8 Dimensions of Wellness: developing positive habits to reinforce our individual wellness

When we speak about wellness, people usually think of physical health, nutrition, exercise, and weight management. But wellness is so much more. The term wellness extends beyond the physical to mental and spiritual well-being. This means that you need to look after your body, but also engage your mind and nurture your spirit.

Debbie L. Stoewen is an educational professional and wellness specialist. She is an entrepreneur, and facilitator, committed to advancing the health and welfare of people at the intersections of industry, academia, and civic society.

According to Debbie, wellness encompasses eight mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial and environmental. These are:

1. Physical Dimensions

  • Caring for your body to stay healthy now and in the future

2. Intellectual Dimensions

  • Growing intellectually, maintaining curiosity about all there is to learn, valuing lifelong learning, and responding positively to intellectual challenges

  • Expanding knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing your gifts with others

3. Emotional Dimensions

  • Understanding and respecting your feelings, values, and attitudes

  • Appreciating the feelings of others

  • Managing your emotions in a constructive way

  • Feeling positive and enthusiastic about your life

4. Social Dimensions

  • Maintaining healthy relationships, enjoying being with others, developing friendships and intimate relations, caring about others, and letting others care about you

  • Contributing to your community

5. Spiritual Dimensions

  • Finding purpose, value, and meaning in your life with or without organized religion

  • Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values

6. Vocational Dimensions

  • Preparing for and participating in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle

  • Contributing your unique gifts, skills, and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding

7. Financial Dimensions

  • Managing your resources to live within your means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and preparing for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies

  • Being aware that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique

8. Environmental Dimensions

  • Understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your health and well-being

  • Being aware of the unstable state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment

  • Demonstrating commitment to a healthy planet”.

As we look at these eight dimensions of wellness, it becomes clear how much of our lives is governed by habits. In some cases, we can even describe habits as archetypes: patterns of behaviour that are so ingrained we cannot easily change them.

What are some habits that can help us address the 8 dimensions listed by Stowen? Well, this is up to each of us to determine individually. But looking at these dimensions, we can easily start to develop positive habits to reinforce our individual wellness. For example:

1. Physical Dimensions

  • Caring for your body to stay healthy now and in the future

Target Habit: Getting at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep


  • Turning off TV, telephone, computer and social media at 21:00

  • Taking a shower or drinking a tea to relax before bed

  • Reading fiction to relax before bed

  • Closing the blinds in your room

  • Making sure the room temperature is suited to your preferences

Target Habit: Taking a 30 minute walk between your office and home


  • Make a habit of not taking work home with you

  • Before getting home and sitting on the sofa, place your walking shoes and clothes where you will see them

  • Find a safe and attractive place to walk

  • Invite someone to walk with you to have some peer pressure to stick to the schedule

Develop your own habits, step by step, to promote wellness. We only have one life to live: there are no second takes.

Stay well and healthy!


Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life

Debbie L. Stoewen. August 2017

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