In my first post, I focused on my philosophy of wellness in connection to my personal well-being. Today, I hope to expand on the content of my initial post and provide a more concrete understanding of wellness by presenting an overview of the dimensions of health and wellness.
I believe the essence of wellness is an understanding that life is multidimensional, encompassing all aspects of life. Unfortunately, I believe this core concept is also one of the greatest misconceptions of health and wellness.
If you take a second to think about “health and wellness” and do a quick scan of how health is portrayed in our culture, you may see mental pictures of things like…Dieting. Working out. Running. Disease. Obesity. Diabetes. Being skinny.
You may even see a photo similar to the one above. If your mental list reads similar, don’t worry, you are not alone. It is common belief that health and wellness is singular and only connected to things like diet, exercise routines, presence or absence of disease, body weight, etc… While these things are vitally important to our well-being, they only represent a single aspect of life, our physical health. The danger of this limited belief is that by focusing only on one component, we neglect to recognize and nurture the other dimensions of life, which are equally as important. If you only take one point away from this post, I hope it is an understanding that true health and wellness recognizes, nurtures, and enhances each component of life.
So what exactly are these dimensions I keep alluding to….Well, in my classroom I teach about seven dimensions of health and wellness: physical, spiritual, social, mental, emotion, environmental, and occupational wellness (future posts, will be devoted each component). However, there is no single consensus on the dimensions of wellness. Different health organizations and specialists provide differing lists (financial health a common and extremely valid addition). Ultimately, I think the most important thing to understand is that wellness is multifaceted, encompassing body, mind, and soul and how you divide up these three components is going to vary from person to person.
Understanding that wellness is multidimensional is only half of the issue, The other half centers on recognizing the interconnected nature of wellness. By this I mean that we must also understand that each dimension powerfully impacts the others. I know this is a hard concept to grasp so I hope these examples make it a bit more clear:
- Scenario #1: Let’s pretend you have high stress job that you strongly dislike. The stress and frustration you feel at the job is going to seep into all other aspects of your life. Your family may feel as though you work to much and as a result it is straining your home life. The impact of this job is profound! Although your occupation is only one component of life, the effect of this single dimension is deeply impacting your life as a whole.
- Scenario #2: Let’s imagine that you decide to enhance your physical health by joining a gym. At the gym you attend fitness classes, participate in pick-up games, and join a running club. As you get involved in these activities not only are you boosting your physical health, you are also creating new opportunities to build and enhance social relationships. Additionally, as you increase your physical health you can also expand your mental and emotional health.
Even though these are fictional examples, I hope it helps explain the interplay between each component of health and wellness (you may even be able to empathize). And hopefully as this series continues and a greater understanding of each dimensions of wellness is gain, you will discover additional connections.
As I get ready to sign off, I hope that take away two things from this post:
- Health and wellness is multidimensional
- The dimensions of health and wellness are interconnected
Next time I’ll start diving into each component of wellness.