The Dimensions of Wellness with Mental Health
More commonly, the six dimensions to wellness are occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. Each dimension has a purpose is person’s life as creating a full and balanced lifestyle.
It is important to recognize that the six dimensions of wellness are interconnected and affect one another as the individual navigates through changes in each and/or all of the domains. The dimensions of wellness are based on the ‘whole person’ and on the individual person’s multiple dimensions of human functioning.
The occupational domain recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in an individual’s life through their profession. Contributing to professional growth and development can contribute to a meaningful and rewarding experience. Recognizing opportunities that enhance a person’s skills will provide satisfaction and worth in one’s own work. The key concept of occupational/vocational wellness is: feeling good about one’s contributions to the world.
The physical domain identifies the need for the human body to move and have physical activity. Physical development promotes learning about nutrition and diet to assist in avoiding unhealthy substances. In learning how your body responds to different foods to assist in overall physical functioning, a person is able to determine healthy choices that may have an increased positive effect on general health and physical wellbeing. The key aspects of physical wellness are: physical activity and fitness; immune system function; and body composition.
The social domain has many layers between peers, family, community and environment. Social interactions emphasize the interdependence between others and nature. It is important to acknowledge society while also multiple environmental settings that individual engages in throughout one’s daily life. Socialization assists in developing personal relationships and important friendships that assist a person in navigating throughout one’s life. Communicating feelings and expression oneself is a way to develop relationships with individuals who may have the same beliefs, values, and sense of community which creates commonalities to enjoy together. The key aspects of social wellness are: quality and quantity of relationships; and foster social relationships.
Spirituality is different from person to person and should be acknowledged. The spiritual domain recognizes the individual’s search for meaning and purpose in one’s own life. Spirituality attempts to bridge peaceful harmony between internal feelings and emotions and the feelings of doubt or disappointment to respond within a person’s beliefs and values. Through exploring one’s own spirituality while being open to different cultures and beliefs may create a greater understanding of individual beliefs. The key aspects of spiritual wellness are: feeling connected to someone or something beyond ourselves.
The emotional dimension identifies the importance to become aware and accept personal feelings and how one may respond to situations. This may also be in reflection to a person’s own actions and how they may experience both positive or negative events. It is important to remain positive and looking to the future of what changes can be made. Being aware of one’s own feelings and responses assists in taking responsibility for self-fulfillment. Key assets to emotional wellness are: ability to give and receive love; ability to understand and expresses emotions and feelings.
It is important to explore how these six dimensions interact with one another as if we are off balance in one domain, the other dimensions may be affected which may lead to distress. We first need to explore our strengths in each of the six dimensions to determine if we have some room for growth for better balance and wellness.
A strategy that is used in attempting to achieve wellness and balance is the practice of SMART goals.
S – Specific to what the goal is
M – Measurable to what progress you are making
A – Attainable to the ability to achieve
R – Realist to what you think you can accomplish
T – Time frame to when you may be able to conquer goal
Goals are made to push our-self out of our comfort zone as we strive towards making changes we desire. Change does not always have to happen immediately. It is good to have a timeline with small milestones while working towards end result.
Applying wellness through the six dimensions allows individuals to interconnect each dimension to healthy living. How a person contributes to their environment and community to build a better living space through different networks. The enrichment of life through different life domains such as work and interconnections through living and playing allows us to develop belief systems and values. Through physical activity, we developed healthy eating habits, strength and self-care. We also need to be creative and stimulate our thoughts to keep active with new interests that bring enjoyment to ourselves.
Here are some suggestions to increase overall wellness and highlight the six dimensions of wellness and support growth…
- To enhance social dimension develop friendships, communicate your feelings, and contribute time and energy to the community around you.
- To enhance occupational growth, find satisfaction and worth in your work, recognize opportunities that lead you to new skills and pursue completing personal goals and values.
- To continue spiritual growth, be open to different cultures and religions, participate in activities that protect the environment, and spend time alone to have self-reflection.
- Psychical growth can be developed through regular exercise, eating healthier and avoiding the use of tobacco, alcohol or other substances.
- Intellectual stimulation is developed through learning and various experiences such as reading, writing, and exploration of new interests.
- Emotional wellness is achieved through keeping a positive attitude, being sensitive to feelings and the feelings of others, and being responsible for your own actions.
Center for Successful Aging. (2013). About the Whole – Person Wellness. California State University, Fullerton, CA. Retrieved from: http://hhd.fullerton.edu/csa/wholeperson.about.htm
Live Well Be Well. (2013). Six Dimensions of Wellness. Kaiser Permanente Health. Retrieved from: www. kp.org/thrive
National Wellness Institute. (2013). The Six Dimensions of Wellness . Retrieved from: http://www.nationalwellness.org/?pahe=six_dimensions.
Dimensions of Wellness. (2013). University of Redlands: Redlands, CA. Retrieved from: http://www.redlands.edu/academics /11761.aspx