Balancing Your Life With 7 Dimensions of Wellness
The concepts most commonly associated with wellness are physical preparedness and mental stability. More often than not, wellness is identified as our combined physical and mental states. But in its core, there’s a lot more to wellness than meets the eye.
More than anything, the key to wellness is becoming acutely aware of oneself and actively engaged with each of the multiple aspects of our lives that we can take control of. It is much more than just physical health and psychological well-being. It’s about having a fulfilling life experience.
All in all, the basic idea of wellness is a balance of all elements that make up our lives. This is not a new idea, but its practice has increased drastically in the past decade, especially in the western world, and its impact is significant, especially on adults and senior citizens.
What Is Wellness?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness as:
“a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
That, of course, doesn’t mean you should take any definition of it as absolute and exclusive.
Wellness is a combination of all factors that influence our quality of life. It’s useful to look at it as the result of a complex equation than an individual goal to achieve. In that holistic sense, wellness can be “attained” through dedicating time and effort to each of its individual components.
What Is the Difference Between Wellness and Health?
The term health is most often used to specify a certain component of our health, usually referring to physical and mental health. On the emotional side of our lives, the term “well-being” is more appropriate, as in “emotional well-being”.
In contrast, wellness is a more general, all-encompassing concept. It’s non-specific, meaning there are not multiple types of wellness, such as with health.
When discussing health issues or problems, the main topic is usually a condition, injury or illness.
With wellness and its components, the problems express themselves through a disbalance in one or more aspects of our life: our career, our emotional and love life, negligence towards physical activity, poor nutrition, lack of mental stimulation, etc.
At LifeMinded communities, all of the bases are covered. Residents are provided with opportunities to enhance each of the seven essential components that are required for a meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle.
What Are The Essential 7 Dimensions of Wellness
Each component of wellness is equally important in the pursuit of life fulfillment. Since there are 7 crucial elements that we need to work on individually, that’s 7 potential points of failure that, if mismanaged, can exert a domino effect on the other components.
This inter-connectedness is especially important in those difficult scenarios life constantly throws at us. Those with enough life experience know that neglecting one of these dimensions can quickly spiral out of control and arising problems can seep from one part of our life into another.
Each is a pillar on its own and, working in synergy, these elements form a solid foundation able to withstand extreme pressures and even the worst conceivable scenarios.
The 7 dimensions are:
Intellectual, or cognitive
The Intellectual Side of Wellbeing
Keeping a sharp mind is increasingly difficult as we age. That’s why it’s essential to treat our minds as we would treat any muscle. Use it or lose it!
Actively working on your intellect doesn’t just cover maintaining memory, but also improving cognitive abilities, satisfying our natural curiosity and learning new skills.
Be open to new ideas, experiment with things you don’t know and get out of your comfort zone. What’s known as a “growth mindset” can be achieved by establishing routines that stimulate our natural neuroplasticity.
Identifying bad habits and forming new good habits is the best way to start. This can get increasingly difficult as we age which is why the support of our immediate environment is crucial to growth.
LifeMinded communities offer their residents the perfect environment for personal intellectual growth. Nurturing the creative spirit and growth mindset are crucial components, recognized early and encouraged at all LifeMinded locations.
Physical Health, Aging, and Wellness
Physical wellness reflects the overall condition of our bodies, and awareness of what is needed to maintain a functioning body.
This dimension of wellness also deals with what to avoid, and not just what to apply. Realizing the consequences of alcohol over-consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutritional habits are the first steps towards improving our physical condition.
Physical health and nutrition go hand in hand. When food is concerned, what we crave is usually in a misalignment with what our bodies really need.
Residences like The Willows discourage the application of a one-size-fits-all dietary regime. Each of us individually has natural preferences for certain types of foods, as well as intolerances toward other foods. A proper, optimal diet should be custom-tailored accordingly.
Physical exercise has been shown to affect almost all aspects of our being, from mood and willpower to mental sharpness, memory, and creativity. Dedication to physical exercise is another factor separating a stimulating environment like the Willows from one that neglects to emphasize wellness.
The effects on our bodies are numerous and, given a proper exercise program, always beneficial to everything from our overall blood panel, to flexibility, strength, and endurance. Don’t forget that only a healthy body can house a sharp mind and a resilient spirit.
Working on Emotional Wellness
Probably one of the most difficult stepping stones towards fulfillment, emotional wellness is primarily about self-acceptance and acknowledging a wide range of feelings in ourselves and others as normal.
A healthy emotional base will enable us to love, trust, forgive and accept others, despite all their imperfections. No one is perfect, no matter how much they seem to be, and how much energy they put into displaying their lives as perfect. Knowing this is key to self-esteem, and it enables us to look at our obstacles as solvable problems instead of conditions to lament over.
Acceptance will also bring us awareness of our real condition and willingness to seek help and support, either from loved ones or through professional guidance counseling.
Other benefits of working on emotional well-being are:
Ability to mentally reset upon failures or setbacks.
Asserting control over our negative reflex responses.
