When most of us think of wellness, we automatically think of physical health. We try to maintain a healthy body and hope that will ward off serious illness in the future. However, while physical health is crucial to good health, wellness has many dimensions beyond the physical. In fact, many experts believe there are 6 dimensions of wellness.
1. Emotional health
Understanding our emotions and finding healthy ways of expressing them is important to emotional health. Learn to accept your limitations and embrace ways to form healthy relationships with others. Maintain a sense of perspective, and learn to control emotions like sadness, anger, or frustration.
2. Spiritual health
Having a purpose in life and feeling that life is meaningful leads to spiritual health. Take some quiet time to discover the morals, ethics, and values that guide your decision making, and try to stick with those during problematic times.
3. Social health
Maintaining healthy relationships with others leads to a healthier you. Try to learn ways to relate well with others, whether they are family members, coworkers, or friends. Practice communication skills and try to be the kind of friend or spouse you would like to have.
4. Environmental health
A healthier planet leads to healthier inhabitants, so not only should you protect yourself from environmental hazards, such as wearing sunscreen or staying indoors on smoggy days, but you should also look for ways to help the earth's health. Recycle or reuse items that you can, and donate used clothing, cell phones, or old computers to non-profit organizations that can refurbish them, thereby keeping them out of landfills.
5. Intellectual health
You've probably heard of the phrase "use it or lose it." That is particularly true for the brain. As we age, there is a natural progression of a slowing of the brain's functions, but you can combat this by working your brain every day. Keep your mind active with learning, creativity, and problem solving. Read up on current events each day. Paint, draw, or build something with your hands. Take a continuing education course at a local college, or join a book club. Even working a crossword puzzle each day can help to keep the mind active.
6. Physical health
Maintain a healthy body through proper nutrition, exercise, and the avoidance of harmful habits, such as smoking or alcohol abuse. Make sure you exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil. Visit your dentist regularly, since dental health can affect the rest of your body. Seek medical attention when necessary.
Since our bodies and minds are interrelated, true wellness depends of integrating all of the above factors for a more holistic approach to good health. Monitoring and trying to improve in these 6 areas can lead to a happier, healthier you, which can ward off illnesses or diseases.
Physical health is probably the easiest to monitor. For a baseline of your body's physical health, consider getting a mobile health screening, which is convenient, painless, and non-invasive. You will find information quickly about your risk for heart attack or stroke.