Wellness (or well-being) is more than just a feeling. Wellness is the overall experience of health, happiness and prosperity. Wellness involves proactively practicing and maintaining healthy life habits on a daily basis. Wellness is associated with an active process of being aware and making choices that lead toward an outcome of optimal holistic health and wellbeing. It requires conscious effort and control and it requires self-discipline and commitment. Wellness falls across seven broad dimensions.
Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviours including adequate exercise, proper nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. It involves attending regular medical and dental check-ups. It involves engaging in safe behaviours to prevent or minimise risk of injury or illness. Developing healthy physical habits will enhance your quality of life and movement in your later years.
Being emotionally well ultimately depends on all of the other six dimensions and it is typically defined as possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger without fear of reprisal and without feeling shame. It means learning to love and accept yourself and others. It means achieving a sense of fulfilment in life. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings openly and honestly. Emotional wellness is also about caring for your emotional boundaries so that you do not become enmeshed with others.
The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. When our minds don’t receive enough healthy stimulation, it finds ways of twisting itself inside out until you find yourself deep down the proverbial rabbit hole. If our minds are not challenged and exercised they become lethargic much like our bodies do when they are not challenged and exercised. An intellectually well person will actively seek out intellectual stimulation whether it be through books, movies or talking to people. An intellectually well person can fend off cognitive declines in later years.
Humans are by nature very social creatures. We require at least some sort of social connection in order to survive. Social wellness refers to our ability to interact successfully within interpersonal relationships. It involves seeking healthy and respectful relationships with others. Social wellness is about us learning healthy and assertive communication. It also involves us giving support to others whilst having the courage to ask for support when we require it. Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself and contributing to your community and to the world at large.
Religious and spiritual wellness involves having a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one's life. It is our moral compass. It entails having a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs which provides you with a sense of meaning and purpose. It is a willingness to seek meaning and purpose in life and to question everything and to appreciate the things which cannot be readily explained or understood. A religious and spiritually well person is fully present in life and they allow those around them the freedom and the ability to express themselves authentically and without judgment.
Environmental wellness is about being conscious of our environmental impact. It is about being mindful of unnecessary waste. It involves taking social responsibility and disengaging from activities which unduly harm the environment. Environmental wellness is about not littering to polluting and engaging in recycling or reusing of products. It is about supporting green business and organisations. It is asking employers, businesses and companies to engage in email communication and online training to reduce paper and ink toner waste.
Occupational/Vocational wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. It is about your attitude towards work and contributing as productively as possible despite any perceived displeasure. Occupational and vocational wellness involves creating a stable work/study life balance and avoiding burnout. Occupational wellness contributes towards financial wellness which allows for more freedom and security in other aspects of life.