Wellness, a positive approach to life and health, maximizes the individual's potential. It involves the "whole" person; physically, emotionally, and on a psychological basis. The National Wellness Institute, located at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, divides wellness into six dimensions:
Social - measures the individual's contribution to the common welfare of the community. This emphasizes the interdependence with others and nature, making friends and having meaningful relationships. Happier, satisfying and stable relationships with others and a stronger community are some potential results.
Physical - measures both how one maintains cardiovascular fitness and strength, and behaviors that h elp one to prevent or detect early illnesses. Also measures the degree to which one chooses foods which are nourishing and balanced. Exercise, nutrition and safety encourage not only freedom from illness but also feelings of vitality, energy and enthusiasm.
Intellectual - measures the degree that one engages in creative, stimulating mental activities. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand his/her knowledge to improve skills along with expanding potential for sharing with others. Benefits include improved job performance, better problem solving, more knowledge and a better chance at being successful in life.
Occupational - measures the satisfaction gained from one's work and the degree to which one is enriched by the work. The satisfaction gained is related to individual attitudes about work, a sense of direction and goals, and a feeling of achievement.
Emotional - measures the degree of awareness and the acceptance that one has of one's feelings. This includes the extent to which one feels positive and enthusiastic about one's self and life. It measures the capacity to appropriately control one's feelings and related behaviors, including the realistic assessment of one's limitations, and the capacity to cope with stress.
Spiritual - measures one's ongoing involvement in seeking meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe.
A personal wellness lifestyle is associated with good physical health, emotional stability, improved personal relationships, as well as increased career satisfaction.