What are the seven dimensions of wellness and how to achieve the balance?

Wellness in general is misinterpreted as being free of disease. Disease may not be optional. But suffering is optional. We can achieve wellness by integrating seven dimensions and by creating a balance within those seven dimensions. We all are made in a unique way and we have to identify what brings us peace and joy by analyzing every aspect of life.

Physical wellness 

This includes how we function with our physical body in everyday life. The proper nutrition and regular exercise routine nurtures our physical body. 

In modern medicine we use the term Body Mass Index – BMI to assess the desired weight for the height. But it is a general assessment tool it and can vary from different ethnicity, level of activity and our body composition. 

Ayurveda categorizes individuals in three different types of body constitution – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and proposes nutritional and exercise routines based upon the different body types. This is based upon the five elements of nature. Ayurveda also talks about diurnal, seasonal and individual variations due to aging which can change our nutritional requirements from time to time.

Nutrition should be looked as a comprehensive topic. The word diet can be misleading. In this modern internet era following a specific diet or meal plan is very tempting but the goal of being well should be remembered while adapting any of those lifestyle changes. If you are emotionally unstable because of that diet or lifestyle routine like fasting that diet or routine may not be ideal for you even if it causes weight loss. 

Physical activity should not be mistaken with planned exercise. In general we can group physical activity in to four categories. 

Physical fitness– Measured objective state of Fitness (for example, how many sit ups you can do in a minute)

Exercise– Planned repetitive physical movements done with a purpose to improve physical fitness. 

Physical Movement– Any kind of movement we do during the day.

NEAT– Non exercise associated thermogenesis. This includes movement that we do without the intention of moving- like talking, singing, fidgeting etc.

Remember if you exercise with a fear of disease you could cause injury to your body and mind. Disease can come and go but moving and stretching can bring joy and peace to the body and mind.

Emotional wellness 

This is a topic to be discussed by itself in detail. Emotions allow us to feel and express our thoughts. Emotional wellness includes optimism, self-esteem and self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves as we are it brings us joy and peace. As we mentioned earlier we all are unique in our own way and that is the beauty of creation. In Sanskrit the word Poornam is used to describe completeness. According to Vedanta ancient Indian Philosophy, we all are complete as we are. We don’t need something else to make us complete. Once we accept ourselves as we are, self-compassion and self-love automatically flows which leads to emotional wellness.

Intellectual wellness 

If we go deeper in body mind analysis the word intellect or Buddhi is often used to describe where our logical analysis take place. In Vedantic literature the word Antahkarana is used to describe the four different parts of our internal organ. 

The ego or Ahankara identifies as I. We create a self-image about ourselves. The Buddhi or intellect controls our decision making around this self-image. The manas or mind then pulls as towards or away from the stimuli around us. The chitta is our memory component which deals with remembering and forgetting.

Again if we focus on intellectual wellness all these faculties should focus on overall wellness. It should not be remembering things just to boost our ego. When these faculties are not in check our intellectual and emotional wellness can be jeopardized. Whatever we do to stimulate our intellect we have to constantly try and keep all these four faculties to stay in balance.

Social wellness 

This includes our transaction with the society. This encompasses how we interact with others. The relationship that we create with friends, family and community in turn affect our own wellbeing. The biggest tip to improve our social wellness will be to focus on how we communicate with others. 

Spiritual wellness

This is the topic that is mostly forgotten by many of us. Many also misinterpret this with religion. Though our faiths, values and principles play huge role in our spiritual wellness it does not have to be linked with rituals of a religion.

This mainly includes the spirit in us that keeps us going every day. The purpose in life that makes us get up in the morning. 

In Ayurveda it is grouped as Prana, Ojas and Tejas. If you are spiritually well your Prana or vigor is strong. Your body and mind will then glow with Ojas and Tejas.

The important tip to improve spiritual wellness is “being in the moment”. Living this moment at this time is the best way to keep the spirit going. 

Environmental wellness

The environment we live constantly change. As the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said the only constant thing in life is Change. If we pay attention and adapt to these changes in environment our overall wellbeing can be ensured. The important tip here is becoming a contributing member to the environment than just being a consumer. 

Occupational wellness 

This is the topic where success is measured in the society. The job we do is how we are measured in the society. We have created our own values over time to different occupations. The understanding that we need all different jobs for the society to function is the key in accepting the differences. If we learn to accept our role and others roles in the society we will be able to achieve occupational wellness. We can explore different career opportunities but at the end our focus should be to ensure overall wellbeing. 

If we include all these seven dimensions of wellness, our body mind and intellect will enjoy the true nature of our soul which is always happy. The rainbow of colors will all come from the oneness of white.  Our soul is referred to ‘Sat chit Ananda’ in Vedanta – The ultimate true consciousness and that is beyond time, space and is always happy…