There are various aspects of life that we all desire to thrive in. Some people may desire career advancement or have their focus on building a happy family. At the same time, others may have their eyes on achieving their political ambitions or making great social connections. Whatever the goal or dreams you have for your life, being in a state of wellness is key to achieving them.
Wellness is an all-encompassing word. But more often than not, when we think of wellness, we attribute it to the state of our physical bodies when, in fact, we have different aspects of our being that are interconnected. So in this article, we examine the various dimensions of wellness, called the “wellness wheel,” and how we can make good choices for each component to achieve balance and wholeness.
What is the Wellness Wheel?
The wellness wheel is a visual guide and tool that individuals can use to assess their health from a holistic viewpoint. The wheel depicts the different aspects of human life, including social, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, financial, and interconnectedness.
What is the Purpose of the Wellness Wheel?
A wellness wheel is an effective tool that can reveal areas for improvement in our lives. The wellness wheel aims to help individuals balance the different aspects of their lives and continually seek to improve them to achieve overall well-being.
Who Developed the Wellness Wheel?
In 1976, Dr Bill Hettler, a co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, created the “Six Dimensions of Wellness.” His model had six sections, each representing a different aspect of life. It was hexagonal in shape. But today, there have been many modifications. Some wheels have as few as four, and others may have as many as thirty-something dimensions.
The Eight Dimensions of the Wellness Wheel
How To Use the Wellness Wheel to Achieve
Maintaining physical wellness involves your commitment to engaging in physical activities(exercise), eating nourishing foods, and sleeping for the required hours the body needs to get rested. Engaging in physical wellness activities improves brain health and quality of life.
Some Ways to Improve Physical Wellness Include:
- Going for regular check-ups
- Engaging in sufficient exercise ( Experts recommend 30 minutes of walking daily or 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly).
- Eating whole foods, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
- Paying attention to your stressors and keeping stress levels very low.
- Treating illnesses promptly.
We may be quick to think of the four walls of a classroom when it comes to taking care of our intellectual well-being. But intellectual wellness is about engaging in mentally stimulating activities. It concerns the ability to remain committed to life-long learning and mental nourishment.
Three Ways to Nourish Your Intellectual Well-being
- Reading: In this day and age, finding time to get wound up in a good book and be temporarily transported may be difficult. However, maximising one’s life is about prioritising the important things. Make an effort to read every day or on weekends. It is up to you to make a schedule to help you get the most out of your reading time. Many avid readers have admitted that they don’t always read a book cover to cover. It might be one chapter, two chapters, or even just one page at a time. What matters is that you are learning new things and broadening your horizons with each page or chapter you read.
- Engage in a debate with your friend: You may wonder why you have to do this. The goal is to challenge your perspective, become critical in how you think, develop your own ideas and opinions, and help you see beyond one side of an issue.
- Learn New Skills: Research shows that learning new skills or new things helps your brain grow more than when you practice what you already know. New information helps your brain to form new paths and connections. Medical experts say this is one way to keep dementia at bay. So you can see that learning new skills is a great way to improve your intellectual wellness.
Do you know your general well-being and productivity can be influenced by your living and working environments? One study found that employees’ productivity soars when they are allowed to arrange their workspace in a way that suits them. A disorganised space can make a person feel uncomfortable, anxious, moody, helpless or hinder their ability to perform well. You feel more at ease and relaxed in an environment that is neatly set up and organised at home and in your workplace. If your home is beautifully furnished, for example, and has a nice fragrance, you will most likely feel happy when it’s time to head home after a busy workday.
Another aspect of environmental wellness is spending time in nature. It impacts our physical and physiological health. One research shows that humans are driven to connect with nature because our ancestors lived and survived in it. Furthermore, experiencing nature triggers a physiological reaction that reduces stress. Nature can also enhance cognitive processes (the ability to concentrate and pay attention). Spending 120 minutes per week in nature will produce health benefits such as better sleep, improved immunity, and lowers stress, anxiety, and depression.
