Suicide Prevention Month: What It Means To Be “Well”: The 6 Dimensions Of A Healthy Lifestyle

Senior active couple running, walking and talking in the park. Healthy lifestyle

If you’re reading this and struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline is available to you 24/7. It’s free and confidential: 1-800-273-8255.

When we talk about wellness, it’s hard to know whether we all have the same ideas about what it means to be healthy. When someone doesn’t realize that their actions are unhealthy or the importance of a specific type of wellness, it can lead to many harmful outcomes and effects. That’s why it’s so important to talk about the different ways wellness is measured. Using the Six Dimensions of Wellness from The National Wellness Institute, we can start to understand and communicate using the same terms.


Occupational wellness is about making sure your career is one that you find to be rewarding, enriching, and fulfilling. Staying active and involved, working on projects that are gratifying, and choosing a career that aligns with your personal values are all important aspects of your occupational health


Your Physical wellness is all about consistently respecting your body’s physical needs. This is applied to exercise, but there are also other important aspects of your physical health. Sticking to a healthy diet and avoiding harmful drugs are also significant parts of physical wellness. It may sound daunting at first, but the benefits include enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction. 


Looking at your connection to your family, friends, and community, social wellness is all about improving your contribution to other’s lives. Social Wellness focuses on your ability to enhance personal relationships and important friendships, and build a better living space and community. Maximizing your social wellness means acknowledging your responsibility to the community you are a part of.


Intellectual wellness follows two simple ideas: it is better to stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits than to become self-satisfied and unproductive. And secondly, it is better to identify potential problems and choose appropriate courses of action based on the available information than to wait, worry, and contend with major concerns later.


Spiritual wellness is not about any particular view, but the overall search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It’s about tolerating the beliefs that others hold, even if they are different than yours. You can maximize your spiritual wellness by first determining what actions you can take that line up with your beliefs and values, then following through with them. Spiritual wellness is not about judging others, but bettering ourselves.


When you acknowledge your feelings and accept that you have them, you are exemplifying emotional wellness. It’s also about the degree to which you feel positive and enthusiastic about your self and life. By expressing your feelings freely and managing feelings effectively, you can begin to make decisions that take emotional wellness and wellbeing into account.