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Six Dimensions of Wellness

Developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI), this interdependent model, commonly referred to as the Six Dimensions of Wellness, provides the categories from which NWI derives its resources and services.

To download a pdf handout about the Six Dimensions of Wellness, click here.



Definition of Wellness

The term wellness has been applied in many ways. Although there might be different views on what wellness encompasses, the National Wellness Institute--along with the help of leaders in health and wellness--shared many interpretations and models of wellness.

Through this discussion, there appears to be general agreement that:

  • Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential
  • Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment
  • Wellness is positive and affirming

The definition of wellness, long used by the National Wellness Institute is consistent with these tenets. Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.


Applying Wellness

By applying the Six Dimensional Model, a person becomes aware ofthe interconnectedness of each dimension and how they contributeto healthy living. This holistic model explains:
  • How a person contributes to their environment and community,and how to build better living spaces and social networks
  • The enrichment of life through work, and itsinterconnectedness to living and playing
  • The development of belief systems, values, and creating aworld-view
  • The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eatinghabits, strength and vitality as well as personal responsibility,self-care and when to seek medical attention
  • Self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense ofdirection
  • Creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing yourgifts with others
Applying a wellness approach can be useful in nearly every humanendeavor. As a pathway to optimal living, wellness is beingapplied to related fields, such as health promotion and holistichealth, and has seen a growth in "helping professions" includingcounseling and medical arts and practices. The National WellnessInstitute devised three questions that can help persons andorganizations assess the degree to which wellness is incorporatedinto a particular approach or program:
  • Does this help people achieve their full potential?
  • Does this recognize and address the whole person(multi-dimensional approach)?
  • Does this affirm and mobilize peoples' positive qualitiesand strengths?

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