Delaware County, Indiana

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Community Wellness

Dimensions of Wellness

What does wellness mean to you? Wellness is more than being free from illness. Wellness is a dynamic process of change and growth. There are many interrelated dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and occupational. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health.

wellness model diagram; six realms of wellness
The Physical Dimension

The Physical Dimension of Wellness for an adult includes all aspects of keeping your body functioning at its maximum capacity over the entire lifespan; delaying the onset of disease or dysfunction until the last stages of life is the ultimate goal. Exercise, nutrition, weight management, self-care habits, stress reduction, sleep, and prevention behaviors all contribute to keeping the body moving adequately to fulfill its daily requirements. Physical wellness enables us to remain independent and stay fully engaged in a movement oriented, lifestyle integrating social, vocational, and environmental tasks.

The Intellectual Dimension

Intellectual wellness for adults involves embracing lifetime learning. The realization that learning doesn't end once you have completed a formal education is key to growing and changing in order to continually respond to the world around us. Maintaining a sense of wonder and curiosity and staying intellectually stimulated helps sustain a vital existence long into the lifespan. There is a constant human need and desire to be creative and innovative.  Also, a constant need to explore new and exciting subjects to expand our collective knowledge of our environment and of the unknown.  Finding a way to express these qualities is life affirming. Using knowledge effectively in all aspects in your life, with friends or family, in work or volunteer efforts is a never ending process.  An intellectually mature person seeks to discover and understand many divergent points of view, even if they conflict, in order to develop an informed personal point of view.  Acquiring new skills, developing new ideas, having the ability to interpret and articulate what you think about what you've learned contributes to being intellectually well.

The Social Dimension

The social dimension for adults includes being able to create and sustain relationships with, family, friends, peers, and acquaintances over time. Developing appropriate levels of intimacy within those relationships is key for establishing mutual nurturing, feelings of support, camaraderie, and friendship. These are the things that sustain us through life, in good times, and bad. Exhibiting an awareness that relationships are dynamic and changing things, that many interests are involved and that successful relationships often call for compromise can help establish trust in a mutual benefit, a ground stone of intimacy. Having the ability to communicate well, address issues that invariably arise within relationships and being able to work through them with friends, family, or significant others represents maturing social behavior.   Accepting and giving support, nurturing others as well as letting other people support and care for you can also demonstrate social maturity. Also, realizing that there is a legitimate need for fun and leisure time to reconnect with people, recharge the psyche, and invigorate the spirit is very important for our social well-being.

The Emotional Dimension

Emotional Wellness for adults includes experiencing and expressing a wide range of feelings, developing abilities to cope with life's occurrences through giving and receiving support and learning to trust and rely on one's ability to deal with any situation. Emotional maturity allows us to develop meaningful connections with other beings and to acknowledge a level of interdependence. Emotional balance allows for diverse reactions to life events while maintaining an ability to function within cultural societies. Emotional wellness enables us to live fully engaged lives that can be shared intimately with others who are important to us.

The Occupational  Dimension 

Occupational Wellness for adults includes being able to identify your skills, abilities, and interests in order to incorporate them into your life's work. Being willing to continually learn and explore many career options keeps you flexible and able to respond to different economic cycles.  Becoming a lifelong learner opens new possibilities for finding talents, interests, and passions that may develop into a career. Being able to work at a job that you feel passionate about enables you to obtain a higher job satisfaction.  Putting your skills and abilities to use, you gain a sense of purpose and meaning and enrich your life. An occupationally mature person seeks to find a healthy balance between social and work life and has examined many different interpretations of success to define what it may mean for him or herself.  An occupationally well person sets goals and outlines ways to attain them.

The Spiritual Dimension

Spiritual wellness for adults involves reflecting upon what inspires and motivates each individual intrinsically. Spiritual wellness encompasses exploring the meanings found in life and uncovering truths, as each person knows them to be. Spirituality is highly individual and can be expressed in many ways. The wellness journey is about discovering how you choose to explore and express your individual self.  Often times this journey involves questioning existence, connecting with people and animals in meaningful ways, developing relationships of faith, sharing one's beliefs, and exchanging energy through thought and deed with other entities within the Universe.  Spiritual maturity enables us to find a peaceful co-existence with others who do not share our belief systems.  Spiritual commitment encourages us to look for common threads in our beliefs and to celebrate what joins us.  Spiritual wellness enables us to come to terms with our existence and order our experiences around our beliefs and goals. 
* Contributions in part by Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology, Ball State University. Muncie, Indiana
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