Want to improve your sense of well-being? Here are 5 things you can do now
The 8 Dimensions of Wellnessis an approach to recovery or self-development that acknowledges the different states of a person’s being that need to be fulfilled to establish overall well-being.
While it’s a simple concept, considering a route to this level of well-being is often quite a daunting task. After all, this isn’t a couple of small changes that represent a ‘magic bullet’ approach to change; this kind of approach represents a real overhaul of virtually every aspect of an individual’s life.
With that in mind, we’ve charted 5 important steps that you might want to consider if you’re looking to achieve the 8 Dimensions of Wellness. But first, we’ll take a glance over what those 8 Dimensions of Wellness are.
What are the 8 Dimensions of Wellness?
From a professional psychological standpoint, the 8 Dimension of Wellness are:
- Emotional: Coping with life and creating healthy relationships
- Environmental: Being in situations that support well-being
- Intellectual: Recognizing and developing knowledge and skills
- Physical: Understanding the connection between physical and mental health
- Occupational: Deriving satisfaction from work
- Spiritual: Finding some meaning and purpose from life
- Social: Nurturing a support system based on real connection and belonging
- Financial: Finding contentment with current and future finances
Creating a definition of wellness based on these measures doesn’t create a picture that’s the same for any two people. In fact, it would be surprising to find any two people fully aligned on what these things represent. Instead, they’re a set of constantly moving questions that a person can refer to in order to gauge their current situation and find room for development or reflection.
As such, rather than offering a prescriptive ‘goal’ that people should look to obtain in any area, it’s better to consider an approach that can accompany your individual journey. For many people, that approach can be broken down into 5 key areas:
Be open to the idea of change
If you’re reading this looking for ways to change —then congratulations, because change is possible for you. Holding onto hope is an important step in affecting change. Why would you set out on a journey if you had no chance of reaching the destination?
When people face dark times in their life or turn to unhealthy coping strategies, it’s rarely because they consider that option the best route, but instead because they don’t consider there to be any other option but to submit to a hopeless way forward.
Change ispossible for you. It might not feel like it 100% of the time; in fact, it might not even feel like it 1% of the time. But if you can make tiny changes when you feel capable, you’ll start to see that these small steps forward can add up to a bigger journey.
Create realistic goals
There are very few people in this world who wake up, decide to transform their life, then end up running marathons, creating life-long relationships, or reinventing themselves the same day. If you see social media posts that tell you otherwise then it’s time to unfollow!
Change can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate the small steps. Everyone who loses weight starts with one pound. Everyone who climbs Mount Everest starts with one step — and that’s one more pound or step than you’d achieved the day before.
It’s important to have something to aim for, but it’s also important that the target isn’t so far away that you can’t see it. Sometimes your goal needs to be about getting through the next hour without falling back on an unhealthy coping strategy. If you can do that, then you just have to repeat it. It doesn’t matter how short your goals are, you can extend them as the first strands of discipline and motivation creep in.
Make an achievable plan
Your goals might be short term or long term, but without a plan that makes them happen, you’re only going to be hoping for the best. While hope is important, there’s a very strong possibility you’re going to need to build some scaffolding around that hope to keep it held up.
Planning is vital when you’re aiming for change. If you want to eat a little better and improve your physical dimension, what will that mean? Emptying the cupboards of snacks? Researching good food? Writing a shopping list? Or if you’re looking improve your environmental dimension, does that mean moving home? Looking for a good deal on a holiday? Redecorating your house?
The questions are potentially endless — and will be unique to you — but asking them is an important part of building an action plan. Perhaps your action plan works, perhaps it needs some adjustment. Either way, putting an achievable plan in place will make sure tomorrow takes you one step closer to the goal you’re aiming for.
Reflect in a forgiving way
What happens when you miss a goal? Or your action plan comes off the rails? You could beat yourself up and look for comfort in the tried and tested coping strategies that have been instrumental in delivering you to where you started from — but then again, you could also cut yourself some slack. If you made a change for 2 hours, that’s 2 hours longer than you have before. Or perhaps the change lasted for weeks, months, years?
We’re somehow taught to condemn ourselves for the slip ups we make in life, but when errors, wrong turns, or attempts to cope represent such a tiny part of a bigger picture, is that fair? The answer is an absolutely unquestionable NO — even though we’re seemingly hardwired to consider this the case. Don’t focus on dropping the ball. Instead, reflect in a way that congratulates yourself for keeping hold of the ball for an admirable period of time (whether that’s 10 minutes or 10 years).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Pursuing change can be downright scary if you’re doing it alone — so don’t think for one second that’s what’s necessary. There is a world of help: professionals, charities, website, resources, and other people who are facing, or have knowledge of the same issues as you. Even if you think you’re the only person in the world who has your unique set of circumstances, that doesn’t mean someone else can’t at least listen; and odds are, they will be able to add valuable perspective.
In our modern world, we rely on so many people and services to make life tick along. Most of us use products or services we have no hope of developing or maintaining ourselves. Changing yourself doesn’t have to be different. When you reach out to others, you’ll realize you’re not alone with your feelings and that your journey to wellness can be one that’s supported by a huge number of other people.
>You may also enjoy reading The Most Common Happiness Mistake and the Secret to Greater Joy, by Sara Fabian