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Should Achieving Overall Health and Wellness Be Our Goal?

Women exhibiting the beauty of health and wellness Women exhibiting the beauty of health and wellness

What is Wellness?

Is having good health not enough anymore? And, what is wellness, anyway?

Wellness is a state in which all the dimensions of a person's life are satisfied and whole, producing feelings of happiness, joy, satisfaction, and peace.

There are eight dimensions of a person's ability to live as outlined by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and they are:

Emotional
Environmental
Spiritual
Intellectual
Financial
Social
Physical
Occupational

When each of these dimensions are fulfilled to their highest levels, this ensures that a person's personal state of wellness can be reached. These dimensions are not isolated from one another and many times, they overlap and have the ability to positively or negatively affect one another. For instance, a low state of environmental wellness (messy home, cluttered office, poor neighborhood) can have an effect on a person's emotional wellness.

Similarly, one's low physical wellness (disease, illness, disability) can negatively affect one's occupational wellness. On the other hand, a high level of social wellness (great friendships, encouraging spouse, engaged mentors) can have a ripple effect and produce high level spiritual, emotional, and intellectual wellness.

While health has often leaned toward the physical dimension of wellness, wellness encompasses the myriad dimensions that make a person life's fulfilling. Our goal should not be to simply achieve health, but health and wellness.