Environmental wellness also involves playing your role in taking care of the earth. Global warming is on the increase. This calls for the need to advocate for environmental wellness. It motivates each person to lead a life that values their surroundings. People will be able to act in ways that positively affect their surroundings, whether inside their homes or outside of them. And that contributes to making the environment a better place for everyone.
Ways to Improve Environmental Wellness Include:
- Spending time outdoors
- Recreational activities in the park
- Raising awareness about the effects of pollution and climate change
Emotional wellness concerns the ability to control your feelings and behaviour and cope with difficult and stressful times. Life won’t always go smoothly, and being able to handle distressing situations will keep you mentally strong and emotionally balanced. An individual with balanced emotional health will be able to deal with stress and cope very well in times of hardship.
Emotional wellness can be improved in the following ways:
- Learning resilience skills. This will empower you to navigate challenging times in positive ways. Learn more about building resilience skills here.
- Resting enough to recharge and feel energised
- Seeking counselling and therapy
- Asking for help and building quality social connections
Financial wellness deals with being in charge of your finances. In other words, you can manage your finances responsibly.
Financial literacy serves as the cornerstone of financial wellness. You may become financially distressed if you lack financial literacy. Your physical health is especially vulnerable to being negatively impacted by the effect. It is essential to develop financial literacy skills if you want to improve your financial wellness.
Ways to Improve Financial Wellness
- Learning financial literacy skills ( savings, investment, etc.)
- Budgeting and cutting back on wasteful spending
- Checking in with finance professionals
The topic of work-life balance has received much attention, particularly in the digital age, where there is a blurred line between work and personal life.
Many job responsibilities are at our fingertips because digital tools enable working from anywhere possible. If care is not taken, we risk allowing work responsibilities to encroach on the time we spend with loved ones or doing leisure activities.
So, achieving occupational wellness involves balancing your personal and professional life. Additionally, it consists in finding a financially rewarding career and gives you a sense of fulfilment. Burnout and job dissatisfaction at work can result from a lack of occupational wellness. If you fall short in this area, you can look into the suggestions below to enhance your occupational health.
Ways to Improve Occupational Wellness
- Identify your areas of strength to make it easier to choose a career path that is right for you.
- Maintain healthy relationships with friends and colleagues.
- After work, schedule time for leisure activities. According to a Mayo Clinic study, participating in hobbies and other passion-based activities outside work reduces burnout by 20%.
Achieving spiritual wellness is critical to our overall well-being. It improves our relationships with our inner selves, the divine, and those around us. Spiritual wellness is how we experience inner peace and meaning in our lives. If you have a strong sense of values, it is an indication of spiritual health. It assists in guiding your decisions and actions to be consistent with your life’s purpose.
Ways to Enhance Your Spiritual Wellness
- Belonging to a religious or spiritual group
- Practicing mindfulness and yoga
People who maintain social connections are better able to manage stress and experience fewer health issues. On the other hand, loneliness and isolation increase the risk of dementia and stroke. Preventing loneliness and isolation, especially in older adults, requires promoting social wellness. One-third of people over 45 reports feeling lonely and isolated, according to a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Keys to Building Social Wellness
- Being a listening ear for others when they need it.
- Intentionally planning time to be with family and friends.
- Meeting new people and building meaningful relationships.
- Prioritising regular check-ins with family and friends, especially the older ones.
How to Use the Wellness Wheel
The wellness wheel is a diagram showing the various aspects of your well-being and what you can do to enhance them to achieve balance. The idea is to make it easier for you to pay attention to the different aspects of your well-being rather than just one or a few while the others are neglected.
Look through the eight dimensions of the wheel to identify the areas in which you are at your weakest, and work on improving those areas. Consider the suggestions below each area and set goals to achieve them. As you try to improve in those areas where you are the weakest, every little step toward improvement will leave you feeling more fulfilled and eventually impact your overall health.
The Bottom Line
Integrating the wellness wheel into your everyday life helps you to adopt a holistic approach to your health and well-being. And It enables you to become aware of and make choices or decisions that improve your quality of life.