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Some wild and wacky Dimensions of Wellness

Okay, so these are not wild and wacky.. but they ARE very interesting if you want to find out more about how Wellness is different from health. It is a quick read, and a little different from my previous blogs (a lot more educational), but I hope you find it interesting.

Following are a few models of the Dimensions of Wellness that are used in Wellness Counseling and Wellness Coaching.

Bill Hetler’s Model of six Dimensions of Wellness from 1976 still holds strong:

Physical (body, nutrition, healthy habits)

  • “The body is recognized as a formal expression of physiological development and personal evolution.” -Hettler

Emotional (feelings, emotions, reactions, cognition)

  • “Emotional wellness is not an end stage but a continual process of change and growth.” -Hettler

Occupational (employment, skills, finances, balance, satisfaction)

  • “The occupationally well individual contributes her/his unique skills/talents to work that is meaningful and rewarding.” -Hettler

Spiritual (meaning, awareness of the unexplained, values)

  • “Feelings of doubt, despair, fear, disappointment and dislocation as well as feelings of pleasure, joy, eagerness and discovery are part of this search for a universal value system.” -Hettler

Intellectual (creativity, mental challenge, critical thinking, commitment to learn, curiosity)

  • “Intellectual wellness is evidenced by self-directed behavior, which includes continuous acquisition, development, creative application, and articulation of critical thinking and expressive/intuitive skills and abilities focused on the achievement of a more satisfying existence. Intellectual wellness is also evidenced by a demonstrated commitment to life long learning.” -Hettler

Social (relationships, community interaction, respect, healthy independence)

  • “A person experiencing social wellness is living in harmony with his/her fellow human beings and seeking positive, interdependent relationships with others.” -Hettler


Very similarly, in her article Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life, Debbie Stoewen presents the following view on the idea of Wellness:

"Wellness encompasses 8 mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental (Table 1) (1). Attention must be given to all the dimensions, as neglect of any one over time will adversely affect the others, and ultimately one’s health, well-being, and quality of life. They do not, however, have to be equally balanced (1). We should aim, instead, to strive for a “personal harmony” that feels most authentic to us (1). We naturally have our own priorities, approaches, and aspirations, including our own views of what it means to live life fully."


Table 1

Dimensions of wellness

Physical Dimension

  • Caring for your body to stay healthy now and in the future

Intellectual Dimension

  • Growing intellectually, maintaining curiosity about all there is to learn, valuing lifelong learning, and responding positively to intellectual challenges

  • Expanding knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing your gifts with others

Emotional Dimension

  • Understanding and respecting your feelings, values, and attitudes

  • Appreciating the feelings of others

  • Managing your emotions in a constructive way

  • Feeling positive and enthusiastic about your life

Social Dimension

  • Maintaining healthy relationships, enjoying being with others, developing friendships and intimate relations, caring about others, and letting others care about you

  • Contributing to your community

Spiritual Dimension

  • Finding purpose, value, and meaning in your life with or without organized religion

  • Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values

Vocational Dimension

  • Preparing for and participating in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle

  • Contributing your unique gifts, skills, and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding

Financial Dimension

  • Managing your resources to live within your means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and preparing for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies

  • Being aware that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique

Environmental Dimension

  • Understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your health and well-being

  • Being aware of the unstable state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment

  • Demonstrating commitment to a healthy planet

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