The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

January is Mental Wellness Month.

Wellness incorporates many dimensions of health, each of which contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing. Because wellness has a personal meaning for everyone, the path toward wellness is different for each person.

The good news is that it’s never too early – or too late – to adopt healthy habits. SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Eight Dimensions of Wellness breaks wellness into eight categories – emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual – to achieve an improved quality of life.

Embracing the Eight Dimensions of Wellness can help us:

  • Be more able to help others/get work done
  • Bounce back from stress, trauma, and burnout
  • Sleep better, improve focus, and strengthen relationships

Every day is a new opportunity to commit to mental wellbeing. Consider integrating these healthy habits from the Eight Dimensions of Wellness into your routine.

Icon of emotional wellness
Icon of lotus for spiritual wellness
Icon of lightbulb for intellectual wellness
Icon of heart for physical wellness
Icon of sun for environmental wellness
Icon of target for financial wellness
Icon of breifcase for occupational wellness
Icon of two people for social wellness

Emotional Wellness

Having the ability to cope with life stress, express emotions, and feel positive about life. It includes being aware and accepting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by managing them in a healthy way.

  • Tell someone you appreciate them
  • Be truly present when you are around loved ones
  • Put the phones away
  • Practice gratitude and self-compassion
  • Do what helps you relax and recharge

Ask for help when you need it. It's a sign of strength to reach out to resources and supports when your mental wellness is suffering.

Spiritual Wellness

Connecting to personal beliefs and values that provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

It is important to know that spiritual wellness does not mean religious practice, although religion can be one route to increase your spiritual wellness.

  • Find activities or routines that help you appreciate life
  • Connect with something larger than yourself
  • Practice meditation
  • Join a faith-based community
  • Spend time in nature
  • Increase self-reflection

Set an intention for your day. Pick a mantra that you can return to throughout your day to remind yourself of your purpose. Some examples are: “I am worthy of love and happiness.” “I am walking into today with bravery.” or “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Intellectual Wellness

Engaging in creative and stimulating activities can help us discover our own potential and understand diverse points of view.

  • Do things that help to strengthen your concentration, memory, and critical thinking skills.
  • Try something new or take up a new hobby
  • Challenge yourself to be curious and open-minded
  • Listen to and consider the perspectives of others
  • Travel more to increase your knowledge and appreciation for another culture

Do something to build self-confidence. Take up a new hobby such as knitting, baking, or painting. It doesn't matter whether you are good at it, it only matters that you are doing something new!

Physical Wellness

Developing healthy habits around nutrition, sleep, exercise, appropriate health care, stress reduction, and overall physical health.

  • Learn to listen to your body
  • Get a great night’s sleep (Strive for eight hours of sleep a night)
  • Engage in physical activity every day for 30 minutes 
  • Eat a variety of healthy food

Recognize the signs when your body begins feeling ill or tense, and take actions to take care of your body.

Environmental Wellness

Finding physical and emotional safety in our surroundings (where we work, live, and learn.)

  • A clean, safe home helps us feel at peace in our environment
  • Plant a personal or community garden
  • Take a walk outside
  • Decorate your workspace with things that bring you joy

Appreciate your surroundings. Everyday activities like driving with the windows down on a sunny day can help you appreciate your environment more.

Financial Wellness

Finding the balance between the psychological, physical, and spiritual aspects of our relationships with finance.

  • Learn more about things related to savings, income, and debt
  • Learn how to set long-term goals toward future financial objectives
  • Learn how to save
  • Reorganize your belongings and utilize what you have currently, rather than buying something new

Strive to live within your means. Track your expenses, create a financial budget, make weekly meal plans to maintain your budget goals.

Occupational Wellness

Exploring activities that align with our personal goals, belief systems, lifestyle, and values.

  • Build relationships with colleagues
  • Engage in training opportunities
  • Volunteer
  • Make a list of what you have accomplished - if you’re feeling burnt out at work, look over what you have accomplished in the past to give yourself a new sense of purpose
  • Balance work and leisure time

Manage workplace stress with this after-work checklist:
Review: acknowledge a challenge you faced, take a deep breath and let it go
Reflect: however small, consider and appreciate positives in your day
Regroup: offer support to your colleagues and ask for help when you need it
Re-energize: turn your attention to home and focus on relaxing and resting

Social Wellness

Positive, healthy, and meaningful relationships with friends, family, and the community.

  • Learn about healthy communication skills that respect yourself and others
  • Show genuine concern for those in need
  • Connect with supportive friends and family
  • Set healthy boundaries with people in your life

Join a club or a group with similar interests. By surrounding yourself with people with similar interests, you establish a strong foundation for a sense of community.

Taking care of yourself first will have a positive impact on the loved ones in your life and will make you better equipped to listen to and support your family and friends.

Three easy ways to integrate some of the dimensions this week:

  1. Cook a new recipe or a comfort dish with your family
  2. Spend 10 minutes at the beginning or end of your day stretching
  3. Set an intention for your day

Daily intentions:
“I will spend this weekend relaxing and recharging.”
“I will find a small joy in each activity I do.”
“I will nourish my body and soul this weekend.”
“I am strong and I am loved.”

When it comes to wellness, doing just a little bit is better than doing nothing at all.

Learn More

Living Authentically

Basic human needs go beyond having clean water, fresh food, and a safe place to live. Our health and happiness depend on other key needs, too – like love and … Read More

Ready, Set, Learn!

School Readiness in the Early Years The post-toddler years just before kindergarten are a time of big excitement and big transition – for both children and caregivers. During this developmental stage … Read More