Protecting other aspects of our lives from emotional problems spilling over.
The feeling of control over one’s actions, leading to a feeling of control over one’s life.
Social Aspects of Wellness
Humans are social by nature. Social wellness is about connecting with others but also traveling (figuratively and literally) outside your comfort zone, getting close to other people, and getting to know other cultures, as well.
Establishing a functional community and sense of belonging are key focus points in all LifeMinded Certified residences. Being actively engaged with enrichment of all aspects of your social well-being is something that places like Bellewood pride themselves on.
As humans, we have the ability to form very complex social structures that are as much a part of us as we are of them. Our social lives bring us essential benefits like the sense of belonging to a group, be it a family, sports club, classmates, coworkers, and all of the support, opportunities and mutual respect that comes with belonging to a group.
Our social well-being rests on empathy. It’s what enables us to establish and maintain friendships and find common ground to form connections upon. It ultimately brings us a natural ability to not mind going out of our way to help a loved one, friend, or family member, or even a stranger on the street. Not only that, but we end up enjoying such interactions, despite being inconvenienced.
The Professional Side of Life - Vocational Wellness
Vocational wellness refers to our satisfaction through work, building a career and becoming a useful member of society. Moreover, it’s about gaining expertise in a chosen field of study and achieving professional-level mastery. Ultimately, it’s about working on advancing that particular field of work through reinvention and applying new ideas, using creativity and creating something new with all of the skills we attain throughout our lives.
Work is important not just for the sake of earning a living, but for the sake of building something new with our own personal stamp on it. Professional wellness requires a balance that is difficult to attain. People will often have a drive too low to achieve mastery, or too high, leading to a life of what is called “a workaholic”.
Insatiable work drive is a sign of disturbance and compensation for what is lacking in another aspect of life. It can never be considered healthy, although many people function as very hard workers without major problems.
Achieving professional wellness requires an open mind and letting go of our fear from making mistakes. While learning a new skill, we should be expecting lots of failures, but we should also be looking further ahead because at the end of failure rests mastery.
At all LifeMinded locations, everyone is encouraged to set themselves a goal to achieve, a skill to master, and a method to apply on that path. And everyone will be provided with all necessary means and support that their choice requires.
Choose the work in whichever field you find interesting, meaningful, fun!
It goes without saying that a crucial part of life is finding and exploring the spiritual side of it. Note that it doesn’t have to contain any esoteric practices. In this context, our spirit is simply a set of beliefs, core values, principles and a guiding purpose for one’s life.
Although often disregarded, spiritual wellness is an essential part of life, and equally important - death.
Realization of one’s finiteness is difficult to cope with but fear of death is a normal state. Some argue it’s the underlying drive for many of our life’s decisions, and many of our “surface” fears.
Maintaining spiritual wellness enables us to truly love life. Being so fundamental, it’s not necessarily tied to any religion although religions in some ways help people find their spiritual path purpose and sense of fulfillment.
The Environmental Dimension of Wellness
We are surrounded by both natural and constructed environments, and it’s our burden as conscious, thinking participants to be continuously reminded of our actions towards those environments.
Respect towards the limited resources available to all of us is a necessary foundation for applying the principles of sustainable development. Awareness of our personal actions has become the norm in the civilized world, and regulations have been put in place to protect the health of massive populations that could otherwise not survive in places as densely populated as the world’s biggest cities.
Apart from big cities, there is a general need for active participation in the reduction of pollution and waste regulation. Air, water and soil conservation are integral parts of pollution management and prevention of over-exploitation.
Individually, we can all do our parts to reduce pollution and waste through reuse, recycling and even what’s known as “brand activism”. Also known as voting with your wallet, it refers to the practice of supporting manufacturers that are willing to give up a competitive advantage in the market for a greater cause - usually environmental protection, but also, in some cases, guaranteeing that worker’s rights are respected.
Environmental wellness is also about reconnecting with nature, establishing “natural designs”, parks and green zones in otherwise barren concrete or glass-covered urban areas.
Natural environments have a stimulative effect on our mental well-being and creative capacities. It’s important to spend as much time in natural surroundings as we age, which is one of the key benefits of residences like Willamette Oaks. The kinds of places you’d visit for a vacation are also the kinds of places you’ll find enjoyable when it comes time to retire. A fir-lined idyllic setting by a river in Oregon - that’s the kind of beauty that enables us to enjoy life.
How LifeMinded Applies a Holistic Approach to Wellbeing
LifeMinded Certified residences are the most suitable grounds for satisfying the full spectrum of individual wellness. The goal is encouraging the feeling of independence as well as doing the things you love, and even finding new interests, stepping out of your comfort zone to experience something fresh.
Achieving a full, active and satisfying life is a hallmark of LifeMinded communities. What separates these exclusive residences from regular retirement homes is the natural and social environment, attitude towards personal growth and the level of offered personal assistance services.
It’s about forming friendships, participating in various activities like exercises, having a custom-tailored experience that no other residence can offer, with traveling, events, classes and more.