Optimal health is not merely being free for disease or disability. It covers all aspects of your life and helps you become comfortable, healthy, and happy with your life. It’s impossible to be truly satisfied if you only focus on one aspect of your life. Slow but steady progress on the following nine dimensions of wellness will ensure success.
Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors including adequate exercise, proper nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. It means learning about and identifying symptoms of disease, getting regular medical checkups, and protecting yourself from injuries and harm. Developing such healthy habits today will not only add years to your life but will enhance the enjoyment and quality of those years.
Tips for optimal physical wellness:
- Exercise daily
- Get adequate rest
- Use seat belts, helmets, and other protective equipment
- Learn to recognize early signs of illness
- Eat a variety of healthy foods
- Control your meal portions
- Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
- Use alcohol in moderation, if at all
Emotional wellness is a dynamic state that fluctuates frequently with your other six dimensions of wellness. Being emotionally well is typically defined as possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger. It means having the ability to love and be loved and achieving a sense of fulfillment in life. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings.
Tips for optimal emotional wellness:
- Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings
- Cultivate an optimistic attitude
- Seek and provide support
- Learn time management skills
- Practice stress management techniques
- Accept and forgive yourself
The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.
Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness include:
- Take a course or workshop
- Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
- Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
- Learn to appreciate art
Social wellness refers to our ability to interact successfully in our global community and to live up to the expectations and demands of our personal roles. This means learning good communication skills, developing intimacy with others, and creating a support network of friends and family members.
Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. Contributing to your community and to the world builds a sense of belonging.
Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include:
- Cultivate healthy relationships
- Get involved
- Contribute to your community
- Share your talents and skills
- Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas
Spiritual wellness involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose. It is willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence, to question everything and to appreciate the things which cannot be readily explained or understood.
A spiritually well person seeks harmony between what lies within as well as the forces outside.
Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:
- Explore your spiritual core
- Spend time alone/meditate regularly
- Be inquisitive and curious
- Be fully present in everything you do
- Listen with your heart and live by your principles
- Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are
- See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you
Environmental wellness is an awareness of the unstable state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment.
Tips and suggestions for optimal environmental wellness:
- Stop your junk mail
- Conserve water and other resources
- Minimize chemical use
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Renew your relationship with the earth
Occupational wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. The development of occupational satisfaction and wellness is related to your attitude about your work. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment. Occupational wellness means successfully integrating a commitment to your occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding.
Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellness include:
- Explore a variety of career options
- Create a vision for your future
- Choose a career that suits your personality, interests and talents
- Be open to change and learn new skills
Creative Wellness is the ability to engage in a wide range of arts and cultural experiences. It gives you a better and fuller understanding and appreciate of the world and people around you.
Tips and suggestions for optimal creative wellness include:
- Listen to Music
- Visit an art museum or gallery
- Pick up a new book
Financial Wellness is the ability to build and manage your money. You understand the importance of budgeting, saving, and planning for the future. You know the difference between needs and wants, set goals, and can control your impulses.
Tips and suggestions for optimal financial wellness include:
- Create a budget
- Take a class or brush up on your financial literacy
- Make sure you have emergency savings
- Create multiple sources of income: Find a side hustle
- Talk to your kids about money