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Wellness refers to an optimal state of wellbeing in the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social dimensions (Floyd, Mimms & Yelding, 2007). These dimensions interact in varied ways to determine the quality of an individual’s life. They affect different aspects of life. Therefore, it is important to focus on improving each one of them. An optimal state of wellbeing requires a healthy balance in the development of the mind, body, and spirit (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015).
If anyone of them is ignored, the others are affected adversely. A healthy mind results in a healthy body and soul, while a healthy body results in a healthy mind and soul. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), wellness refers to complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing (Edlin & Golanty, 2014). It matters because of its role in influencing the quality of life, emotions, actions, and interactions with other people (Floyd et al., 2007). Wellness is a dynamic process of change and growth that helps individuals to become self-aware with regard to their choices and decisions, which enhance health, happiness, and fulfillment.
Physical wellness involves the attainment of good health through proper diet, engagement in physical exercise, and eradication of diseases (Das, 2010). This dimension allows people to execute their daily tasks without being overly fatigued and stressed. One of the most important aspects of obtaining physical wellness is the realization that behaviors, choices, and decisions affect the quality of life in various ways. Therefore, adopting healthy habits and refraining from destructive habits is important. Activities that lead to optimal physical wellness include regular physical exercise, habitual medical checkups, avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, immunization against diseases, eating a proper diet, consuming the recommended amount of water intake daily, and getting enough sleep (Das, 2010).
Qualities of physical wellness include physical strength, high confidence and self-esteem, high levels of energy, cheerfulness, determination, focus, and self-control. Destructive habits, indolence, and poor diets are the main hindrances to this dimension of wellness (Floyd et al., 2007). Optimal wellness enhances people’s lives by increasing their productivity, performance, and output at work and in family matters. In addition, it improves their attitudes towards life and other people (Edlin & Golanty, 2014).
Decisions and actions are determined by the level of wellness attained. For instance, optimal wellness results in positive beliefs, feelings, and opinions, while lacking physical wellness results in negative feelings, beliefs, and opinions. Pursuing wellness could prompt some people to ignore other important aspects of their lives, such as family and career (Floyd et al., 2007). Research suggests that people should engage in regular physical exercise, avoid sedentary lifestyles, and eat healthy foods in order to attain complete wellness (Edlin & Golanty, 2014). Physical wellness has far-reaching implications than other dimensions of wellness if not pursued persistently.
Emotional wellbeing involves the complete recognition, acceptance, and embracement of one’s emotions (Das, 2010). This dimension is very important because emotions play a key role in determining the quality of decisions, outlook on life, and behavior. It determines how well people are able to cope with life challenges. Emotional wellness allows individuals to alter their situations by recognizing that they are in control of their emotions and can change them (Floyd et al., 2007). Effective expression of feelings is an important aspect of reducing stress, developing autonomy, and improving decision-making skills. Qualities of emotional wellness include optimism, strong relationships, enthusiasm, conscientiousness, prudence, self-control, compassion, patience, joy, happiness, and calmness (Edlin & Golanty, 2014).
Issues that hinder the attainment of this dimension include stress, negative mental attitudes, denial of feelings, lack of mindfulness, failure to accept and learn from mistakes, and imbalances in other dimensions (Edlin & Golanty, 2014). Strategies for improvement include the development of autonomy, management of emotions, acceptance of personal feelings, and stress management through therapy and counseling (Das, 2010). It is important to seek help from other people in order to address emotions that could build up to dangerous levels. Emotional wellbeing results in positive opinions, beliefs, and feelings that have positive outcomes (Fair, 2009).
In contrast, lack of emotional wellness results in destructive beliefs and opinions that are detrimental to the quality of life. Positive implications of emotional wellness include a better understanding of self, reduced risk of attracting conditions such as depression, and stronger relationships and interactions with other people (Floyd et al., 2007).
Pursuing emotional wellness can lead to self-abnegation in search of acceptance from society. This has a negative influence on individuality and self-reliance. According to research, individuals should practice relaxation techniques, participate in therapy and counseling, focus on self-care, observe mindfulness, and learn effective ways of expressing their emotions because these approaches improve emotional wellbeing (Floyd et al., 2007). In addition, research suggests that individuals should take their emotional wellness seriously because emotions play a very critical role in influencing decisions and behaviors. Ignoring this dimension can have far-reaching implications on the quality of life.
