Introducing the Communique Wellness Series

Often when we think of wellness, we think only of mental and physical. However, many experts, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), agree there are eight dimensions of wellness:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Occupational
  • Financial
  • Environmental

It’s easy to disregard most of these and focus on just a few, but we are healthiest when we bring at least a little attention to each category. Neglecting one area can affect the others, as SAMHSA notes:

“When we worry about money (for example, debt or being able to afford what we need), we sometimes experience anxiety (emotional). This can lead to medical problems (physical), and trouble at work (occupational). When this happens, we may even question our own sense of meaning and purpose (spiritual). At the same time, when we are not working (occupational), we may lose opportunities to interact with others (social) and may not be able to afford the good food and medical care we need to stay well (physical). We may even need to move our home to a place that feels less safe and secure (environmental).”

Though all aspects of wellness should be considered, experts say they don’t need to be equal. The best strategy is deciding which balance of the dimensions work for you personally.

Over the next eight weeks, Communique is releasing a series of wellness-focused posts that highlight each of the eight dimensions and how you can better improve each of those for yourself with resources and strategies. Check back for ways to optimize your health and consider how you’re prioritizing the lesser-known wellness categories.

For a few resources to approach balancing the dimensions as a whole and your overall health, check out this personal wellness assessment and the SAMHSA Wellness Guide. The assessment allows you to calculate a wellness score for yourself, and guide has some questions you can ask yourself to reflect on where your emotional health is at and suggestions for when you feel that your wellness is low. Consider taking the assessment now and then again at the end of the eight-week series to see if your wellness improves.