Dimensions of Wellness: Change your habits, Change your life. By Debbie L. Stoewen


People often think about wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc., but it is so much more. Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit. Although it always includes striving for health, it’s more about living life fully and is “a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life that allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow”

Wellness necessitates good self-stewardship, for ourselves and for those we care about and who care about us. Sufficient self-care prevents us from harming those we serve, whether it be our spouse, kids or friendships.

Wellness encompasses 8 mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental. Attention must be given to all the dimensions, as neglect of any one over time will adversely affect the others, and ultimately one’s health, well-being, and quality of life. They do not, however, have to be equally balanced. We should aim, instead, to strive for a “personal harmony” that feels most authentic to us. We naturally have our own priorities, approaches, and aspirations, including our own views of what it means to live life fully.

Dimensions of Wellness

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

Intellectual Dimension
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

Emotional Dimension
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

Social Dimension
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

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

Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values

Vocational Dimension
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

Financial Dimension
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

Environmental Dimension
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








Making the right choices for health and well-being can be challenging. Although we know what is good for us and how we can be better, we may not act on it, or if we do, we may slide back to familiar ways. Human behavior — what we do, how we do it, and whether we will succeed; is influenced by many factors, 2 of which are self-regulation and habits.


Self-regulation is central to effective human functioning. It is our ability to direct our behavior and control our impulses so that we meet certain standards, achieve certain goals, or reach certain ideals. It allows us to act in our short- and long-term best interests, consistent with our deepest values. There’s just one limitation: self-regulation requires mental energy, and the brain is always looking for ways to conserve energy (i.e., save effort)


Habits are powerful. With about 40% of our everyday behavior repeated in the form of habits, they shape our very existence, and ultimately, our future. Habits, in fact, are key to wellness. For better or worse, habits influence health, well-being, and quality of life. If you are striving to improve these, you need to think about habits, because if you change your habits for the better, you change your life for the better

Inserting new routines is not easy. Despite knowing what’s good for us and best intentions, habits tend to keep us doing what we always do. They are difficult to change. But we can maximize the probabilities for success with 2 essentials: self-awareness and strategies.


Change becomes much more achievable if you pay attention to who you are and insert routines that take advantage of your strengths, tendencies, and aptitudes. With self-awareness, you can cultivate the habits that work for you.


Change also becomes more achievable if you choose strategies that enhance your chance for success. Such strategies include monitoring; scheduling; investing in systems of accountability, etc. New habits, on average, take 66 days to form, so the more strategies used, the better.


Change your habits, change your life

Sometimes change takes a long time. Sometimes it requires repeated experiments and failures. But for ongoing betterment, the attempts are unquestionably worthwhile and one success often leads to another. 

Wellness is a dynamic, ever-changing, fluctuating process. It is a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to become the best kind of person that you can be. The past is history; the present and future lie in the choices you make today. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; just get it going!

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