The National Wellness Institute promotes six dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual.
By addressing the dimensions of wellness in our lives, we build a holistic sense of wellness that speaks to individual and community fulfillment. Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) adds cultural wellness as the seventh dimension of wellness to shed light on the vital role of cultural belonging, acceptance, appreciation, and the embracement of cultural differences in wellness. WCSU also includes environmental wellness instead of occupational wellness in their definition. In the descriptions below, environmental wellness is encompassed in social, interpersonal wellness.
Below is a brief description of the seven areas of wellness:
- Physical wellness: Learning about and adopting practices that allow for optimal growth, development, and maintenance of bodily tissues. It also encompasses following through with healing practices. This includes eating habits, physical activity, rest, and medical and non-medical self-care.
- Emotional wellness: Developing awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. Some of the signs of emotional wellness include a capacity to manage feelings, acknowledging limitations, developing autonomy, and effectively coping with stress.
- Occupational wellness: Contributing unique skills, gifts, talents, and passions to the community and world through work or occupation. A person’s occupation is felt to be meaningful and rewarding.
- Interpersonal and social wellness: Developing effective communication skills fosters a capacity for close and intimate relationships and cultivates a support network. Contributes to the well-being of the communities around them, including taking actions that protect the environment.
- Intellectual wellness: Characterized by an openness to new ideas, a capacity to question, think critically, change a way of thinking, and the motivation to learn new skills and understand new perspectives.
- Spiritual wellness: Possesses guiding principles, beliefs, and values that give purpose to human existence while developing the capacity to love and feel compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and joy. It includes the development of a worldview that is consistent with those values while also respecting differences in spiritual beliefs.
- Cultural wellness: Developing a meaningful sense of cultural belonging, acceptance, appreciation, and embracement of cultural differences.