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  • Writer's pictureNicole Hutchison

The Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

What comes to mind when you think of health and wellness? Our first thoughts are often

weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, strength, or maybe the absence of disease or

dysfunction, pain. Many workplace wellness programs tend to focus on these easily

measured variables of physical health, and some do address mental health. Wellness isn’t

just about physical and mental wellbeing, though. There are in fact 7 dimensions of

wellness, including social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual,

and physical wellbeing. The most successful workplace wellness programs are those that

integrate a mind, body, spirit approach to add value to individuals lives on and off the

clock. Let’s briefly define the 7 dimensions of wellness, then discuss how we can support

growth in each of these areas in the workplace.

1. Social Wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. It

is important that we create a strong support network including family, friends, and

coworkers. As social beings, we long for a sense of belonging.

2. Emotional Wellness can be difficult to to talk about with the stigma often attached to

mental health, yet the importance of addressing emotional wellness is evidenced in

the statistic that approximately one in five individuals suffers from a mental health

episode each year. According to the National Center for Emotional Wellness, the term

refers to an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your emotions, and your

ability to manage effectively through challenges and change. Being emotionally well

encourages you to slow down and practice the art of mindfulness, remaining present

in the moment and self aware.

3. Spiritual Wellness is about establishing a set of guiding beliefs, morals, and values that

help us to define our unique purpose and meaning in life. When our actions are in

line with our beliefs, morals, and values we tend to find peace and balance in our


4. Environmental Wellness is an awareness of our environment, both nature and our

immediate surroundings. It is about protecting the environment, respecting others

living in our environment, and protecting ourselves from environmental hazards.

5. Occupational Wellness represents our ability to connect our passion with our talents

and skills to find fulfillment in our career, while still finding a work life-balance.

6. Intellectual Wellness is engaging in creative and mentally-stimulating activities,

expanding your knowledge and imparting knowledge to others. It’s about being open

to critical thinking, new ideas, and having a growth mindset.

7. Physical Wellbeing is not simply the absence of disease and dysfunction. Physical

Wellbeing requires conscious, consistent lifestyle choices that support taking care of

your body.

An important first step is assessing the current health and wellness of your team members.

Offering health assessments for team members to personally rate their own health and

wellness, as well as professional screenings to identify members at risk or already

struggling with disease and dysfunction will help to give you information for the level of

support your team members need. From here, the options are limitless. There are a

multitude of resources available online, or consider researching local options available in

your community for a more personal experience. In a survey performed by HealthFitness,

nearly 75% of employees said “personal touch” was important in their wellness program.

Local resources will be able to provide a more customized program that will connect

emotionally with your team members, making them feel more empowered to take charge

of their health.

With or without professional guidance in creating a formal wellness program for your

organization, there are simple things you can do today to support your team members in

the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. Create a comfortable community space your team will

enjoy spending time in to build social connectedness. Share learning opportunities about

stress management, mindfulness, or meditation with your team. Be clear in stating your

organization’s vision and core values, and communicate with each team member the

importance of the unique role they each play to successfully accomplish that vision and

core values. Ensure a clean, safe, comfortable, and healthy work environment for your

team limiting exposure to harmful chemicals, noise, etc. Provide ways to encourage work-

life balance, such as on-site childcare, flexible hours, lactation policies for new moms

returning to work, paternity leave, or adequate vacation time. Spark creativity by

organizing brainstorming sessions for your team. And finally, offer opportunities that

support physical wellness by bringing yoga instructors or personal trainers into the

workplace to offer classes during the day or have team members take 5 minute breaks

every hour to move, stretch, meditate, take the stairs, or go for a walk.

Whether your organization has an established wellness program or you’re just getting

started, keeping the 7 Dimensions of Wellness in mind will provide a more balanced

foundation of support for your team. And when team members are fully invested in your

wellness program, personal growth will overflow to professional growth, generating a

positive shift in the culture of your organization that will ultimately impact the success of

your business.

~By Nicole Hutchison, Owner and CEO, PT, CSCS, Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach

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