The graphic above shows nine dimensions of health and wellness. These are the segments or areas of our lives that come together to make us the complete beings we are. Yet this graphic is missing an important dimension. One that is often pushed aside and neglected because many of us are too embarrassed to talk about it. Our sexual health and wellness.
Wellness is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Wellness includes social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, creative, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, and sexual health and wellness.
Spiritual Wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. Spirituality is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives.
- Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
- Do I make time for meditation and/or prayer?
- Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
- Am I accepting of the views of others?
Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
- Do I know health numbers, like cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels?
- Do I get annual physical exams?
- Do I avoid using tobacco products?
- Do I get sufficient amount of sleep?
- Do I have an established exercise routine?
Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring.
- Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
- Do I have ways to reduce stress in my life?
- Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
- Am I able to set priorities?
Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world.
- Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?
- Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?
- Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?
- Do I explore diversity by interacting with people of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs?
Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us.
- Do I recycle, reuse, or donate?
- If I see a safety hazard, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
- Do I volunteer time to worthy causes?
- Am I aware of my surroundings at all times?
Creative Wellness is the ability to participate in arts and culture activities for the purpose of self-expression, stress-relief, and skill-building.
- Do I take time to be creative?
- Do I enjoy observing art or making art?
- Am I aware of my own creative talents?
- Do I appreciate the creative talents of others?
Occupational (Career) Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives.
- Do I enjoy my life most days?
- Do I have a manageable workload at home?
- Do I feel that I have accomplished my goals?
Financial wellness is an intricate balance of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of money.
- Do I have extra cash in my pocket?
- Do I balance my checkbook regularly?
- Do I protect myself from fraudulent activity?
Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.
- Am I open to new ideas?
- Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?
- Do I search for learning opportunities and stimulating mental activities?
- Do I look for ways to use creativity?
The 10th and very important, but often forgotten or neglected, dimension of our wellness is our:
Sexual Wellness includes intimate physical contact and close personal relationships. No matter what we are told by churches or parents sex is an important part of human life. Whether or not we want to admit it we are animals and have the same drives and urges. Sexual health is an integral part of your overall wellness as you age. Countless scientific studies have shown the many benefits of a healthy and active love-life including; living longer, obtaining greater success in business and a greater overall well-being.
- Am I able to interact with all genders in appropriate and respectful ways?
- Do I feel comfortable discussing sexual issues?
- Am I able to effectively communicate sexual limits?
- Am I able to express physical feeling of attraction without focusing on the genitals?
- Am I able to discuss desires and fantasies with partners?
- Do I take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
- Do I take steps to protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases?
- Am I able to develop friendships without sexual agendas?
- Do I appreciate my own body? Am I comfortable in my skin?
- Do I understand the physical and emotional consequences of sexual activity?
These are all very important aspects of our overall wellness and when one is affected, all become affected eventually. Simply because every aspect of ourselves is interconnected in such a way that they are dependent and interdependent upon each other. One aspect cannot function perfectly without the others; they build upon each other and make you who you are now. If something is not working properly or illness has developed, every aspect must be addressed in order to successfully change or heal. This is the holistic or whole-person way of thinking.