Wellness can mean many things to different people. Most of us would agree that eating well and exercising are part of wellness—also, Self-care and relaxation.

But, wellness is much more than how we care for our physical body. If we were to define wellness, it would be the actions we take to care for ourselves as multidimensional people seeking a happy and meaningful life.

This definition requires us to think of wellness as more than just our body. It encompasses every aspect of what it means to be human. Therefore, to be truly well, we must include every dimension of ourselves.

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness



Our relationships with other people have a profound effect on our wellness. And we have an impact on theirs. Our personal wellness doesn’t occur in a vacuum and is dependent on healthy interaction with people we love and who love us in return.

Strong social support makes us happy. (1) Investing in caring and loving relationships creates an environment in which we can thrive and have the freedom to express our deepest self.


We all have a spirit and are therefore spiritual beings, whether we’ve considered it before or not. This aspect of wellness is just as integral as all the others.

The value we place on ourselves, other people, and the world around us is an expression of our spiritual beliefs. When we acknowledge that people and nature have intrinsic worth, we are really acknowledging a higher power at work in the world.

What we call this higher power is less relevant than that we respect our spiritual nature and nurture it. Our wellness depends on it.


Engaging in meaningful work is key to experiencing the full definition of wellness. Whether you love what you do or merely tolerate it, finding satisfaction in a job well done contributes to your well-being. 

People who feel their job has a purpose and contributes to society are happier and more content. (2) If we are miserable at our job, it will be almost impossible to experience wellness.



While no area of wellness is more important than another, physical wellness provides an essential foundation for all the other aspects of ourselves. A healthy body allows us to actively pursue a life of meaning.

When we feel strong and energetic, it is easier to take many other steps towards complete wellness. We will be more productive at work, more patient with our family, and have the energy to invest in improving our lives.

Conversely, if we feel unhealthy physically, it saps us with the motivation to work towards a better life. When we don’t feel well, most of our effort has to go into just getting through each day. No one wants that to be their default setting.

We want to feel vibrant and healthy so we can engage in life with our whole selves.


Our emotional wellness determines how we engage with the world around us. When we have the emotional intelligence to regulate our feelings, we can approach life from a place of peace and stability. If our emotions are constantly in turmoil, it will damage our health and relationships.

Having the resources to manage our emotions is essential to wellness. Unpleasant emotions are an unavoidable part of being human. If we lack the skills to act with wisdom when faced with difficult emotions, we will be stuck in a cycle of stress and struggle.

Developing emotional intelligence is central to finding true wellness.



“Knowledge is power,” or so the saying goes. In truth, that power is knowing how to make wise decisions that lead to living a good life. 

Expanding your knowledge and learning new things opens the door to new ideas and ways of living. Besides the joy that comes from new discoveries, broadening our intellect contributes to feelings of well-being and health.


Gaining financial stability brings freedom. When money concerns do not clutter up our mental space, we are able to focus on other areas of life that are important to us. 

Poor financial health creates a burden of stress that significantly degrades our well-being. But, feeling secure financially brings the opportunity to build a better life and experience freedom and happiness.



The world we live in is constantly influencing our health. Whether it’s pollution in homes and workplaces or stress from our concern over the state of the climate, we can’t escape the role the environment plays in our lives.

Our awareness and care of the environment impact us on a spiritual level as well. How we interact with nature is an expression of our value for our place in the world. It is also essential to our social wellness to care for others enough to care for their environment.

This often-overlooked dimension of wellness is still a critical piece of the bigger picture.

Why Does Wellness Matter?

It’s not enough to know about the dimensions of wellness. We have to understand and feel for ourselves why they matter. 

What does true wellness mean for our lives? How does wellness lead to a life well-lived?

These answers may vary from person to person, but for most of us, it will come down to this: Wellness provides the health and resilience needed to face whatever life throws at us.

Dealing with Life’s Challenges


Life can be hard sometimes. We all experience periods of struggle and crisis. No one is immune. But, how we handle life’s challenges determines whether we thrive or just survive. 

The actions we take to care for our wellness, in turn, build a foundation of resilience. Being resilient means the ability to recover when facing difficult times. It’s how well we bounce back. 

Living a good life requires resilience. And to be resilient, we have to experience true wellness. We need to be well enough to bounce back from challenges in any of the eight dimensions of wellness.

How Wellness Makes Us Resilient

When you live from a state of wellness, you have the reserves to get you through trying times. Here are some examples of what that might look like:

  • If you are financially healthy, an unexpected expense won’t put you behind or negatively impact your mental health.
  • If you are occupationally healthy, it won’t send you into a spiral of frustration and questioning when a conflict arises at work. Instead, you will be confident in why you do what you do and the value you bring to your team.
  • If you are physically healthy, you are less likely to develop a chronic disease that could significantly decrease your quality of life. 
  • If you are intellectually healthy, you have interests and hobbies to use as a retreat when you need time to relax.

These are just a few ways wellness helps us thrive. Cultivating a state of wellness builds the resources we need to move through life’s challenges with courage and strength. When we are resilient, we won’t settle for staying stuck. Instead, we will have the skills to cope and come out on the other side stronger.

How Wellness Brings Us Joy


In addition to being resilient when faced with trouble, wellness also provides the opportunity to appreciate life’s joys fully. Seeking wellness in all eight areas trains us to notice the good things in life and be grateful. 

Feeling truly well gives us the emotional perspective from which to see all the ways life is going right, instead of focusing only on our struggles. 

When any one of the eight areas of wellness is out of balance or unhealthy, experiencing life’s pleasures becomes difficult. But the path of wellness allows us to see beyond a bad day or a trying month. 

True wellness frees us to find happiness, even during hard times.

How Wellness Creates Meaning

If you asked someone the meaning of life, they would probably talk most about love and connection. There is much truth to this. The ability to experience love and connection, and give it in return, is essential to a life well-lived. 

Other experiences that make life meaningful include engaging in satisfying work, connecting with a higher power, and giving to others. 

Wellness makes all these things possible. In fact, our ability to live a life of meaning flows from our state of wellness. 

Our state of wellness can quite aptly be compared to a well. If the well runs dry, you will go thirsty. All your attention will be focused on your next drink of water, and you will have little time or energy to spare on the activities that make life meaningful.

However, if you tend to your well, meaning the 8 areas of wellness, you will be filled with abundance. This abundance will enable you to move beyond just the concern for your survival and open the path to worthwhile pursuits that satisfy your search for meaning.

Wellness Is Freedom


Caring for ourselves as multidimensional beings is what wellness means. And, as our wellness and feeling of well-being increase, so does our freedom.

We become free to do what we love. We feel well enough to engage fully in what truly matters. Instead of being trapped in cycles of unhealthy habits and unhappiness, we have the resilience to choose a better life.

It takes effort and intention to work towards wellness. But, you cannot separate wellness from the action. It is our actions that determine our state of wellness and create resilience, joy, and meaning. This state of wellness leads to a life well-lived.