8 Dimensions of Wellness
You know me, I love a good personality quiz. Yes, they are vague and do not accurately highlight everything but most do provide a good baseline. With that in mind, I have a new one for you ;)
Check out the quiz here.
This quiz focuses on the 8 dimensions of wellness that include financial, spiritual, environmental, emotional, physical, social, intellectual and occupational dimensions.
So, let’s briefly explore each category. Keep in mind this is in no specific order and there is much debate about where each one ranks.
First, let’s talk about the spiritual dimension. To begin, we need to differentiate spirituality from religion. While they may overlap, spirituality is about our connection with self and others (and sometimes a higher power) where religion is about connection with our higher power in the bounds of a specific religious guideline or organization. Our spirituality has a direct impact on our outlook, our purpose in life and our motivation. It allows us to have perspective about our role in the world and that there is something bigger than us out there.
The financial dimension is where many people struggle. Studies show that money fights and money problems are one of the top issues in marriages. When our finances are tight, we are not able to practice self-care adequately, struggle meeting basic physical needs and have little room to be financially generous with others. On the flip side, when our financial dimension is strong, we are able to be present without with anxiety of our needs being met and will have less stress on our plates.
The environmental dimension is often neglected by many. We don’t realize the impact of our surroundings on us. On the micro level, this includes the cleanliness and organization of our home. This is about making our home somewhere that we feel safe and secure. On the macrolevel, this includes lowering our carbon footprint, being mindful of recycling and also trying to lower the amount of toxins we absorb from our environment. If you do not follow @just.ingredients on Instagram, do it! I am learning so much from her about environmental toxins and the impact it has on some of the other eight dimensions.
Now let’s talk about the emotional/mental dimension. This is about our ability to cope with life, engage in meaningful relationships and work through our “stuff”. This is done through therapy (which you know I am a huge advocate of), self-discovery, reading and growing in our understanding of who we are and how our experiences have impacted us.
The physical dimension is how well we take care of our body. Do we exercise or engage in movement daily? Do we fuel our bodies well with good, healthy food? Do we get 7-8 hours of sleep at night or do we think we should be able to function on 4 hours? All of those impact our physical wellness which then has a ripple effect on the other dimensions.
The social dimension is one that has been hit the hardest for many of us during the 2020 (and on) pandemic. The social dimension is all about community and friendships. This is where we are able to feel a sense of belonging with others, know we are not alone and that we have others that love us. This is where we meet with people with common interests that support us in our growth. For many, this plummeted because while Zoom is great, it does not provide the same connection that being in person does.
Next is the intellectual dimension. This corresponds with the emotional dimension in many ways. This is where we enrich our mind through formal or informal knowledge, where we engage in hobbies, learn about other cultural, challenge our constructs of thinking and engage in debates with people of opposing views. This is our growth dimension.
Last but not least is the occupational dimension. This is where you find satisfaction in the work you are doing, you feel motivated and enjoy your place of employment. Because most of us spend the majority of our day at work, this one is really important because it sets the stage for our mindset when we get off work. If we hate our job, we often struggle feeling motivated at home to engage in physical wellness or our emotional wellness is depleted because of the mental energy that work takes. However, if our occupational dimension is strong, we are energized both at work and outside of work to grow, develop and be better.
Here’s the thing. Each dimension is valuable and important. But, depending on your season of life, a few may be more important that others and then when your season shifts, so do the dimensions that are most and least important to you. With that said, if we neglect one dimension, it will have a negative impact on the other dimensions because they are all interrelated. So, today I challenge you to take the quiz and see which dimensions are the lowest for you and find some ways to work on that dimension and notice the ripple effect it has on your life. Enjoy!
As a therapist and boundary expert, I often get asked questions around setting and maintaining boundaries with others. Sometimes, I have people go a layer deeper and ask about setting boundaries with themselves and how to do that.
Here’s the thing….. I don’t have a straightforward one size fits all answer on how to do that. Why? Because we all have different temperaments and tendencies that we subscribe to. So, to have a little fun, take the quiz linked below and then we will dive into each one of tendencies and ways to set boundaries based on your personal tendency.
