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What Actually is Wellness?

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

We hear and see the word ‘Wellness’ a lot lately. I’d like to bring forth what it really means so that we may connect better with wellness and put it into context in our own lives. Then we may be better served by our understanding of wellness and be able to identify in what areas we are doing well in and where would be most useful to put our focus on, to take better care of our ‘wellness.’

I have come across eight common elements of wellness. Let’s take a deeper look:

1. Physical

How your body is functioning- are your body systems running unimpeded by disease and blockage? Our body systems include- cardiovascular, immune, endocrine (hormonal), reproductive, integumentary (skin), urinary, renal, nervous, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, skeletal and muscular.

Physical wellness is about nourishing your body with clean healthy food the way nature intended it- unprocessed, free from toxins and grown on the land. It is also about avoiding things that harm your body, such as alcohol, drugs, pollution (as best as we can).

Your body needs to move. Our muscles are made to be strong, to lift, hold, contract and relax. Our joints allow our limbs to bend, our vertebrae are many joints in a row that form our spine and movement through your back can help keep your movement free and uninhibited.

The lymphatic system is not pumped like blood is by your heart. The lymphatic fluid is squeezed through vessels from the action of your skeletal muscles, meaning that you need to move your body in order to move lymphatic fluid.

How do you incorporate movement into your daily living? This is about finding what feels good for your body.

2. Emotional

To experience our range of emotions, and not lean too heavily or getting stuck in any emotion that is inhibiting our ability to cope with life and maintain healthy relationships.

The ability to understand your feelings and manage stress. When we too often feel overwhelmed, this is a good indication to seek support and/or assess the balance of your life and how much you are taking on/trying to do. There are times we can do more, and there are times when we must do less and let fall away all that is unnecessary. Be gentle and kind to yourself.

3. Spiritual

To live a meaningful life. What is meaningful to you? No matter what anyone else is doing, this has to mean something to you, otherwise it will just feel empty. Express your true self. Get good at listening to your higher self/ inner wisdom/ God/ Source (whatever you like to call it).

To have a sense of purpose. Your purpose is what you say it is. No one else can truly give this to you. You feel it from within.

4. Intellectual

Open-mindedness and continual growth and learning.

5. Social

Having relationships, a sense of connection and belonging.

6. Occupational

Doing the work that is meaningful, satisfying and fulfilling to you. To express yourself in this world and let it flow in a way that does no harm to self or others and is usually a contribution to society, the world, the planet in some way.

7. Environmental

Living in harmony with the environment. Understand your impact on the environment. How the decisions that you make affect the environment. How your environment affects your wellbeing and choosing healthy places to be.

8. Financial

Living within your means and the ability to set realistic financial goals. This also includes your relationship with money.

In reading these eight elements of wellness, there may be some that stand out to you that you would like to put some more energy into. Take this knowledge with you and delve deeper into how you can take better care of this element of wellness for yourself. You may like to write to help you express your thoughts, and perhaps find what may be holding you back to supporting yourself better in this area. Take one action that will contribute to looking after your overall wellness. Some ideas: daily walk, meditation, making space for relationships, reading something you want to learn more about.

Previously I believed in achieving a health potential. But really, health and wellness, like everything in life, are dynamic. Things happen, our bodies change from second to second. Nothing is static. Once you achieve a point there is a point immediately after it. Life happens. Sometimes it’s all too much; and we are never perfect- because we are not meant to be. If perfect was a state, and that state was wellness, then that state would change. It has to. That is the nature of life. I feel it is more about the relationship that you have with yourself, and when you are connected with and take care of yourself, this emanates into all areas of your life and has a flow on effect.


8 Dimensions of Wellness, (UMD) University of Maryland’s Your Guide to Living Well. [Last accessed August 27, 2020]. Available from:

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