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The Seven Dimensions of Wellness

  July 02, 2017

Submitted by Westminster Village Resident Services Department

The achievement of wellness is an active, lifelong process. It includes becoming aware of each choice we make and committing to making purposeful decisions that help us reach a more balanced and fulfilling life. Years back, “being healthy” meant eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. We are realizing over time that overall wellness encompasses much more than diet and exercise. The International Council on Active Aging advocates the philosophy that individuals can live as fully as possible within the seven dimensions of wellness. These dimensions are physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social, spiritual, and environmental.

The seven dimensions of wellness are listed below with some suggestions on how to implement these in your daily life.

Physical wellness is more than eating a balanced diet and getting exercise. Maintaining proper weight, controlling meal portions, getting enough sleep, limiting your exposure to environmental contaminants, managing stress, and getting regular medical and dental checkups are steps to protect your physical health. Physical wellness is a continual process. Developing healthy habits today will add years to your life and enhance the quality and enjoyment of those years.

Emotional wellness
centers on the awareness, acceptance, and healthy expression of a wide range of emotions. This includes being aware of positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and expressing emotions appropriately despite disappointments and frustrations.

Reducing negative emotions, accepting and forgiving yourself, cultivating an optimistic attitude, managing stress, and maintaining the ability to bounce back from adversity are all important aspects of emotional wellness.

Engaging in creative pursuits, seeking new challenges, thinking critically, and participating in intellectually stimulating activities is a proven approach to keeping minds alert and active. These daily activities are part of intellectual wellness. Be curious, take the opportunity to learn more, and engage your mind in lively interaction with the world around you. Be an active, lifelong learner.

Work that makes use of your gifts, skills, and talents to gain purpose, satisfaction, happiness, and enrichment in your life is part of occupational wellness. Giving back to others through paid or unpaid work maintains your skills and helps others, which often gives you a feeling of satisfaction or reward. Your attitude towards work can play a role in your occupational wellness. Caregiving, volunteering, and mentoring are all examples of activities to support occupational wellness.

How we interact with others reflects our social wellness. How we enjoy meaningful relationships, respect ourselves and others, and create a support system of friends or family are all determined by our level of social wellness. Your communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal communication, contribute to healthy relationships.

Spiritual wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. We see our place in the world and have a sense of individual purpose. This can be a set of guiding principles or values that gives meaning and purpose to life. This doesn’t have to be religion but involves the capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness, and fulfillment in our lives. Ways to foster spiritual wellness include meditation, prayer, and spending time in nature. Being non-judgmental, remaining positive, forgiving others, and having an open mind are all important steps toward spiritual wellness.

Promoting harmony between one’s life and the earth is environmental wellness. Do we understand the impact of our interaction with nature and our environment? The safety of food, our water supply, infectious diseases, ultraviolet radiation, air, noise, and water pollution are important aspects of environmental wellness. What changes can we make to have a positive interaction with nature and our environment? Carpool, walk, or ride your bike to your destination, recycle, buy local, support organic farming, use canvas bags instead of plastic, and composting are just a few suggestions.

Many of the wellness dimensions overlap and work together to provide a fulfilling environment for living. You may be surprised by how many of the dimensions of wellness you already are engaged in. Challenge yourself to include activities in the areas of wellness that you hadn’t thought about before to establish overall health. Continued learning and making changes within the dimensions of wellness will enhance and enrich the quality and quantity of life.

    Westminster Village, a continuing care retirement community, is dedicated to providing an environment for all retirement lifestyles including independent living, licensed assisted living and skilled nursing care. For more information, please contact Westminster Village: 309-663-6474, [email protected] Back to Top

July 02, 2017


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