Total wellness is the ultimate goal, right? It’s what we all strive for, to feel completely well in all aspects of our life. According to the National Wellness Institute, these aspects fall into one of six dimensions: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Also according to the NWI, only by working to improve our lives in each of these dimensions are we able to reach complete and total wellness.
The key to our first dimension is awareness and acceptance of all of one’s feelings, as well as the feelings of others. Managing your feelings and their related behaviors means realistically assessing your limitations, development of autonomy, and ability to effectively cope with stress. In other words, those with a good level of emotional wellness can express their feelings freely while managing them effectively.
The emotional tenets:
- It is better to be aware of and accept our feelings than to deny them.
- It is better to be optimistic than pessimistic in our approach to life.
Occupational wellness is all about personal satisfaction and life enrichment through work. Your occupational development is directly related to your attitude towards your work and affected by your choice of profession, job satisfaction, career ambitions, and personal performance. Contributing your unique gifts, skills, and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding to you allows you to convey your values in a gratifying way.
The occupational tenets:
- A career that is consistent with our personal values, interests, and beliefs is a better and more rewarding than following a career path that isn’t.
- It is better to develop functional, transferable skills through structured involvement opportunities than to remain inactive and uninvolved.
Optimal physicality is achieved through a combination of regular exercise and good eating habits. While an important part of physical wellness is striving to spend more time building strength, flexibility, and endurance, it’s just as important to take safety precautions, including medical (self-)care, so you’re successful in your journey. The biggest benefits of optimal physical wellness are looking and feeling your best, which leads to enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination, and a sense of direction.
The physical tenets:
- It’s better to consume what enhances good health rather than what impairs it.
- It’s better to be physically fit than out of shape.
Contributing to your environment and community is the key to social wellness. Everyone has an important place in society and has an impact on multiple environments. Social wellness is achieved by encouraging healthier living and initiating better communication; seeking ways to preserve the beauty and balance of nature; making willful choices to enhance personal relationships; and building a better living space and community.
The social tenets:
- It’s better to contribute to the common welfare of our community rather than think of only ourselves.
- It’s better to live in harmony with others and the environment than to live in conflict.
Creative, stimulating mental activities contribute best to intellectual wellness. And those with a healthy dose of it work to expand their knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing their gifts with others. This means using intellectual and cultural activities in the classroom and beyond combined with human resources that encourage intellectual growth.
The intellectual tenets:
- We should stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits lest we 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 and worry over major concerns.
The spiritual aspect of wellness recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces. The search for spiritual wellness is characterized by a peaceful harmony between internal personal feelings and emotions and the external rough stretches of your life path. You’ll know you’re becoming spiritually well when your actions become consistent with your values and beliefs.
The spiritual tenets:
- It’s better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves while maintaining tolerant of others’ beliefs than to close our minds and become intolerant.
- It’s better to live each day in a way that’s consistent with our values and beliefs than to be untrue to ourselves.