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March 04, 2021 4 min read

What does wellness mean to you? The truth is, wellness is a very broad term that refers to a number of conditions and factors, and it can also mean something different for everyone. But there are very different methods for defining wellness, including The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. 

Some of these dimensions might surprise you, so you aren't going to want to miss the rest of this post! 

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlines the eight dimensions of wellness as:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Occupational
  • Environmental
  • Financial

What's particularly helpful about this framework is how it lets you identify which areas you might have covered, and which ones might need more attention. That being said, the personalized nature of this framework means that each of the dimensions will have varying levels of importance to each person. 

For example, some people don't factor in their financial situation into their wellness. For others, this might be a key component for achieving wellness. But no matter what, if you can achieve a harmony and balance between these eight dimensions, it gives you the best shot at living and feeling well. 

Defining the Eight Dimensions of Wellness

Let's break down each of the eight dimensions of wellness and explain what contributes to them. 

Emotional

Your resilience – your ability to cope with and adapt to life's changes and challenges – is a big part of your emotional wellness. An emotionally well person is someone who can express their emotions, generally has positive feelings about life, and a certain level of self-awareness.

(Are you interested in learning more about resilience? We have an entire blog post on the subject right here!)

Physical

Many people associate physical wellness with wellness as a whole, although it is just one of the eight dimensions. However, it's certainly an important one! And physical wellness isn't just about physical fitness. It involves all of your physical habits and factors, from sleep to hygiene, diet, access to healthcare, and more. Chronic illnesses, substance abuse, and mental health conditions are just a few of the things that pose challenges to your physical wellness.

Spiritual

The ways we achieve spiritual wellness depends heavily on our beliefs and values. Some people find spiritual wellness by attending church and praying to God. Others connect to their spiritual wellness through means that don't involve religion. Ultimately, this dimension comes down to examining your place in the universe, and often, the examination of a higher power. 

Social

Over the past year, it's been more challenging than ever to maintain social relationships. Without the ability to travel far and with social distancing in place, more people are feeling isolated than ever. This just goes to show what an important role social wellness plays in your overall wellness. From a sense of belonging to creating a support system, a healthy social life will contribute to your wellness in many ways. 

Intellectual

Things like critical thinking skills, creativity, memory, and concentration are all parts of your intellectual wellness. There are a number of ways to boost this dimension of wellness, including learning new skills, getting a creative hobby, and reading. 

Occupational

We all know how hard it is to have positive feelings about life in general when you're unhappy at work. For most people, their work takes up at least a third of their time. That means, if it doesn't contribute to their wellness in some way, the effects can be particularly harmful. 

Finding a way to obtain personal and professional fulfillment can go a long way in promoting your wellness, and there are several factors that go into this:

  • Achieving a work-life balance
  • Having a sense of purpose or importance at work
  • Establishing relationships with coworkers
  • Participating in training
  • Demonstrating skills and talents

Environmental

Environmental wellness involves the environment as a whole, but it also relates to your own personal environment. To achieve balance in this dimension of wellness, start by making the environments where you live, work, or spend your time as pleasant and positive as possible. This includes keeping your surroundings clean and tidy and caring for your items. 

Environmental wellness can also mean taking part in environmental initiatives for the good of all humankind, including volunteering your time and limiting your use of environmental pollutants. 

Financial

Financial struggles tend to come with a lot of stress, and this stress can have a serious impact on your health and wellness. When it comes to the dimensions of wellness, your financial wellness involves your personal finances as well as your relationship with money as a whole. Achieving harmony in this dimension might include setting financial goals, living within your means, and developing smart financial habits. 

(Whether it's caused by money or anything else, the consequences of long-term stress can be nothing short of scary! See what we mean here)

Achieving Harmony in the Eight Dimensions of Wellness

When you read through these eight dimensions, did any of them stand out more than others? Maybe you've realized some of them need more attention than you're giving them. Now, it's time to focus on what you can do to promote your overall well being and live a more full, healthy, and vital life–whatever that means to you! 

If you're looking for a way to promote your overall sense of well-being and balance a number of these dimensions at once, we encourage you to explore vagus nerve stimulation. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, toned, and strong, it can lead to an improved sense of wellbeing, brighter mood, less stress, better sleep, and more relaxation. 

Learn more about mastering the art of strengthening your vagus nerve (it's easier than you think!) in this post. Or, if you're interested in learning about vagus nerve stimulating headphones, head here next