• Dr. Nicole Knapp

The Components of Wellness

What is Wellness?

According to Merriam-Webster, wellness can be defined as, “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal” (Read more from Merriam-Webster). Wellness is synonymous with fitness, health, soundness, and wholeness.

According to the National Wellness Institute and health and wellness leaders, wellness is multidimensional and holistic, involves conscious effort to achieve one’s full potential, and is affirming and positive (Read more from the National Wellness Institute).

Why does wellness matter?

Wellness allows one to become stronger, more resilient, and enhances our ability to conquer challenges. If we want to function well in the world, we need to be well. If we want to achieve our goals, we need to be well and conquer the challenges that arise along the way.

What are the components of wellness?

The National Wellness Institute defines the following six dimensions of wellness:

  1. Emotional wellness encompasses your awareness and acceptance of feelings. An emotionally well person feels positive and enthusiastic about one’s life and self, is able to manage their feelings and behaviors, is autonomous, can effectively cope with emotions, and maintain satisfying relationships.

  2. Occupational wellness refers to one’s personal satisfaction and enrichment through work. Your career, job satisfaction, career goals, and personal performance influence your occupational wellness. Individuals with occupational wellness have a positive attitude about their job, find their work meaningful, and are able to contribute their unique talents.

  3. Physical wellness encompasses your physical activity, nutritional health, and medical care. Those who have physical wellness: exercise often, have a good diet, avoid tobacco, drugs, and excessive drinking, take care of minor illnesses, and seek professional medication as needed.

  4. Social wellness involves one’s contributions to their environment and community. Social wellness requires one to be consciousness of their impact on the environment and to take an active role in improving their surroundings by encouraging healthy living ad communication.

  5. Intellectual wellness refers to one’s mental stimulation and creativity. Those with intellectual wellness advance their knowledge and skills, share his or her gifts with others, cherishes intellectual growth, and strives to challenge themselves.

  6. Spiritual wellness involves one’s search for purpose and meaning. A spiritually well person knows their value system and aligns their actions to be consistent with their values and beliefs.

These six dimensions of wellness are interconnected and give rise to a holistic approach to health. For more information on the six dimensions of wellness, visit the National Wellness Institute website. There website features pdf handouts, free wellness tools, and more!


Merriam-Webster (2018). Wellness. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wellness

National Wellness Institute (2018). The Six Dimensions of Wellness. Retrieved from https://www.nationalwellness.org/page/Six_Dimensions

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