What Are the 8 Dimensions of Wellness?

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You’ve probably heard the schnazzy intro to our bi-monthly podcast. “Perfect’s impossible, so let’s strive for better and betterer across the eight dimensions of wellness…”

Let’s think of wellness as a pie. It’s a big ‘ol, round pizza pie, if you will. We can slice this pie a number of ways, and I happen to think of it as 8 slices: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, vocation, social, environmental, and financial. This is the model I have seen used by the National Institute of Health and other government institutions.

Some models choose to slice the pie into 4 pieces, 6 pieces, 7, or even 9 pieces, but I like the 8 these days because it really allows for a lot of significant, specific talking points. All the differently sliced wellness pies account for the same list of of items, it’s just that I like cutting them out into their own specific pieces.

Physical Dimension
This one is all about the health of your body — now and in the future. How fit are you? Take this “How Fit Are You?” test from the Mayo Clinic!  Also, make sure all your blood work is looking good. Here’s a good video called Know Your Numbers by Tana Amen. And I recommend taking a brain health assessment as well.

Intellectual Dimension
This dimension accounts for intellectual growth, curiosity to learn, valuing lifelong learning, and positively embracing intellectual challenges. It also means growing your knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing your gifts with others. Ready for an intellectual wellness quizzy quiz? Here it is!

Emotional Dimension
Emotional Wellness is all about understanding your feelings, values, and attitudes, and respecting them. It also entails appreciating the feelings of others, constructively managing your feelings, and feeling positive and enthusiastic about your life. If you’ve been following me for a bit, then it will be no surprise that I am choosing THIS as the assessment for the emotional dimension.

Social Dimension
This one means that you are maintaining and developing healthy relationships, enjoying being with others, developing friendships and relations at an intimate level, caring about others, and letting others care about you. It also entails contributing to your community. Test your social wellness here.

Spiritual Dimension
This dimension embodies finding purpose, meaning and value in your life with or without organized religion (religion requires spirituality but not vice versa), generally with consideration to something bigger. It also consists acting and contributing in ways that are consistent with your beliefs and values. Assess your spiritual wellness here.

Vocational Dimension
This one is all about preparing for, and ultimately participating in, work that provides you with personal satisfaction and fulfillment that is consistent with your values, goals, and even lifestyle. It also involves infusing your work with the contribution of your talents, skills, unique gifts in a way that is personally meaningful and rewarding. Thought occupation is technically different from vocation,* you may like this occupational wellness quiz.

*WorkAlpha.com puts this best: a person’s vocation evokes inmost gifts, abilities, passions, dreams and broader life purpose. So, what exactly is a vocation? The Latin root word—“vocationem”— means “a calling.” Vocation is an occupation that someone feels strongly about doing, despite monetary gain or other influences. Therefore, everyone’s vocation should be what they feel compelled to do because it gives a deeper meaning to life as well as added meaning within us. Your true vocation will characterize how you operate in general.

Financial Dimension
Ah, money, money, money, money. To be financially well means that you are managing your resources to live within your means. You make informed financial decisions and investments. You are able to set realistic money goals, while also preparing for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. You are also aware that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique. Take this quiz to find out your financial wellbeing.

Environmental Dimension
This one deals with understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your wellness. Moreover you demonstrate commitment to a health planet, as you are aware of the unstable state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits have on the physical environment. Here’s an Environmental Wellness Checklist from the NIH. It focuses on your wellness within the environment. This quiz assesses how your habits affect the environment as well as how your health is impacted by the environment.

I make “doodles” of these eight dimensions. The loops show how they all are connected to one another — these dimensions energize and de-energize each other. Moreover, my loops can overlap with your loops. We are all connected. Your wellness affects my wellness and vice versa.