guide me in making better choices.
- Make at least one lifestyle change to help reduce stress (e.g., exercise, get more sleep).
3. Social wellness.
When you’re “socially well,” you easily connect with other people and are sensitive to their feelings. You maintain positive relationships, have a network of support based on trust and actively contribute to society.
- Explore a new place or attend an event to learn about a different culture.
- Get to know a neighbor or coworker I haven’t met.
- Join a club, sports team or other group – just for fun and socializing.
4. Spiritual wellness.
It’s about finding common threads in our beliefs, accepting differences and celebrating what joins us. Spirituality is highly individual and can be expressed in many ways.
- Volunteer or participate in an event I’m passionate about.
- Unplug for at least 30 minutes to reflect on the day.
- Make a list of the blessings in my life and continue to add to it.
5 Career wellness.
Being able to contribute your unique skills and talents in a way that’s personally rewarding is what career wellness is all about.
- Reach out to someone in another field of interest to learn more about that career.
- Develop one new skill to help me advance on my current career path.
- Attend a networking or motivational event.
6. Financial wellness.
Many people are surprised to learn that financial wellness isn’t necessarily tied to how much they make. It really comes down to what you do with the money you earn and how confident you feel about your finances.
- Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
- Build an emergency fund that will cover at least three months of living expenses.
- Schedule an insurance checkup to find out what type and amount of coverage is right for me and my family.
Wellness is a personal journey that follows an ever-changing path. Balancing the many dimensions of wellness can help you make choices that can improve your health, happiness and quality of your life.
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1 Stress in America™: Paying With Our Health, February 2014, AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION