Category: Wellness

seven dimensions of wellness

Understanding the seven dimensions of wellness

When someone mentions “wellness”, what comes to mind?

For many, they think of wellness as simply one’s physical health. Most of my patients think about eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. While these are important, they are not the only aspects of wellness.

True wellness is a complex integration of components that all contribute to your total wellbeing. When one component is out of whack, it can affect how you feel both physically and mentally. Long-term, having a wellness component off-balance can impact your ability to thrive. As a chiropractic and wellness center, a holistic approach to wellness fits within our mission for our patients. The seven dimensions of “wellness” do a great job of articulating this approach – so let’s learn more about them.

Where the dimensions came from

The model of wellness was originally developed in 1976 by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute in the US. Hettler’s model included six dimensions, with a seventh dimension (environmental) added by researchers later. Some models even include an eighth dimension, financial. Later, researchers embraced the idea of a “wellness wheel” for assessing your personal wellness. I actually filled one of these out in a workshop once.

Download your own Wellness Wheel

Seven dimensions of wellness defined

Here is a quick explanation for each dimension and some tips for what you can do to focus on that dimension of wellness.

Physical – encompassing all the behaviors to keep your body healthy….nutrition, rest, exercise but also abstaining from harmful habits and getting regular medical checkups

Some things you can do:

  • Get adequate sleep for a person of your age and feel rested the next day
  • Eat a varied, healthy diet including anti-inflammatory foods
  • Monitor and maintain a healthy weight for your age and height
  • Stay active and exercise frequently each week
  • Monitor health through regular doctor visits and proactively deal with any health issues

Emotional – being aware of and managing your emotions, maintaining a mostly positive view of yourself and others and feeling equipped to deal with life’s challenges

Some things you can do:

  • Both search out support for yourself and provide support to others
  • Gain perspective and manage your feelings during stressful times
  • Express your feelings honestly but appropriately
  • Seek the positive and find joy in everyday life
  • Be open to self-improvement and reflection

Spiritual – holding a guiding set of principles that provide a sense of purpose or direction to your life

Some things you can do:

  • Spend time alone to reflect, pray or meditate regularly
  • Seek an overall sense of peace and wellbeing
  • Listen with your heart and live by your principles
  • Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are
  • Forgive yourself and others and let bygones be bygones

Environmental – an awareness of your world, how you interact with it and your impact to it

Some things you can do:

  • Focus on what you can do to care for and show respect for the environment
  • Continually work towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Educate yourself on environmental issues so you can do more to impact them
  • Take on new ways to reduce, recycle and reuse
  • Connect with nature…and appreciate what it has to offer

Intellectual – using your mind, stimulating your brain, learning, being creative and actively seeking out new information daily

Some things you can do:

  • Pursue mentally stimulating interests or hobbies
  • Seek out people who challenge you and expand your thinking
  • Learn new things through reading, taking a course or participating in a workshop
  • Commit time to professional and self-development
  • Set intellectual goals for yourself

Occupational – making use of your skills and talents in a profession that provides satisfaction, rewards, purpose and happiness in your life

Some things you can do:

  • Explore a variety of career options until you find a good fit
  • Map out a career vision for yourself, setting goals along the way
  • Create a balance between work and other areas of your life
  • Be open to career changes and learning new skills
  • Seek a career that suits your personality as well as skills and talents

Social – having relationships that allow you to feel connected, developing intimacy and creating a support network of family and friends

Some things you can do:

  • Increase the amount of time you spend in social settings
  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas courageously
  • Get involved in activities that create social opportunities with people
  • Practice respect and cultivate new, healthy relationships
  • Join groups to create a sense of belonging and comradery

Final thoughts

Most of these dimensions interact with and even overlap with one another. Your job is to check in with yourself to assess how you are doing on each dimension from time to time. You won’t always be in balance across all seven – that’s ok! However, by reflecting on all dimensions, you’ll be able to identify ones that you need to give more attention to. Our wellness wheel should help.

