Striving for Wellness by Irene DeMars
Striving for Wellness by Irene DeMars

What is Wellness? Wellness can be defined in many ways and can have a personal meaning for each of us according to our culture and life experiences. Wellness is comprised of being healthy in many areas of our lives and being in good physical and mental health. Since physical health and mental health are interconnected, difficulties in one area can impact the other. Consequently, improving your physical health can also directly benefit your mental health, and vice versa.

Wellness is about how we live our lives and the joy, fulfillment, and good health we experience. Wellness is creating a balance in our lives such as working, having fun, spending time with friends and family, participating in the community, relaxing, and getting an adequate amount of restful sleep. Wellness is having enriching learning experiences, embracing support from others, as well as practicing self-care. Generally, wellness refers to overall well-being and happiness.

Unfortunately, we often neglect our health and wellness due to work or school deadlines, family obligations, sacrificing our own needs to meet the needs of others, lack of time, and a plethora of life stressors. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), you can still strive for wellness even if you are experiencing these challenges in your life. SAMHSA created the Wellness Initiative to help people with “mental and/or substance use disorders-and all people-live longer, healthier lives by focusing on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.” While all dimensions of wellness need your attention in order for you to thrive and live a fulfilled and healthy life, according to SAMHSA, there does not have to be a perfect balance among all dimensions. The goal is to find the holistic balance that best works for you, as wellness can differ from one person to another depending on your personal needs. Moreover, the dimensions are interconnected, so you may notice that most topics can affect multiple dimensions.

Delve into the sections below to learn about each dimension as you strive to find your perfect “imperfect” wellness balance. Learning about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness can help you choose how to make wellness a part of your everyday life. Wellness strategies are practical ways to start developing healthy habits that can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness are: 1. Emotional-Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.
2. Environmental-Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being 3. Financial-Satisfaction with current and future financial situations 4. Intellectual-Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills 5. Occupational-Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work 6. Physical-Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep 7. Social-Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system 8. Spiritual-Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

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Learn more about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness in this three-minute animated video: The Eight Dimensions of Wellness - YouTube ( SAMHSA Creating a Healthier Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness CREATING AHEALTHIER LIFE, A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO WELLNESS (

By Irene DeMars Supervised by Deborah Ontiveros PhD