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The Six Dimensions of Wellness
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Six Dimensions of Wellness

Mindfully focusing on wellness in our lives builds resilience and enables us to thrive amidst life’s challenges.

The National Wellness Institute promotes Six Dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Addressing all six dimensions of wellness in our lives builds a holistic sense of wellness and fulfillment.

Developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI), this interdependent model for 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.

To download a NWI's Six Dimensions of Wellness tool and other free wellness tools, click here.

Listen to the NWI PodcastCheck out the NWI Podcast to hear from wellness experts in all Six Dimensions of Wellness. Hear from wellness coaches, worksite wellness experts, psychologists, medical doctors, spiritual teachers, and more with evidence-based information and practical tips on how to improve your holistic wellness today. Go to NWIpodcast.org  to listen and download show notes and bonus materials (NWI members get access to exclusive bonus materials). You can also listen on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes.

 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 of the interconnectedness of each dimension and how they contribute to 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 its interconnectedness to living and playing
  • The development of belief systems, values, and creating a world-view
  • The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, 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 of direction
  • Creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others
The National Wellness Institute devised three questions that can help persons and organizations assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated into 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 qualities and strengths?

Applying a wellness approach can be useful in nearly every human endeavor. As a pathway to optimal living, wellness is being applied to related fields, such as health promotion and holistic health, and has seen a growth in "helping professions" including coaching, counseling, and medical arts and practices.

Multicultural Competency

A society that truly applies a wellness approach as a pathway to optimal living is by nature inclusive and multicultural. The Mission of the National Wellness Institute (NWI) Multicultural Competency Committee is to support NWI with increasing inclusiveness by advancing multicultural competency within wellness best practices, and to assist with the development of knowledge, awareness, and skills to deliver equitable and culturally appropriate programs and services for wellness practitioners, organizations, underserved populations, and communities.

Click here for information about NWI's Multicultural Competency Committee and the Wellness Wheel we have created to advance the fulfillment of the committee's mission.click here.