Health Is the Whole…Body, Mind, and Soul

IMAGE You count grams of fat and fiber, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink green tea, and jog four times a week. However, you spend most of your time at a high stress job, have few close relationships, and feel that your life lacks meaning. The good things that you do for your body may help increase your resistance to stress and illness, but they only reflect part of a much larger picture. Health is more than having a body that works properly. It includes physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and even occupational/vocational dimensions. When these dimensions are working in harmony, they contribute to a sense of well-being and satisfaction.

The Six Dimensional Model of Wellness

How do you take care of your whole self? The National Wellness Institute embraces the Six Dimensional Model of Wellness developed in 1979 by Dr. Bill Hettler. The chart below, based on Hettler’s model, can provide you with some guidance.
Category Development
Physical —Achieving personal fitness and health goals through nutrition, physical activity, safety, and self-care
  • Engage in regular aerobic exercise . For health benefits, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days.
  • Eat a healthy diet .
  • If you smoke, quit .
  • Learn to recognize early signs of illness.
  • Get adequate rest and sleep.
  • Use alcohol in moderation , if at all.
    • Moderate is two or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer drinks per day for women and older adults.
  • Use safety precautions whenever possible. For example:
  • See your doctor regularly.
Emotional —Maintaining good mental health, a positive attitude, and high self-esteem; responding with resiliency to emotional states and everyday life
  • Spend time with friends and family discussing important personal concerns and providing mutual support.
  • Participate in personal growth activities, self-esteem workshops, or support group .
  • Read a self-help book that interests you.
  • Practice positive thinking.
Spiritual —Getting in touch with your deeper self and the spiritual dimension of your life, developing faith in something larger than yourself, finding meaning and purpose
  • Explore your spiritual core by asking yourself questions, such as:
    • Who am I?
    • What is the purpose of my life?
  • Look for inspiration from uplifting books, movies, TV, spiritual gatherings, soothing music, nature, beauty, meditation, or prayer.
  • Spend quiet time alone on a regular basis.
  • Practice being fully present in the moment.
  • Practice acceptance of self, others, life, and detachment from outcomes.
  • Look for deeper meanings to patterns and problems in your life.
  • Allow yourself to deeply feel grief and pain.
  • Practice appreciating the depth and expanse of life and the universe.
  • Identify your values and beliefs.
Intellectual —Having curiosity and a strong desire to learn; solving problems; thinking independently, creatively, and critically
  • Take a class or workshop on a subject that interests you.
  • Seek new experiences on a regular basis. Try new foods, travel to new places, learn about new cultures.
  • Read informative literature and watch educational TV.
  • Get involved in a creative project or use your creativity to solve problems.
  • In your spare time, work on puzzles and intellectually challenging games, such as Scrabble and chess.
Occupational/vocational —Engaging in or preparing for work in which you will find personal satisfaction and enrichment
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
  • Develop a personal mission and goals.
  • Find ways to learn new skills.
  • Develop new occupational or vocational interests.
  • Find ways to use your strengths in work or hobbies that contribute to your enjoyment and need for meaning.

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