The spiritual dimension of wellness involves a vigorous search for the purpose and meaning of life as well as the embracement of nature and its forces (Floyd et al., 2007). Enhancing spirituality does not involve a belief in God, even though belief in a higher power makes life more meaningful. Spirituality is individualized and attained in different ways. Many people ignore the importance and impact of spiritual wellness in their lives. This dimension is inevitable because, in order to attain personal fulfillment, it is vital to find the meaning of human existence. Examples of qualities that demonstrate spiritual wellness include a great appreciation of nature, development of a life purpose, ability to forgive, calm navigation of life’s challenges, compassion, happiness, purpose-driven living, value-based decisions, and deep appreciation of meditation and mindfulness (Floyd et al., 2007).
In addition, highly spiritual people are able to distinguish between right and wrong and practice their beliefs and values without fear of contradiction or reprimand. This dimension allows individuals to find the meaning and purpose of their existence. In addition, it enables them to appreciate the various life experiences they encounter as important aspects of their human existence. It establishes a balance between the inner self and the outside world in a way that brings peace and harmony. The human spirit is indestructible and possesses powers that the mind and body lack. It empowers individuals to go through the toughest situations in their lives without losing hope or giving up. Issues that may hinder spiritual wellness include fear, self-indulgence, resistance to change, unwillingness to make certain sacrifices, and hopelessness (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015).
Strategies for improvement include meditation, mindfulness, reflection, embracement of personal values, and making decisions that are consistent with one’s values and principles (Floyd et al., 2007). Spiritual wellness makes life meaningful and gives individuals a sense of worth. It is easy to give up hope and resign to fate due to a lack of meaning and purpose in life. Many people confuse religion and spirituality. Even though both concepts are different, religion can be used as a way of improving one’s spirituality. According to research, developing personal beliefs, values, and principles is important in the attainment of states such as compassion, love, altruism, purpose, and happiness (Floyd et al., 2007).
In addition, actions and decisions are affected by individual beliefs, values, and convictions significantly. Life becomes meaningful when each experience and event in life improves the quality of life in any dimension of wellness. The positive implications of spiritual wellness include acceptance of other people’s beliefs, compassion, enhanced morality, meaningful lives, and improved societal harmonization. Negative implications of spirituality arise whenever religion is part of the wellness path. Certain religious beliefs impart feelings of guilt, fear, and low self-esteem. In addition, believing that such situations in life are a result of weak spirituality could cause negative outcomes. Finally, highly spiritual people sometimes substitute medical intervention with their spirituality by believing that their faith can eradicate diseases (Edlin & Golanty, 2014).
Research has shown that spiritual wellness has a positive impact on health outcomes because of the beliefs, attitudes, and practices that spiritual people embrace. Spirituality eradicates stressful feelings and promotes healthy behaviors. Spiritual people deal better with conditions such as anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and chronic illnesses than non-spiritual people (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015).
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Intellectual wellness is the attainment of optimal mental abilities through engagement in creative and stimulating activities that furnish specific skills and knowledge (Fair, 2009). This dimension also involves the realization of human potential through participation in activities that develop talents and aptitudes for the betterment of humanity. Learning is an important part of life that emancipates people from ignorance and poor lifestyles (Floyd et al., 2007).
This dimension is important because it stimulates individual and societal growth. Individual growth is attained through the use of available information to improve other dimensions of wellness. On the other hand, societal growth is attained through the generation of knowledge that is shared with other people in order to improve the quality of their lives. Examples of qualities that demonstrate intellectual wellness include exploration of new ideas, innovation, participation in academic activities, reading, curiosity, and embracement of mental stimulation (Edlin & Golanty, 2014).
Curiosity is the main reason why people explore new things, develop new ideas and concepts, and find solutions to problems that persist in society. Solving societal problems is an example of how important intellectual wellness is to human existence. Mental stimulation is sought in activities such as debates, discussions, reading, and research (Fair, 2009). Improving intellectual wellness allows people to solve problems, improve creativity, and increase their knowledge in various fields of study. This dimension is very important because it augments the other dimensions in various ways. For instance, learning is an important aspect of improving any dimension of wellness because it enables individuals to evaluate and analyze available literature regarding the improvement of those dimensions. People who are passionate about their intellectual wellness learn new skills in order to grow, search for activities that stimulate their minds, and embrace opportunities that prompt them to use their creativity (Floyd et al., 2007).
The positive implications of this dimension include improved creativity, attainment of knowledge and skills, exploration of one’s potential, and access to numerous opportunities. Negative implications include pride, reactivity, and unwillingness to pursue other dimensions such as spirituality (Fair, 2009). This dimension can be improved by reading voraciously, participating in creative endeavors, learning new things and taking intellectual challenges, and using knowledge to solve problems. Other useful strategies include cultural involvement, exploration of hobbies, and participation in community programs (Floyd et al., 2007).
