[Wellness Wednesday] What Is Wellness?

Wellness Wheel from https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness with text overlay: Wellness Wednesday! https://reclaiminghope.blog

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday! Each week I’ll be posting something related to wellness: a post, a quote related to wellness, healthy recipes, etc.

What IS wellness, anyway?

According to UCDavis, “wellness is the process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.” (https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/wellness/what-is-wellness) The National Wellness Institute adds that “wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment.” (https://www.nationalwellness.org/?page/Six_Dimensions)

Do we have a wellness focus or an illness focus?

Let me just state the obvious — most people who read this blog are not “free from illness.” Does that mean we shouldn’t be concerned with our wellness? Absolutely not! We are so much more than our illness, and although we may not be able to change our circumstances in that particular dimension of wellness, we certainly have the ability to “make choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.”

Let’s take a look at one of the many “wellness wheel” models:

Wellness Wheel from https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness

There are a lot of different “wellness wheels” with varying numbers of dimensions of wellness included. I chose this one from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration because of its overlapping of the dimensions. The dimensions of wellness don’t exist in a vacuum; when one area is off-balance, it affects other areas as well. This is how the SAMHSA defines each of the dimensions:

Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships

Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being

Financial:  Satisfaction with current and future financial situations

Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work

Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep

Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system

Spiritual: Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

This is only one model. As I mentioned, there are many out there, with varying numbers of dimensions included. The beauty of it is that we get to decide what a “fulfilling life” is,  and what dimensions need to be included for us to have that.

Hopefully, this visual representation can help us remember, especially when one of those dimensions is taking all our attention, that there is a whole lot more to the big picture than what we’re able to see at the moment.

As I mentioned above, each week I’ll be posting something related to one of these areas of wellness. If there’s something in particular you’d like to know more about or you have a favorite wellness quote to share, please let me know in the comments!







  1. This is SUCH a good post, Terri! I think we can forget the whole-body, whole-life aspect of wellness, and the focus on illness rather than wellness, too. Getting some perspective to see all of it is incredibly important, and I agree that these kinds of visual reps can be helpful in doing that. Brilliant post for Wellness Wednesday!!
    Caz x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Caz! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I think when we’re ill, especially when it’s chronic, we can start to get tunnel vision where our illness is all we see. Hopefully by looking at wellness as a whole we can expand our vision and realize we can still have a wonderful, fulfilling life. Hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping in! I think a lot of us tend to think wellness is only physical and mental health, but it really does include so much more.😊 For me that’s encouraging, because when I’m not doing so great in one area, I can look at other areas that are going well and realize that in the grand scheme of things I’m doing better than I thought. Thanks so much for pinning!


  2. Terri: thanks for the share! I agree that we can help ourselves by not focusing on illness but creating a life with more wellness. Its amazing what we can do when we focus on the positive things in our life. I always help my patients focus on small positive victories that are leading to more well lives. Keep up the great work! Marty

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Marty! So many times we think of wellness only in terms of our physical or mental health, but there’s so much more to wellness than those two dimensions. I love what you said about helping your patients focus on small positive victories. Those small steps become great distances as we take them over and over. Blessings to you!


  3. I’m glad I stumbled upon your page. Great insights for what wellness really means. Thank you for raising awareness. Looking forward for another wellness post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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