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{Wellness 101} Dimensions of Health and Wellness

Hello + Happy Wednesday! I am officially finished with coursework of my master’s program!!! The only thing left is my Capstone. In the midst my research project, I wanted to take a break and continue my blogging series about wellness. In my first post, I focused on my philosophy of wellness in connection to my personal well-being. Today, I hope to expand on the content of my initial post and provide a more concrete understanding of wellness by presenting an overview of the dimensions of health and wellness.

Dimensions of wellness

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I believe the essence of wellness is an understanding that life is multidimensional, encompassing all aspects of life. Unfortunately, I believe this core concept is also one of the greatest misconceptions of health and wellness.

If you take a second to think about “health and wellness” and do a quick scan of how health is portrayed in our culture, you may see mental pictures of things like…Dieting. Working out. Running. Disease. Obesity. Diabetes. Being skinny. 

fitness - Wellness - Janelle Runs

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You may even see a photo similar to the one above. If your mental list reads similar, don’t worry, you are not alone. It is common belief that health and wellness is singular and only connected to things like diet, exercise routines, presence or absence of disease, body weight, etc… While these things are vitally important to our well-being, they only represent a single aspect of life, our physical health. The danger of this limited belief is that by focusing only on one component, we neglect to recognize and nurture the other dimensions of life, which are equally as important. If you only take one point away from this post, I hope it is an understanding that true health and wellness recognizes, nurtures, and enhances each component of life.

WHO - Definition of Health

So what exactly are these dimensions I keep alluding to….Well, in my classroom I teach about seven dimensions of health and wellness: physical, spiritual, social, mental, emotion, environmental, and occupational wellness (future posts, will be devoted each component). However, there is no single consensus on the dimensions of wellness. Different health organizations and specialists provide differing lists (financial health a common and extremely valid addition). Ultimately, I think the most important thing to understand is that wellness is multifaceted, encompassing body, mind, and soul and how you divide up these three components is going to vary from person to person. 

Understanding that wellness is multidimensional is only half of the issue, The other half centers on recognizing the interconnected nature of wellness. By this I mean that we must also understand that each dimension powerfully impacts the others. I know this is a hard concept to grasp so I hope these examples make it a bit more clear:

  • Scenario #1: Let’s pretend you have high stress job that you strongly dislike. The stress and frustration you feel at the job is going to seep into all other aspects of your life. Your family may feel as though you work to much and as a result it is straining your home life. The impact of this job is profound! Although your occupation is only one component of life, the effect of this single dimension is deeply impacting your life as a whole.
  • Scenario #2: Let’s imagine that you decide to enhance your physical health by joining a gym. At the gym you attend fitness classes, participate in pick-up games, and join a running club. As you get involved in these activities not only are you boosting your physical health, you are also creating new opportunities to build and enhance social relationships. Additionally, as you increase your physical health you can also expand your mental and emotional health. 

Even though these are  fictional examples, I hope it helps explain the interplay between each component of health and wellness (you may even be able to empathize). And hopefully as this series continues and a greater understanding of each dimensions of wellness is gain, you will discover additional connections.

As I get ready to sign off, I hope that take away two things from this post:

  1. Health and wellness is multidimensional 
  2. The dimensions of health and wellness are interconnected 

Next time I’ll start diving into each component of wellness.

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{Motivational Monday} Be Somebody…

Be Somebody Who Makes Everybody feel like a somebody

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{Wellness 101} My Personal Wellness Philosophy

Have you heard the word wellness? Companies use it on advertisements to sale their product. Businesses present it in their benefits package to entice employees. Fitness centers put it in their name to draw in costumers. Simply put, the word has become quite the trend and I don’t see it going away any time soon! Unfortunately, as with many trends, the term wellness is in danger of being used and labeled incorrectly.

So what exactly is wellness and why should you spend time reading this post (and future posts in this series)… Well, would you believe me if I said your happiness depends on it?

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Don’t believe me?

I promise, it’s true.

As I eluded to in the first paragraph, this post is the first in a new segment titled Wellness 101. In this first post, I want to share my personal wellness philosophy. Throughout the last year and a half I have been pursuing a graduate degree in Wellness and Lifestyle Management. As a component of one of my classes, I was asked to write our personal philosophy of wellness. The result of that assignment is the framework of this post. My philosophy derives from personal experience and theoretical frameworks I have learned throughout my master’s program. As you read, please keep in mind that this is a living piece of work, one that is continually being evaluated as I grow and encounter new experiences and knowledge.

And without further ado, my wellness philosophy...

Wellness is a dynamic process of living opposed to a state to be conquered. I define wellness as creating a balance within the multifaceted areas of life. I prescribe to the theory that wellness is divided into multiple dimensions, which include physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, occupational, and intellectual wellness. These dimensions are intricately woven together, influencing each other and governing an individual’s overall well-being. When balance is met within each component of life, an individual is able to thrive and experience the good life rather than simply exist. In essence, the purpose of wellness is NOT to prevent illness or heal disease. Instead, the purpose of wellness is for an individual to experience true, sustaining happiness and joy. As a wellness professional, it is my duty to inspire and empower people with the knowledge and skills needed to enhance and maintain balance in each aspect of life, thus enabling everyone to experience a preposterous and joyous life.

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Extra. Extra. As I discuss the existence of multiple dimensions of wellness, I believe it is necessary to expand on each facet and provide greater detail of my personal perceptions. In order to keep this post short, I have shared my philosophy for each component on a static blog page.

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