“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth…” (3 Jn. 2).
Last week, we began an introductory discussion about the meaning of the two terms, health and wellness. This week, we will be taking the discussion a little further by introducing the seven dimensions of wellness.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has reported that,
“…Factors that will increase the need for services in this area include a growing aging population with increased longevity; an increased focus on health care disparities affecting treatment and services; the health effects of rising rates of obesity; and factors that challenge the quality and pace of life, including technology and imbalances in life roles…”
With this in mind, I gained a better understanding of the fact that the last portion of this statement sums up the overall societal concern about health and wellness: “…factors that challenge the quality and pace of life…” For example, our quality of life is impacted in three areas by both internal and external antagonists on a daily basis. These areas include our spirit, soul (mind) and body. In the past, discussions within various schools of thought were divided based upon the belief that a human being either had: 1) a body alone, 2) a body and a spirit, or, 3) a body, a soul and a spirit. However, the focus on these three areas instead of the body alone demonstrates an understanding by experts that “wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition.” As a result, it requires us to look at every area of life that influences an individual’s life practices.
The University of California (Riverside) lists the following ways in which an individual’s life practices can be influenced: 1) socially, 2) emotionally, 3) spiritually, 4) environmentally, 5) occupationally, 6) intellectually, and 7) physically. From these seven areas, we derive the seven dimension of wellness to correspond with each area challenged by both internal and external factors. The seven dimensions of wellness include:
- Social Wellness – the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world.
- Emotional Wellness – the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring.
- Spiritual Wellness – the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives.
- Environmental Wellness – the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of air, the water and the land that surrounds us.
- Occupational Wellness – the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives.
- Intellectual Wellness – the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.
- Physical Wellness – the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
When looking at this list, each of us can immediately identify with one or more of each subcategory. As a matter of fact, we need to consider that we have been programmed to focus at some areas to the neglect of others. Likewise, we contend with life practices on a daily basis that have been transmitted to us from previous generations without the full understanding that some of those practices are/were indeed detrimental to our well-being. How can we end this cycle of poor lifestyle choices and change the course of the quality of living for future generations?
Next week, we will begin a discussion of each dimension of wellness individually to address this question. Next week’s discussion will be followed up with weekly discussions on healthy lifestyle choices based on our understanding of each dimension of wellness. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone as this is a community effort to living our best life in honor of the One Who has given us this life to live. Love God…love others….love yourself!
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”