Health Is the Whole…Body, Mind, and Soul
by Amy Scholten, MPH
You count grams of fat and fiber. You add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink green tea. You make sure to jog at least 4 times a week. Then, you spend most of your time at a high stress job. You have few close relationships and feel that your life lacks meaning. A healthy body may help you resist stress and illness, but they are only part of a much larger picture.
Health is more than having a body that works well. It includes six other factors or dimensions. When these dimensions are all cared for, you can build a true sense of well-being.
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. The chart below explains the six parts of the model.
Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World
It may seem like a hard task to meet all 6 but many overlap. One step may help you meet more than one goal. Examples may include:
Find Ways To Meet Multiple Wellness Needs
For example, taking a daily walk with your spouse and children can fulfill needs for physical activity and emotional bonding. If you use the time to discuss ideas and career aspirations, your family walk could also contribute to intellectual and occupational needs.
Make Your Values and Priorities Clear
Take time to know the deepest purposes for which you live. Use them to set goals and make choices. For example, you may find that you want more time with your family than a bigger paycheck. Do not wait for a crisis to show what really matters to you.
Find Areas Where You Want More Balance
Look for gaps in your overall wellness using your values and the model above. Make goals that will help you find more balance.
Being Realistic and Flexible
Perfect balance in all dimensions is not possible. There will be times when you are overextended, lonely, angry, and tired. You will need to make changes over the year. Adjust your goals and plans until you find a balance.
Mental Health America
National Wellness Institute
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Canada
Physical activity guidelines for Americans. Health.gov—Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://health.gov/paguidelines/. Accessed June 8, 2020.
Six dimensions of wellness. National Wellness Institute website. Available at: https://www.nationalwellness.org/page/six_dimensions#:~:text=The National Wellness Institute promotes,sense of wellness and fulfillment. Accessed June 8, 2020.
Last reviewed June 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 6/8/2020
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