A person’s wellness can be defined as their "state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Wellness is not static, but rather an ongoing collection of choices an individual makes every day. Wellness is often said to have seven dimensions, or domains. These seven domains of wellness encompass the broadest range of human needs. The first step toward wellness is identifying how the seven domains of wellness are interrelated and influence each other.
The seven domains of wellness are: physical, social, occupational, emotional, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual. These domains can be used to assess the state of your own health or the population at large. When one domain is suffering, the others will also be affected. Read on to learn more about each domain.
Physical wellness is the body's ability to function at its best. This includes:
Physical activity and nutrition. People who are physically active, eat a healthy diet, and sleep well tend to be healthier.
The body’s ability to heal itself after injury or illness by producing new cells and tissues (recovery).
The body’s ability to cope with stress through relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, that can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve mood (resilience).
Physical wellness also includes good sleep habits—getting enough restorative sleep each night—as poor quality of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes in adults, as well as mental health problems in children.
Social wellness is the ability to make and maintain meaningful relationships. It is important to have a good support network, know your purpose in life, feel a sense of control over your own destiny, and have trust in others.
Social wellness also includes being able to participate in activities that bring you joy. This can be anything from spending time with family or friends, participating in recreational sports, or going on vacations with loved ones. Social wellness gives us the strength we need for all areas of our lives - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual - because it is through social interactions that we are able to connect with others who provide us comfort and encouragement when times are tough – or just for fun!
To be happy and healthy, you must be part of a community. Being part of a community means being connected with people who share your values and interests, as well as living in an environment that provides opportunities for personal growth. In addition to being connected with others, one of the most important aspects of wellness is having a career you enjoy.
There are many things you can do to make sure that your job fulfills all seven domains: physical activity, work-life balance, social activities outside work hours (volunteerism), health insurance and retirement benefits, supportive managers at work who encourage employees’ mental health (counseling services), flexible schedules so people don’t have to choose between being present for family or missing out on important events because they have no paid time off (paid maternity leave), having enough money saved up so that one can live comfortably without worry about paying bills (retirement plans), and time off from work in order to concentrate on other priorities when necessary (sabbaticals).
Emotional wellness is the ability to effectively manage our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Just as physical fitness can be measured by how well you perform in a race or a workout, your emotional fitness can be evaluated with assessments like the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) or the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).
Emotional wellness is an important aspect of health; however, it's not the only one. While improving your emotional wellness will likely improve your overall health and happiness, there are other ways to increase these things as well — for example: by exercising regularly or eating healthy foods.
Intellectual wellness is about learning and applying knowledge. It’s also about challenging yourself to take on new challenges and learn more.
How can you promote intellectual wellness?
Learn something new every day. Read a book, take a class, or take advantage of some other source of education. Learn more about topics that interest you, but also consider expanding your horizons by exploring subjects that are outside your usual realm of interest—you might be surprised at what you find!
Keep up with current events so that you stay informed about the world around you, including politics and technology. If possible, try to read different sources so that instead of just getting one person's view on an issue (even if they're an expert), you get multiple perspectives and points of view as well as facts from various sources. This will help prevent your opinions from becoming too deeply ingrained in one direction or another; it'll also help avoid confirmation bias when forming opinions based solely on personal experiences rather than looking at things objectively or considering information beyond those first impressions we may have formed prior to doing research into any given topic.
Environmental wellness is an important factor in the overall health of a city and its citizens. It involves taking care of the environment around you, including things like air quality, water quality, and conservation efforts. Environmental wellness also includes reducing your carbon footprint, which means using less energy (electricity, gas) and being more aware of where you get your food from.
The benefits of environmental wellness include:
Better health outcomes for residents
Lower healthcare costs for individuals and families
Stronger local economies due to reduced healthcare costs
Spiritual wellness encompasses the ways we connect with ourselves, other people, and our surroundings. It includes finding meaning in life, practicing empathy and compassion, creating supportive relationships, and pursuing experiences that bring joy.
It's not a religion or spiritual practice you follow — it's an attitude you adopt. Spiritual wellness can help you to live well in your body, mind, and soul by cultivating gratitude for what you have now so that you can appreciate the good things in life more deeply.
Mindfulness is one of the most popular forms of spiritual wellness available today. It involves being aware of thoughts as they arise without judging them as right or wrong; feeling emotions without getting attached to them; paying attention to sensations in your body without trying to change them; observing things happening around you without getting caught up in what they mean for yourself; and focusing on one thing at a time while letting go of past worries or future concerns.
Wellness is a concept that’s becoming increasingly important as people are taking more control over their own health. The seven domains of wellness provide a framework for understanding how to live a healthy life and create an environment that supports this. We hope you enjoyed learning about each domain, and we encourage you to continue exploring ways that these ideas can help your own journey toward greater well-being!
Download our one-pager on the 7 Domains of Wellness: