The 7 Dimensions of Wellness
What factors do you think influence wellness? Many people associate wellness with physical health and yes, putting in time on the treadmill is a factor. But overall wellness includes every facet of the self. All are linked and problems in one area can influence the others. At the same time, improving one dimension can also benefit the others.
At John Knox Village, we recognize seven dimensions of wellness – physical, intellectual, emotional, social, financial, spiritual and community. Remember that senior health and wellness is not the absence of disease, illness and stress. To live a healthy and happy life with low levels of emotional and physical stress, you should attempt to nurture and balance each of these seven dimensions.
Physical wellness includes exercise, proper nutrition, and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use, smoking and alcohol abuse. It means paying attention to new aches, as well as changes in your strength and balance, getting regular medical checkups, and protecting yourself from injuries and harm.
The intellectual dimension is represented by the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences and to pursue lifelong learning. Like a muscle, the “use it or lose it” principle applies to the brain.
This is all about feeling and expressing human emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger. Emotional health requires possessing the ability to love and be loved and achieving a sense of fulfillment in life. It involves optimism, self-esteem and self-acceptance.
Social wellness entails maintaining meaningful and healthy relationships, feeling connected to people you care about, and contributing to the well-being of other people.
Financial independence and wellness isn’t about overall wealth; it’s about being fully aware of your current fiscal state. It’s helped by setting goals that will allow you to reach your personal objectives and achieve self-defined financial success.
Your spiritual well-being can rely on religion or a god, but it doesn’t have to. It’s about having a set of guiding beliefs, principles or values that help give direction to your life. It’s a willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence, to question everything, and to appreciate the things that can’t be readily explained or understood.
This dimension is essential for any resident of a senior independent living community. It entails participating in the enrichment of your community and implies understanding, awareness and intrinsic respect for aspects of its diversity.
For more information and a checklist of some questions to help measure your levels of wellness, download our 7 Dimensions of Wellness Checklist.
The 7 Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness covers much more than physical health, nutrition and exercise. It’s a complete integration of every aspect of your “self” – physical, mental and spiritual. Living well, with complete balance, requires we attend to all aspects. At John Knox Village, we work to help you do that using the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.
Physical – Mobility, balance, activity and diet
Intellectual – Brain fitness, discussion groups, book clubs, and games
Social – Engagement, cooperation and fun
Spiritual – Peace and faith, supported by a full-time chaplain and vespers choir
Emotional – Belonging, contentment and stability
Financial– Security and independence
Community – An inherent appreciation for everyone’s unique character
Wellness is a conscious, thoughtful process. By identifying strengths and areas of opportunity, you can craft the balanced life you want to be living. Do your own self-evaluation by asking yourself these questions.
- Do you maintain a consistent exercise regimen?
- Do you balance the amount of food you eat with the amount of exercise?
- Do you take proactive steps to avoid and prevent injury, illness and disease?
- Do you view learning as a lifelong process?
- Do you seek opportunities that challenge your critical thinking skills?
- Do you listen to ideas different from your own?
- Do you give and take equally in your relationships?
- Do you treat every person with respect?
- Do you resolve conflict in a healthy, timely manner?
- Do you have a deep understanding for the depth of life, death, and understanding universal human connection or consciousness?
- Do you accept that there are many spiritual paths?
- Do you integrate your spiritual practice within everyday life?
- Do you have consistency between your values and behaviors?
- Do you recognize that you create your own feelings and are responsible for them?
- Do you accept and appreciate your worth as a human being?
- Do you avoid blaming other people or situations for your feelings and behaviors?
- Can you express all ranges of feelings and manage related behaviors in a healthy way?
- Have you prepared all your critical documents, such as wills, trusts and advance medical directives?
- Have you created a household budget? Do you live within it?
- Are you aware that everyone’s financial values, needs and circumstances are unique?
- Do you participate in the enrichment of your community?
- Have you established a reliable support network for yourself?
- Do you have an understanding, awareness and respect for all aspects of diversity?