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UNDERSTANDING WELLNESS

May 23, 2013

The Growing Popularity of Wellness
Today alone, when I entered a search for “wellness” in Google, it got quite a few hits. 293,000,000 of them to be exact! So I started to think about how so many of the people I know all have their own ideas about what wellness actually is.

What Is Wellness?
According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wellness is a life mission; something ongoing throughout our lives. It is about being in a state of existence that is directed toward becoming the best we can possibly be. Wellness is about enriching all components of who we are; our physical self, our intellectual self, our emotional self, our social self, our spiritual self and our environmental self.

Wellness Wheel

Wellness Wheel

In order to achieve wellness, we reach for maximum achievement in each of the six areas of our lives, each and every day. It is important that we understand each area separately so we can integrate them into a complete whole.

THE DIMENSIONS OF WELLNESS

1. Emotional – The ability to express and display emotions comfortably and effectively in a healthy way. Emotional wellness involves healthy self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy, as well as demonstrating healthy responses and reactions to issues of trust, love and other deep emotions.

2. Intellectual – The ability to learn and grow from experience and intellectual capabilities. Strong, solid decision making abilities are crucial to intellectual wellness.

3. Social – When we are able to develop and maintain satisfying inter-personal relationships and show the ability to appreciate and respect individual differences, we are demonstrating social wellness. It is also important to be able to adapt to various social situations regularly.

4. Environmental – Being able to show an appreciation for our external environment and having a desire to preserve and improve its conditions reflects environmental wellness.

5. Physical – Characteristics like body size, shape, body functions, sensory acuity, and being susceptible to and the ability to recuperate from diseases and disorders are all considered part of the physical component of wellness. It also involves taking personal responsibility for our own health care and striving for positive lifestyle behaviors such as good nutrition and regular exercise.

6. Spiritual – This area involves searching for purpose and meaning in human existence. It includes developing and exploring a personal belief system with established values and beliefs. It is also about creating and maintaining a sense of inner peace

And, in the middle of these branches of our lives is the self, centered and balanced. As each area of our lives expands and becomes more enriched, we ourselves reach more of who we were meant to be. We achieve more of our full potential. No area is left out of the equation. All make up the cumulative person we are meant to be, and each component is equally as important as any of the others.

Like the earth – always in motion, spinning and rotating on its axis, we too need to be in constant motion, improving and enriching all the different areas of our lives; and working toward a unified, actualized self – a being of wellness.

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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