People who are intellectually well-pursuing endeavors that increase their knowledge and skills. Open-mindedness is a requisite for intellectual wellness because people always encounter new ideas, cultures, beliefs, values, and environments that require change. Open-mindedness facilitates creative and critical thinking, open discussions on critical matters, acceptance of other people’s values, and embracement of new ideologies (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015).
The quality of beliefs and opinions is primarily affected by an individual’s level of wellness. Lack of knowledge on certain matters results in poor opinions and beliefs. For instance, if an individual possesses little knowledge on a certain issue, they are likely to harbor poor opinions that express their lack of knowledge on that issue. According to research, exploring hobbies, constant learning, and embracing challenges are effective ways of improving intellectual wellness (Floyd et al., 2007). People with optimal wellness think critically, develop their own ideas, challenge conventional ways of doing things, and use their time effectively in the pursuance of meaningful endeavors that contribute to personal growth.
This dimension of wellness involves the creation of symbiotic relationships, effective interactions with people who exhibit different characters and personalities, and mastery of communication skills (Fair, 2009). It also involves developing respect for oneself and others because human relations are inevitable in the attainment of health and happiness. Social wellness is characterized by the existence of support systems that include family members, relatives, and friends who offer emotional, spiritual, economic, and social support to each other (Floyd et al., 2007).
This dimension is important because the development of strong relationships is an essential part of achieving fulfillment in life. In addition, it empowers individuals to develop skills such as assertiveness, confidence, compassion, and self-esteem (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015).
These skills affect other dimensions of wellness positively. Social wellness encourages communication, which is a component of conflict management and human interaction. Qualities that demonstrate wellness in this dimension include sociability, strong relationships, participation in social activities, strong friendships, and excellent communication skills. People who exhibit optimal social wellness express themselves assertively, engage in community activities, create strong social networks, like fun, possess excellent communication skills, and are respectful. Issues that may hinder improvement include introversion, antisocial behaviors, poor communication skills, and conditions such as depression and anxiety. Poor communication skills deny individuals the opportunity to express themselves clearly, present ideas, and convey their feelings. Social wellness can be improved by creating more friendships, seeking and providing support from family and friends, taking part in social activities, seeking fun activities, and embracing diversity (Floyd et al., 2007).
The positive implications of this dimension include strong family and friendship ties, rewarding interactions, and acceptance of diversity in society. Social wellness affects people’s feelings, beliefs, and opinions significantly. For instance, teenagers are victims of peer pressure that shapes most of their decisions, opinions, and behaviors. According to research, social wellness has a great impact on physical health (Hoeger & Hoeger, 2015). Social connectedness has direct implications on the functioning of the immune system, motor skill retention, and overall wellness. Research has also linked isolation to health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. People who have strong networks of friends are happier and healthier compared to people who prefer to spend time alone. Social interactions facilitate the expulsion of stress and emotions. Therefore, they have positive influences on physical and mental wellbeing.
Success, fulfillment, and happiness are attained by actively pursuing physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual wellness throughout life. These dimensions of wellness play different roles in people’s lives. In addition, they interact in various ways to affect the quality of life. Each of these dimensions is developed differently and affects the feelings, opinions, decisions, and actions of individuals significantly. Therefore, it is important to pursue wellness persistently and with dedication. Physical wellness involves the maintenance of good health through activities such as physical exercise, proper diet, and sleep.
Emotional wellness involves the acceptance and expression of emotions that affect people’s actions, behaviors, and decisions. Life takes meaning when people embrace spirituality through reflection, mindfulness, and meditation. Spirituality is developed in many ways that vary from culture to culture. However, its impact on people’s lives is similar. Intellectual wellness involves the active pursuance of activities that instill knowledge and skills and, at the same time, developmental faculties. Innovation is one of the positive implications of intellectual wellness. Research studies have shown that each of these dimensions is important in the attainment of fulfillment in life. In addition, they have shown that these dimensions interact in different ways to determine the quality of life. Ignorance is one of them results in poor outcomes that affect different aspects of human life.
Das, B. (2010). New Textbook, Health and Wellness for Life Outlines the Six dimensions of Wellness. Web.
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Floyd, P., Mimms, S., & Yelding, C. (2007). Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyles. New York, NY: Cengage Learning. Web.
Hoeger, W., & Hoeger, S. (2015). Principles and Labs for Fitness and Wellness. New York, NY: Cengage Learning. Web.