So make true wellness your goal! Understanding these dimensions and monitoring your balance is the first step. As always, Dr. A, myself and the staff of Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness are here to help in whatever way we can.

Dr. Sharman

alternative to the new year's resolution

An Alternative to the New Year’s Resolution

This is the time of year. We start hearing about them. Our friends are making them. We may be making them ourselves. What am I talking about?

New Year’s Resolutions.

Am I hearing a collective groan? If so, I’m right there with you!

One reason I’m not a fan of the stereotypical resolution at the beginning of each year is that we often set ourselves up for failure due to:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Unachievable timeframe
  • Lack of a support system

Research shows that only nine percent of us who make resolutions feel successful in reaching our goals. When we don’t achieve what we resolved to, we often cannot see any accomplishment we may have made….just the fact that we fell short. How does this really help? It doesn’t.

In looking for a better approach to the New Year’s Resolution, I found that many creative, compassionate, intelligent people have come up with some amazing alternatives. There are better ways to improve our lives without the self-guilt that comes with falling short of the goal. I’m very excited to share these alternatives with you – and to hear back from you about the ones you like the best.


30-Day Challenge

Set a specific daily objective for a 30-day timeframe. If you are so inspired, come up with 12 different ones (one for each month of the year). The first one can be basic – like decluttering. What action would you be taking each day in January to declutter? It could be throwing away, donating or selling five items per day. At the end of the month, celebrate your accomplishment and decide if you want to take on a new challenge (or skip a month and pick back up in March).


Find Your People

Instead of committing to a new activity, commit to the people you want to spend time within your life. Make a list of who brings out the best in you. Who adds value to your day. Who makes you laugh and improves your mood? Get the list down to about five-eight people and plan how to spend more time with them. It could be monthly coffees, weekly walks in the park, weekend trips or even just regular hangouts at your place. Be intentional – and spend quality time with “your people”.


Decide What to Track Rather Than Pick a Goal

This one is very interesting to me! Instead of a goal, you’ll decide something to track in your life. It could be how you spend your money, what you eat (food log), how much you use social media…anything. The idea is to decide on your metric and what you’ll measure rather than a measurement goal. A goal may evolve out of it, but in the beginning, you focus on tracking. And perhaps the act of tracking will result in the implementation of a goal (like weight loss).


Focus on Gratitude

Practicing gratitude regularly can have an amazing impact on your life. Start by making a list of things you are grateful for, then think about why. Reflect on this list as well as what doesn’t make it on the list (that can be equally insightful). Then make a list of people you are grateful for. Write each person a note sharing why you appreciate having them in your life (without expectation of a response). Go through this exercise as often as you like throughout the year and see how good it makes you feel!


RELATED: Attitude of Gratitude


Pick a Word of the Year

Find a word to serve as the inspiration for the new year. The idea is that this single word will give you clarity and help you focus in a particular direction. To get to the word, make a list of all kinds of things you’d like to accomplish throughout the year. You should see a theme come to light that can be encapsulated in a single word: joy, relaxation, friendship, discipline, wellness, etc. Whatever it is, that word can be your guide for the new year. Make a poster for your room, write it on your bathroom mirror, buy a keychain with the word on it – then commit the year to that word!


Do an Experiment Each Week

Decide to make the new year a year of curiosity rather than difficult change. Establish weekly experiments to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, try a new activity or discover a new passion. One week you can talk to five strangers to see what happens (new friends, new perspectives). Another week you can decide to do your exercise before work instead of after by going for a brisk walk in the morning. Another you can taste a new food each day to try to expand your diet (you may actually love Brussel sprouts and not know it!). This approach lets you try out a variety of things to decide which ones you want to keep going with. You never know what you may discover about yourself… and what you want to become a permanent habit.

In conclusion, don’t sweat the New Year’s Resolution, and please don’t think you have to do it like everyone else does! There is no one right way to make a change in the new year. Try one of these options – and be sure to let me know which ones you like!


Dr. Sharman


Resources for this article (and more good ideas not mentioned):