Article originally published February 13, 2018, on The Legacy Insitute’s blog.
(This article was updated on 3/10/2018 to add an eighth dimension to the pyramid, the financial wellbeing dimension was added as level four.)
We recognize that our purpose here on earth is greater than doing things or collecting things. Here at the Legacy Institute, we seek to provide our practitioners a holistic set of tools and information to empower them in increasing their clients’ happiness and satisfaction with their life’s journeys. The search for balance in life leads one to examine their holistic wellbeing. Holistic Wellbeing is the pursuit of continued growth and balance in the eight dimensions of wellbeing. A lot of people think about “wellbeing” in terms of physical health only. The word invokes thoughts of nutrition, exercise, weight management, blood pressure, etc. Wellbeing, however, is much more than physical health. Holistc wellbeing is a full integration of all six dimensions of our physical reality, as well as our mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is a complex set of interactions that when balanced together leads to quality of life.
Holistic Wellbeing is commonly viewed as having eight dimensions. Each dimension contributes to our own sense of wellbeing or quality of life, and each affects and overlaps the others. At times one may be more prominent than others, but the neglect of any one dimension for any extended length of time may have adverse effects on overall health and often is the cause of “dis-ease.”
Exploring The Eight Dimensions of Holistic Wellbeing
Level 1 – Environmental Wellbeing Dimension
Many people focus on the grander scale of the environment when discussing this particular dimension focusing on cleaner air, oceans and conservation efforts. We like to think of it in a much more personal sense. We define our environment as the places where we spend our time. This does include the oceans and the great outdoors, but more directly we see it as our bedrooms, homes, offices, cars, etc. These are our personal environments. Environmental wellness is an awareness of the unstable state of balance in our homes and communities as well as across the entire earth and the effects of our daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony within our homes and throughout the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. It starts will cleaning and organizing our personal quarters.
Tips and suggestions for optimal environmental wellness:
- Explore the Chinese principles of Fung Shui for your home and/or office
- Deep clean and organize the place you spend most of your time
- Stop your junk mail
- Conserve water and other resources
- Minimize chemical use
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Renew your relationship with the earth
Level 2 – Physical Wellbeing Dimension
Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors including adequate exercise, proper nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. It means learning about and identifying symptoms of disease, getting regular medical checkups, and protecting yourself from injuries and harm. Developing such healthy habits today will not only add years to your life but will enhance the enjoyment and quality of those years.
Tips for optimal physical wellness:
- Exercise daily
- Get adequate rest
- Use seat belts, helmets, and other protective equipment
- Learn to recognize early signs of illness
- Eat a variety of healthy foods
- Control your meal portions
- Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
- Use alcohol in moderation, if at all
Level 3 – Emotional Wellbeing Dimension
Emotional wellbeing is a dynamic state that fluctuates frequently with your other six dimensions of wellbeing. Being emotionally well is typically defined as possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger. Our clients have found wellness in this dimension more attainable when once they recognize they are the Observer of their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Having an awareness that you are not these things and separate seems to promote wellness. It means having the ability to love and be loved and achieving a sense of fulfillment in life. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings.
Tips for optimal emotional wellbeing:
- Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings
- Cultivate an optimistic attitude
- Seek and provide support
- Learn time management skills
- Practice stress management techniques
- Accept and forgive yourself
Level 4 – Financial Wellbeing Dimension
The financial dimension challenges us to master our economic landscape. In this dimension we seek to develop satisfaction with both our current and our future financial situations. Financial Wellbeing includes our relationship with money, skills to manage resources to live within our means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and learning to prepare for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. Part of this dimension includes an awareness that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique. Most express a need to expand their knowledge of financial matters and understanding of the tools available to find mastery in this dimension.
Tips and suggestions for optimal Financial Wellbeing include:
- Develop and stick-to a balanced and written budget
- Learn to understand and apply the Rich Dad Poor Dad Cash Flow Quadrants
- Make and execute a plan to eliminate your debt
- Consult a financial professional for advice and guidance
- Continue your financial education through live seminars, webinars, YouTube videos, books, magazines, etc.
Suggested Resources/Reading for Financial Wellbeing:
Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences – his two fathers. One father (Robert’s real father) was a highly educated man but fiscally poor. The other father was the father of Robert’s best friend – that Dad was an eighth-grade drop-out who became a self-made multi-millionaire. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his poor dad pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his rich dad. Taking that message to heart, Kiyosaki was able to retire at 47.
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Level 5 – Intellectual Wellbeing Dimension
The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.
Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness include:
- Take a continuing education course or workshop
- Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
- Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
- Read, Read, Read
- Learn to appreciate art in all its forms
Level 6 – Social Wellbeing Dimension
Social wellness refers to our ability to interact successfully with our global community and to live up to the expectations and demands of our personal roles. This means learning good communication skills, developing intimacy with others, and creating a support network of friends and family members.
Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. When we see those we interact with as mirrors of ourselves, we have opportunities to grow and develop a deeper understanding through what we see. Contributing to your community and to the world builds a sense of belonging.
Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include:
- Cultivate healthy relationships
- Get involved
- Contribute to your community
- Share your talents and skills
- Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas
Level 7 – Spiritual Wellbeing Dimension
Spiritual wellness involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose. It is willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence, to question everything and to appreciate the things which cannot be readily explained or understood.
A spiritually well person seeks harmony between what lies within as well as the forces outside.
Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:
- Explore your spiritual core
- Spend time alone/meditate regularly
- Be inquisitive and curious
- Be fully present in everything you do
- Listen with your heart and live by your principles
- Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are
- See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you
Level 8 – Occupational Wellbeing Dimension
Occupational/Vocational wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. Oprah instructs us to seek to find our bliss, the thing that brings us joy, and then seek to find a way to make money or monetize whatever it is that brings you such joy. The development of occupational satisfaction and wellness is related to your attitude about your work. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment. Occupational wellness means successfully integrating a commitment to your occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding.
Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellbeing include:
- Ask yourself if you would do anything at all with no limitations
- Consider what your life’s journey has prepared you for that is unique
- Create a vision for your future
- Choose a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and talents
- Be open to change and learn new skills
Now that you have reviewed all eight dimensions of holistic wellbeing what are the first things that come to mind? What are you going to do differently in your life to achieve more balance and wellbeing? Do you have a better understanding of how everything in our entire world impacts our holistic wellbeing?