Breaking down wellness: Eight dimensions

So, if I’m eating right, exercising regularly and I’m not sick,

that means that I’m well… right?

That’s part of it. Nutrition and exercise are key focus areas that can set us up for best health. But, wellness goes beyond that. There are several other important ingredients that contribute to our wellness as we navigate life.

Eight different dimensions round out a wheel of optimal wellness. And, for the overachievers out there 😊, few people have a perfectly rounded wheel. It’s a lifelong process. We’re regularly working on balancing our wellness wheel as it relates to today’s set of circumstances and our life stage.

Growing your awareness by becoming familiar with all eight dimensions is the first step. I’ll touch briefly on each area.


Eight dimensions of wellness


  • Physical – Taking care of your body and giving it what it needs for healing and energy through movement. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, scheduling regular health checkups, and getting adequate sleep.
    • Getting started: try a 20-minute walk through your neighborhood | dance to upbeat music | stand up every hour & move for 3 minutes | adopt a regular sleep routine.
  • Nutritional  – Recognizing the significance of optimal nutrition and feeling confident in your ability to choose nutrient-dense food wisely. Adopting consistent eating habits that are good for your health.
    • First steps: take a close look at your pantry and/or refrigerator | learn how to read labels | experiment with new vegies and fruits | try “Meatless Mondays” | shop wisely.
  • Emotional – Awareness and acceptance of your feelings, both negative and positive. Healthy coping mechanisms and self-compassion. Feeling emotionally agile and resilient.
    • Uplifting emotional well-being: tap into humor and laughter for stress relief | immerse yourself in nature | help others | share your feelings with a trusted friend | consider professional support.
  • Spiritual – Living with meaning and purpose consistent with your values. Connecting with a higher power and tolerating the beliefs of others.
    • Nurturing your spiritual life: try personal meditation or prayer | mindful exercise (like yoga) | journaling your thoughts | try a group or individual faith-based activity.
  • Intellectual – Curious about the world around you. A mindset for growth and lifelong learning. Recognizing the importance of creative, stimulating mental activities. Stretching yourself to try new things.
    • Staying curious and open: take a class | learn a new craft or hobby | challenge yourself with games and puzzles | volunteer to teach others what you’ve learned.
  • Vocational – Personal satisfaction and fulfillment from a skillset or vocation (work or volunteer). Utilizes your strengths and maintains your functional skills and talents including leisure time vocations through hobbies and the arts.
    • Amplifying your talents: keep your skills sharp | mix it up 😊 keep trying new skills | connect with others with similar practical skills | focus on the benefits of building skills.
  • Social – Developing a true sense of connection and belonging with others and the larger world around you. Taking an active part in living in harmony with and relating well to others.
    • Strengthening connections: try a team sport | join a book club or travel group | engage with all ages and stages | participate in a neighborhood event | visit someone you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Financial – The ability to meet basic needs and manage money for the short- and long-term. Twenty five percent of Americans say they don’t have anyone to ask for trusted financial advice; and one third of adults say they’re “just getting by financially.”
    • Building healthy money habits: start a budget (or clean up your current one) | plan for big purchases | ask for help assessing your financial situation | find ways to become a more savvy consumer.

So, I’ve never thought about wellness this way.

Where do I go from here? 

By spending time on areas that need work, you’re improving your overall wellness. Round out the wheel for your unique situation and you’ll move from just surviving to thriving.

Which area(s) of the wellness wheel have you mastered?

Which areas need a little more work?

I’m here as a resource to answer your questions or help you continue your personal conversation around wellness. Reach out on my contact page.


Additional resources:

Eight Dimensions of Wellness (PDF download)

What Is Wellness

Global Wellness Institute Definition of Wellness