Now, keep in mind as I evaluate these that Gretchen Rubin is the expert on the tendencies, not me. My thoughts are anecdotal based on my experiences with clients, colleagues and friends throughout my lifetime. This is also in no way a diagnostic instrument or anything of true clinical significance, just common patterns of being.
First, let’s start with upholders. Most upholders actually have little to no problems setting personal boundaries. They are strict rule followers that are often self-motivated. If they believe something is beneficial to them, they will most often follow it to a T. If they do not follow through, it is most likely because they do not see the value or the benefit. For upholders, if you want to set boundaries with yourself, know your why and the value that upholding the boundary will mean for you and for the most part you uphold it.
Now, let’s talk about questioners. Questioners need to know the why, how and what and once they feel confident in those things, they are most likely to honor their own boundaries. If someone tells a questioner to drink a gallon of water a day because it is good for them, that is not enough. However, if the questioner understands and agrees with research that it is good for their skin, digestive tract etc. then they are likely to comply. If they understand it and AGREE with the logic, they are very loyal. So, if you are a questioner and want to set personal boundaries, where ever there is doubt in your boundaries, find an answer that is suitable for you to the question and then you are likely to follow through.
As an obliger, this whole section I can speak from experience. Obligers are motivated by external accountability and often lack internal accountability. For an obliger to honor their own personal boundaries, they often need someone/something to help keep them accountable. For some people, it can be as simple as a calendar where the mark every day they work out or their watch that tells them when they have reached their goal. For other obligers, they need more direct external accountability such as a friend who is also engaging in the same personal boundary behavior or that will aid in providing accountability. Others post on social media what their new boundaries are so that they feel like if they do not complete it, they will be letting other people down. If you are obliger, find a way to gain external accountability that will help you maintain your boundary.
Last but not least, let’s talk about rebels. Rebels will not comply with something because someone told them to (even if that person is a professional) or because it is a societal norm. The only way a rebel will do something is if it is their idea or their stubbornness is motivating them. For instance, they will not run a 5k when their friend asks them to join but they will run a 5k when the friend tells them they are out of shape and can’t do it. They will do it just to prove the other person wrong. If something is rigid, rebels are likely to rebel and not engage in the behavior. However, if it is their own guidelines they are imposing on themselves and they see the value, they will sometimes comply. A rebel needs a strong motivator to help them stay consistent. If you are a rebel, do whatever you want. Seriously, rebels are not likely to listen to what others think they should do. If you are a rebel, you know what you need to do to establish personal boundaries and it is unique to you so you do you ;)
Now that you know your tendency and how to set personal boundaries with yourself so that they stick, start….. If you need more help with boundaries, I know a great course just for you so click here and use the code boundaries.
Do you struggle with controlling your irritation when the checkout line is moving slowly? Do you find that you are easily overwhelmed when in a crowd? Do you find that you are cranky when you get hungry and struggle with managing it?
Here’s the thing, kids struggle with their emotions too. Yet somehow, we have this expectation that they will be able to manage their emotions and maintain control at all times and then we lose control of ours when they don’t. I don’t know about you but I think that is a pretty messed up system.
So, how do we teach kids to regulate their emotions while also not condoning inappropriate behavior? By doing our own work so that we can regulate ourselves. Remember, more is caught than taught so if we are screaming at our kid to calm down, they are not going to learn how to calm down but instead be reactive. However, if we are able to take a deep breath and be a calm in their storm, they are able to reenact what was modeled and also calm down.
What are some steps to achieve that ideal? First (like mentioned above), do your own work to find out the root causes of your reactivity and triggers to your emotions. When we think of our emotions on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being minimal to no reaction and 10 being overwhelmed or explosive, anything above a 3-4 is triggering past trauma. For me, when my kids talk back, I get highly triggered because my brain goes from my kid is talking back to I am not a good mom to I am not good enough in general and so my fight response is triggered. However, the more work I do on that and notice my own shame triggers around not being good enough, the better I am able to regulate when those instances happen and know that my kid talking back does not equal, I am not good enough.
