Have you ever asked yourself what being “healthy” means to you? Have you ever asked other people if they are well or doing well in pursuing their goals or if they feel that they are doing well in their life in general? Have you ever asked yourself if you are doing well in pursuing your goals as well as in your everyday life?
When asked about being healthy or well, we often base our answers on how healthy we eat or how fit we are; how many times we exercise in a week and if we have muscles or not. But physical health and overall fitness is just one component of overall wellness.
What is Wellness?
Many of us think of wellness in terms of eating healthy and sweating it out in the gym or having a regular exercise routine. However, the rigors and demands of today’s lifestyle has transformed the concept of wellness and general well being.
The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as follows:
Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.
No longer is wellness focused on physical health but it integrates mental, social and spiritual aspects of life as well. To be truly successful, you need to be able to find balance in all these areas and integrate them into your life.
Why is Wellness Important?
Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute hypothesized that in order to lead a balanced, well-rounded and fulfilling life, there are certain lifestyle dimensions that need to be met. When one of these dimensions is missing or falls short, an imbalance is created which throws off the entire equilibrium and pace of one’s life.
Thought leaders in the health and wellness sectors have come up with many different models of wellness. In all of their models, they all agree that wellness is multi-dimensional and holistic; encompassing mental and spiritual aspects as well as the environment of the individual. It is also a conscious, self-directed process of evolution that the individual experiences to achieve his/her full potential. Finally, it is positive and affirming.
The Six Dimensions of Wellness
There are generally six dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and social. Each of these contribute to your overall success in life. When one is missing, there is a void that imbalances the other dimensions.
Think of yourself as a universe or YOUniverse with 6 galaxies that have to co-exist perfectly with each other in order for the universe to continue to exist. If one galaxy is neglected it creates a black hole which can drastically affect the other galaxies near it and creates a discord in the whole YOUniverse. When a neglected galaxy becomes a black hole, it could suck in and destroy all the other galaxies.
Or for another analogy, think of wellness as a musical composition. If one page of the musical composition is missing, the song will sound incomplete. If it were an orchestral piece, the music would sound unpleasant and discordant if all the musical instruments didn’t blend seamlessly to create the music.
I’m sure you understand why the dimensions should work in harmony and be integrated seamlessly into your lifestyle. Thus, it is good to start reviewing how much you are paying attention to these six aspects of your life. This way, you can start working towards achieving the balance you need to gain wellness.