8 Dimensions of Wellness

What does "wellness" mean to you?

To some, this term refers to diet and exercise. However, it is so much more than that. The World Health Organization defines wellness as, "...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Any number of daily occurrences, situations, or events can affect one’s ability to be happy and healthy. Simply put, wellness is an intentional, active process of trying to improve one's overall quality of life.

To best optimize wellness and happiness, we are encouraged to focus on the eight dimensions of wellness – Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, and Spiritual.

Each of these wellness dimensions needs attention. Ignoring a problem in one area often leads to problems in another. This may result in a “domino effect.”  Although balance plays an important part in life, it is nearly impossible to balance eight dimensions at once. Instead of trying to balance all eight simultaneously, find personal harmony. Explore what works for you because there is no formula that will work for everyone. Everybody has different processes and unique experiences that all require an authentic combination for each dimension.

The Center is dedicated to helping our staff and students find their path to wellness. Below, each of the dimensions is briefly discussed to help you better understand why each plays such an intricate role in your well-being.


How you feel can affect your ability to carry out everyday activities, your relationships, and your overall mental health. How you react to your experiences and feelings can change over time. Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult situations. It's an acceptance of emotions and working through those emotions in a positive and healthy way.

Jefferson - Center City Campus Resources

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is your ability to connect with the world around you. It inspires you to live a life of accountability, understanding that all actions have positive or negative personal consequences and effect the people around us. Feeling as though you are in a safe and stimulating environment is a critical aspect of not only enhancing successes but also your overall sense of well-being. Research has repeatedly confirmed the positive benefits that nature provides to our mood, mental health, physical health, and overall success.

Financial Wellness

Personal finances are the number one cause of stress nationwide, which may not be a surprise. Unfortunately, many people simply ignore their financial situation until it is too late. Finances are often complicated and even overwhelming, but taking steps to minimize financial stressors is a very important part of your overall feeling of wellness. Managing expenses, understanding loan structures, and just having a basic appreciation of your financial standing are all very important steps students can take to help attain a level of satisfaction with current and future finances.

Jefferson - Center City Campus Resources

Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness encourages us to engage in creative activities that stimulate our minds from a nonacademic or work-related perspective. Taking time to find and indulge in your passions, hobbies, and interests leads to a far greater feeling of well-being. People that master this aspect of wellness enjoy learning about things that are separate from their normal realm, simply out of desire to obtain knowledge and skills. As intellectual wellness progresses, you are able to personally develop resources that work together with the other wellness dimensions that together lead to a more balanced life.

Occupational Wellness

The importance of finding joy, purpose, and satisfaction in your occupation cannot be undervalued. Enjoying what you do is a critical aspect of your health and well-being. Occupational wellness involves balancing work and leisure time, building relationships with peers, and managing everyday stress. This dimension recognizes the importance of finding satisfaction, enrichment, and a sense of purpose through work. It also highlights and helps people understand the idea that every person has value and a unique set of skills and experiences that should be shared for the benefit of all.

Physical Wellness

It is very easy for people to reduce physical wellness to exercise and diet. In fact, this dimension is possibly the most comprehensive because it includes a number of things that are incredibly important to our well-being. It is the idea that in order to achieve optimal mental and physical health, you must balance exercise, sleep habits, nutrition, and listening to your body when it is trying to tell you something. Positive physical health habits can help decrease your stress, lower your risk of disease, increase your energy, and lead to greater academic and personal success.

Social Wellness

Positive relationships with the people around us play a huge role in our overall feeling of wellness. The relationships and support systems we build help us navigate our lives, in good times and in bad. It is important to establish positive and regular interactions in a wide range of individuals, to help you connect to our communities. Safely stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to a much greater social perspective, which is incredibly important for future healthcare providers. Cohesively, these actions will lead to a stronger sense of social connectedness, belonging, and acceptance.

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness can be defined as being connected to something greater than yourself and the search for purpose in your life. Spiritually well people use their own set of values, principles, morals, and beliefs to guide their actions and decisions. Spiritual wellness has the power and capability to make our decisions and choices easier, ground us during periods of change, and give us the resiliency to survive with grace and inner peace in the face of adversity.