Instead, I can take a step back and realize that their behavior is telling me something. Maybe it is telling me they are attention seeking because their love tank is on empty or that I need to set clear expectations on communication and mutual respect (or all of the above). When I take my emotions and “stuff” out of it, I am better able to see what the need the child is trying to meet by their behavior. Then, I can teach them how to get that need met in a healthier way or help them get that need met if I can.
Second, we need to practice what we preach. If we tell our child that when they have big emotions come up to take a breath or count to ten, they need to see us use those tools. If the only time we practice that skill is when we are trying to calm the child, it will not integrate with them the same as if we did it when we are struggling. Let’s say I am driving and in traffic, struggling to get where I am trying to go. If I am yelling at the other drivers and saying to myself “I am so stupid for thinking I could do this right now, this is impossible to get through”, my kiddo is going to take more from that then when I tell them to use their skills when stressed or overwhelmed. However, if when I am stuck in traffic and get upset, I instead take a deep breath, count to 10 and say to myself “This is busy right now AND I am okay and I will eventually get where I need to be. I can handle this,” the child will learn that this is how we handle big emotions. From there, the next time the child has big emotions you can say “remember when mommy was really overwhelmed when we were driving to grandma’s house because of the traffic? What did mommy do? Yea, mommy took a deep breath and counted to 10, want to try that?” Your child may say yes or they may spin more. If they say yes, woohoo! If they don’t, practice the skill yourself anyway. Take a deep breath and count to 10, use whatever skills you have to stay calm and eventually the child will calm down. If you have a highly reactive child, this will take some practice and it won’t be perfect.
Third, know your child’s triggers and call them out when you see them. “Hudson, I see that you are tired and it is hard for you to run errands with mommy when your energy tank is empty. Once we get out of this store, mommy will give you time to recharge. If you want, I can put you in the cart so you can rest while we finish up in here”. In the perfect world, our child would not have to function when tired or hungry or overwhelmed. Which is why we bring snacks, water bottles etc. everywhere we go. And while we don’t want to intentionally subject our kids to their triggers, there are times when they will naturally occur and that is when we get to teach our children how to handle the situation because that is part of life as an adult and strengthening that muscle now will help them in the future. When those triggers occur, normalize them. “Mommy gets overwhelmed when there are a lot of people around too. When I am overwhelmed, I stay close to whoever I am with and focus on why I am here instead of focusing on the chaos. Would you like to hold my hand while we walk through this crowd?” For older kids, you can help them learn how to use their skills by asking questions like “I see you are overwhelmed. What do you need right now to help you navigate this?” If they don’t know, offer a few suggestions or remind them of a time when they were overwhelmed and what skills they used to navigate the situation.
Fourth, own your mistakes and when you struggle with your emotional regulation. This is where modeling vulnerability comes in. “Hunter, mommy is sorry for yelling at you when you did not listen. Even though mommy was frustrated, it does not mean it is okay for me to yell. Next time I will try to use my skills of taking a mommy time out or counting to 10 when I am frustrated with you.” Or “Mommy was really struggling when we were trying to find the soccer field. However, next time mommy is overwhelmed mommy is going to speak kinder in the words she says to herself and you”. Our kids need to see that we are human and that we struggle too.
Now remember, this is not going to be a perfect process for you or them and that is okay. As long as we stay consistent and work on it, positive change will occur. Now have fun riding the wave of emotions (studies say that the average length of an emotion not tied to trauma or an unmet need only lasts 90 seconds) and teaching your kiddos to do the same.
Anxiety is a crippling feeling that many people face. In fact, in my experience it is even more prevalent than research suggests. There are all kinds of different treatment options for anxiety and interventions, lifestyle changes etc. to utilize. I have covered a lot of those in previous blog posts so I am not going to repeat those but am going to share a few that I have not shared about.
Those were just five of hundreds of techniques to try to manage your anxiety. Honestly, not all of them will likely work for you. But, some will so you have to be willing to keep trying until you find the ones that work for you and your anxiety. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out, you deserve healing.
Are you in Arizona and looking for a therapist? If so, reach out to me and we can see if we would be a good fit in working together. I would love to help you with your anxiety!
Jocelyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and course creator who desires to help clients heal and grow into who God created them to be.