Dimensions of Wellness
Health is a state of complete well being and not just the absence of
disease or infirmity. (World Health Organization, 1948)
The most commonly described sub-dimensions of wellness include:
physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, career (occupational),
financial, emotional, and family well-being.
The physical dimension of wellness encourages cardiovascular health, flexibility and
strength and also encourages regular, physical activity. Physical development
encourages knowledge about food and nutrition and discourages the use of tobacco,
drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. Physical Wellness encourages
consumption and activities which contribute to high level wellness, including medical
self-care and appropriate use of the medical system.
It’s better to consume foods and beverages that enhance good health rather
than those which impair it.
It’s important to maintain a good level of physical fitness for total wellness.
The intellectual dimension of wellness encourages creative, stimulating mental
activities. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one's
knowledge in improved skills along with expanding potential for sharing with others. An
intellectually well person uses the intellectual and cultural activities in the classroom
and beyond the classroom combined with the human resources and learning resources
available within the university community and the larger community.
It’s better to stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative
pursuits than to become self-satisfied and unproductive.
It’s better to identify potential problems and choose appropriate courses of action
based on available information than to wait, worry and contend with major
The spiritual dimension of wellness involves seeking meaning and purpose in human
existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and
expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe.
You'll know you're becoming spiritually well when your actions become more consistent
with your beliefs and values. On this excursion, you'll continually think about and
integrate your experiences and beliefs with the experiences and beliefs of those
around you. With this valuable spiritual wellness information, you'll be able to engage
in the formulation of your world view, and your system of values and goals.
It’s better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of others
than to close our minds and become intolerant.
It’s better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs
than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.
The social dimension of wellness encourages contributing to one's human and physical
environment to the common welfare of one's community. Social wellness is having
positive interactions with and enjoying being with others. It is having comfort and ease
during work and leisure situations and communicating feelings and needs to others. It
involves developing and building relationships, practicing empathy and effective
listening, caring for others and for the common good, and allowing others to care for
you. It is recognizing the need for leisure and recreation and budgeting time for those
It’s better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think
only of ourselves.
It’s better to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in
conflict with them.
The occupational dimension of wellness is involved in preparing for work in which one
will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in one's life through work.
Occupational development is related to one's attitude about one's work. Traveling a
path toward your occupational wellness, you'll contribute your unique gifts, skills and
talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding.
It’s better to choose a career which is consistent with our personal values,
interests, and beliefs than to select one that is unrewarding to us.
It’s better to develop functional, transferable skills through structured involvement
opportunities than to remain inactive and uninvolved.
Financial wellness is having an understanding of your financial situation and taking
care of it in such a way that you are prepared for financial changes. Maintaining that
balance consists of being comfortable with where your money comes from and where it
The emotional dimension of wellness emphasizes an awareness and acceptance of
one's feelings. Emotional wellness includes the degree to which one feels positive and
enthusiastic about oneself and life. It includes the capacity to manage one's feelings
and related behaviors including the realistic assessment of one's limitations,
development of autonomy, and ability to cope effectively with stress. The emotionally
well person maintains satisfying relationships with others.
It’s better to be aware of and accept our feelings than to deny them.
It’s better to be optimistic in our approach to life than pessimistic.
Family wellness or well-being involves maintaining balance with family life and other
obligations such as work, social activities, etc. Family wellness is achieved through
time management (e.g. planning for your needs/family needs ahead of time) and by
making time for meaningful interaction and relationships with family members.
**These materials were adapted from Infinite Wellness Solutions’ Definition of Wellness.