The Six Dimensions of Wellness

by Mental Movement Magazine

According to the National Wellness Institute, there are six dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spirit.

Once we have addressed all six dimensions of wellness in our lives, we can start to build a holistic sense of wellness and self-actualization. Dr Bill Hettler, the co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, has provided us with a powerful tool to categorize, in which NWI derive its resources and services.

Definition of Wellness

The National Wellness Institute’s definition of wellness is as follows:

“Wellness is a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving your full potential. Further, wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment. Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Let’s take a closer look at the six dimensions of wellness:

Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness fluctuates with the other six dimensions of wellness. Possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as fear, happiness, and sadness defines an individual’s emotional wellness.

Emotional wellness gives an individual the ability to love and be loved. It incorporates positivity, self-worth, self-acceptance, and their outlook on sharing feelings.

Tips for optimal emotional wellness:

  • Become part of your thoughts and feelings
  • Foster a bright attitude
  • Seek and provide support
  • Learn time-management skills
  • Learn stress management techniques
  • Accept and forgive yourself

Intellectual Dimension

The intellectual dimension emboldens creative, stimulating mental activities. Just as our body’s do, our minds need constant and consistent stimulation. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn all through their life. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills.

Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness include the following:

  • Reading
  • Take a course
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
  • Learn to appreciate art


Occupational/Vocational wellness involves preparing and making use of your skills and talents in order to gain determination, contentment, and enrichment in your life. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment.

Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellness include the following:

  • Create an image for your future
  • Explore a diversity of career options
  • Choose an occupation that suits your interests, and strengths
  • Learn new skills


Physical wellness integrates an assortment of strong and healthy behaviours including exercise, and proper nourishment. Physical wellness means that you will need to learn about and identify symptoms of illness, guard yourself against harm, and get medical checkups on a consistent basis. By developing healthy habits young, it will help to enhance the enjoyment and quality for the rest of your life.

Tips for optimal physical wellness include the following:

  • Exercise on a consistent basis
  • Get acceptable rest
  • Use protective equipment when necessary
  • Learn to recognize early signs of disease
  • Eat an assortment of healthy foods
  • Stop smoking and use alcohol in moderation

Social: Social Dimension

Social wellness denotes your ability to interact effectively in your community and live up to your opportunities and demands of your personal roles. These means learning honest communication skills, developing intimate relationships and create a support network with family members and friends. You will also learn to show respect to yourself and other people. When you contribute to your community, you build a sense of belonging.

Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include the following:

  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas with others
  • Encourage healthy relationships with others
  • Get involved and contribute with your community
  • Share your abilities with others

Spiritual Dimension:

Spiritual wellness entails the ownership of a set of principles, values, or morals that help give direction to an individual’s life. The spiritual dimension incorporates commitment, faith, and confidence to your specific beliefs, which provide a sense of meaning and purpose.

The spiritual dimension is also a willingness to pursue meaning and purpose in your own existence, to question everything, and to appreciate those things, which cannot be readily described or understood.

Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness include the following:

  • Discover your spiritual core
  • Spend time alone and meditate regularly
  • Be inquisitive and curious
  • Be present in everything you do
  • Listen with your heart and live by your moralities
  • Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are
  • See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you

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