What does "being healthy" mean to you? My guess is that most people would respond to this question with one of two answers - first, being healthy means I don't have an illness; or second, being healthy means I regularly exercise and watch what I eat.
It makes sense to most that these would be the criteria for individual health, as we've been conditioned all our lives to associate "health" with physical well-being.
Being illness-free and sticking to a diet and exercise plan are very positive steps toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But what if I told you that these characteristics alone were insufficient? What if I said that physical well-being is only one of six dimensions of total wellness? And despite any preconceived notions, each of these dimensions is equally important to one's health.
The Six Dimensions of Wellness include physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational/financial, and spiritual wellness.
Physical wellness, as discussed before, pertains to the general health of one's body. Do you have a cold or flu? Do you experience pain or fatigue when you exercise moderately? These are signs that can tell you whether or not your physical wellness is being neglected.
Social wellness pertains to how you interact with others. Are you friendly and outgoing, or isolative? Are you involved in your community? It's important to point out that someone with a lot of friends isn't necessarily more socially well than someone with a few friends. To be socially well means that your expectations and desires regarding your interactions with others are being met.
Emotional wellness pertains to how you feel inside. How are you doing? Are you happy? Are you constantly frustrated or upset? Negative thoughts and feelings are indicative of poor emotional wellness. While there are many ways to remedy poor emotional wellness (and each method differs with each person), the goal is to pursue individual happiness.
Intellectual wellness pertains to whether or not you meet your desired level of intellectual stimulation. Enroll in a formal education or training program, or simply study a hobby of yours to contribute to your positive intellectual wellness.
Occupational or financial wellness increases or decreases with one's satisfaction with their job, as well as their financial standing. Time spent at work is approximately 1/3rd of your life - being stuck in a job you hate contributes greatly to poor occupational wellness. Additionally, not having the finances to fund your needs can clearly place great stress on your life, as well as the lives of those close to you.
Finally, spiritual wellness can pertain to finding meaning and purpose in one's life. This can involve religious beliefs, the pursuit of happiness, or simply seeing the good in all things.
So, does not having the flu mean you're healthy? Not even close. Consider everything in your life, and neglect nothing. For more information, come to Northwest's Wellness Center Open House Sept. 8 from 4-6 p.m. and learn more about all things wellness.