8 Dimensions of Wellness for New Year Intentions and Beyond
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It’s a new calendar year, the typical time to contemplate fresh beginnings.
For 2022, the top 5 resolutions in the U.S. were:
1. Exercise more, 2. Eat healthier, 3. Lose weight, 4. Spend more time with family and friends, and 5. Live more economically.
Achieving any of these goals may contribute to health and happiness. But there’s more to consider to truly flourish. For a balanced approach, I like to refer to the 8 dimensions of wellness.
Exercising more and eating healthier falls under the physical dimension of wellness. Eating high-quality foods is a way to optimize health now and in the future. It also includes routine medical exams, adequate sleep and minimizing risky behaviors like using too much alcohol, drugs or tobacco.
Spending more time with family and friends is part of social wellness. This type of wellness focuses on taking an active role in improving your community and in developing meaningful relationships. Supporting your neighbor by purchasing locally produced food and beverages falls under social wellness.
Living more economically is part of financial wellness. It includes your relationship with money and developing skills to manage resources to live within your means. Having an emergency fund, short and long-term financial goals is part of this type of wellness. The way you spend your food dollars has a tremendous impact on overall wellness.
Emotional wellness includes understanding and respecting your feelings, values, and attitudes and appreciating the feelings of others. You feel positive and enthusiastic about your life. Incorporating healthy ways to cope with stressors, like enjoying outdoor activities, participating in creative endeavors or practicing yoga is part of emotional wellness.
Intellectual wellness encourages participating in mentally stimulating and creative activities. It is the ability to think critically, make responsible decisions, and explore new ideas and different points of view. It also emphasizes lifelong learning and inspires curiosity. Being well-nourished increases your capacity to learn and assimilate complex information.
Vocational wellness involves finding work that provides personal satisfaction that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle.
Environmental wellness includes understanding how built and natural environments affect your health and well-being. For example, de-cluttering your home can boost your mood and sharpen your focus. Purchasing locally and eating less highly packaged and processed food is healthier for your natural environment.
Spiritual wellness involves seeking and having a meaning and purpose in life, as well as participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values. A spiritually well person seeks harmony with the universe, expresses compassion towards others, and practices gratitude and self-reflection. For many people, choosing foods that respect the body is an integral part of spiritual health.
If you feel unfulfilled or lacking in wellness, it could be because one of these areas is out of balance. A significant first step is to consider each of these dimensions in your own life and examine how satisfied you are. If you find an area causing stress or grief, spend time thinking about what you’re already doing to address the concern and if it’s helping. If not, brainstorm other solutions. Talking with a trusted friend or professional in the area of concern could help you to identify practical next steps.