The word wellness is seemingly everywhere these days. From fitness programs to wellness centers to conferences, awards and even products for your pets, the word is everywhere. Like so many other industries, the health and wellness industry likes to try and take complicated ideas and concepts and boil them down to a single word. In a world with attention spans getting shorter and shorter, finding catchy words and phrases to convey a message is increasingly the norm.
So, what does wellness mean then?
Unfortunately, there is not a universal definition of wellness. In fact, if you search for a definition, you will find different takes on what wellness can encompass. You will quickly see that wellness is most often described has having several dimensions. And to complicate things even further, most there is no consensus among experts on how many dimensions of wellness there are.
To keep it simple you can think of the dimensions of wellness as categories that wellness lives within. Let us take a closer look at a few of the most common categories to get a better understanding of how this works.
This centers around the most common health activities that people actively take part in. Optimal nutrition, physical activity and various diets all fall into this category that support bodily health. Going to the gym and eating whole foods are examples of physical wellness.
Emotional wellness focuses on being able to acknowledge emotions and appropriately express feelings. Learning effective coping skills and opening up to friends or healthcare professionals about your feelings can support emotional wellness.
Environmental wellness has two sides. Firstly, environmental wellness supports good health by encouraging occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being. The other aspect of environmental wellness includes consideration of one’s impact on the environment and working to diminish any negative impacts on it.
Social wellness focuses on establishing valued connections with friends and family and supporting harmony in these relationships. Spending time with loved ones, communities or practicing active listening are all integral in supporting social wellness.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the dimensions of wellness, but these are by far the most commonly discussed. Other dimensions can include spiritual wellness, occupational wellness and even financial wellness.
So wellness can impact every aspect of our lives. If you look into what wellness looks like in each dimension we can start to see that wellness is really about the choices that we make that improves our lives in some way. Whether it be exercise, food, connection or our surroundings, wellness is the conscious attention the we give to the choices we make. Always striving to better today than we were the day before. That is wellness.
- By Dr. Tal Friedman, ND at Chiva-Som.