The 8 Elements of Wellness: Are You Living Your Most Balanced, Beautiful Life?
We all have different backgrounds, experiences, families of origin and circumstances, but did you know that we are all working on eight areas of life at different times throughout our lifetime?
Do you remember Aristotle saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts?” Each of these eight areas are important in our lives separately, and when we put them all together and find the right balance for us individually, we will live in optimal health or wellness.
So, what eight areas of life am I talking about? Get ready. You’re most likely working (focusing) on one of them right now and didn’t even realize it.
The 8 Elements of Wellness
I call these eight areas of life “elements”, because they are essential for wellness. How you are doing in each of these areas will determine your overall happiness and health in life.
Wellness doesn’t just happen. When we intentionally and thoughtfully pursue the goals and dreams on our heart while healing our past along the way, we will create a balanced and beautiful life. And seeing how you are doing in each of these areas will help you with that.
Your Wellness Checklist
Please take a moment and answer this short but powerful question, “How am I doing?”
Please answer this question from your heart, truthfully and honestly, where you feel you are right now, not where you want to be.
Too many of us live our life by “going through the motions.” Day in and day out we exist, but we’re not truly living. We don’t check in with ourselves often enough and assess how we are doing at any given moment. Now is your opportunity to do just that.
And after you answer that initial question, I have listed out some questions after each element down below that you can ask yourself. If you can write the answers down in a notebook or journal, that would be helpful for you. I urge you to take your time and be honest with yourself. How you answer these questions may reveal the very one thing keeping you from living your balanced, most beautiful life.
Spiritual Health—What do you see as your meaning and purpose in life? Do you have a belief system beyond or outside of yourself? Do you have others in your life that share similar spiritual beliefs? What are your personal values? Do you have a moral compass? What puts a smile on your face? What makes your heart genuinely happy? What gets you out of bed every morning?
Emotional Health—Are you mentally and emotionally healthy? Have you dealt with or are you dealing with past hurts or traumatic events? Are you resolving conflict currently in your life or are there unresolved conflicts? Do you have a healthy self-esteem? Are you happy? Have you had, in the past or currently, suicidal thoughts? Do you have unresolved grief? Where are you at in your birth order? What is your earliest childhood memory? Are you irritated or easily agitated? Are you “in touch” with your emotions? Can you easily describe your emotions to someone else?
Physical Health—Are you living in a way that promotes a healthy body? Are you eating to nourish and sustain your body? Are you underweight or overweight? Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Are you dependent on a medication, alcohol, or drugs? Are you exercising regularly? What health issues are you dealing with? Are you having healthy sexual relations? Is there preventative care that you need to tend to?
Social Health—Do you have healthy, supportive relationships? Do you have close friends? Do you feel connected to your family members? Do you have face-to-face contact with people and not just engage through social media? Are you happily married? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you have a network of friends in your work environment? What are your peer relationships like? Do you have someone in your life that you help or mentor? Do your relationships have healthy boundaries? Do you have a pet or pets in your home?
Environmental Health—Do you recognize that your surroundings have an impact on you? Is your home and work environment a safe and healthy place? Have you considered environmental factors like pesticides in food, fast food, processed foods, preservatives, cleaning supplies, personal care, beauty products and dry cleaning? Are your surroundings aesthetically pleasing, uncluttered, and organized?
Intellectual Health—Are you challenging your mind? Are you helping your brain stay healthy be learning new things and being creative? Are you “engaged” and “present” in your day-to-day life? Do you tend to “escape” reality with unhealthy or addictive behaviors? Do you understand that your thoughts determine your feelings and actions?
Vocational Health—Are you pursuing your passions? Are you where you want to be in your career? Do you find a sense of fulfillment in your job? Are you prepared through education to obtain your vocational goals? What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Financial Health—Are you overcome with financial stress? Are you free from debt? Do you live within a budget? Do you need help creating a financial plan? Have you planned financially for your future? Have you planned for your retirement or if you were to be disabled? Do you tithe to a church or give a percentage of your income to a charity or foundation you believe in?
I hope you found these questions helpful. Of course, these questions are not meant to be exhaustive, but only to be used as a guide to help you pursue your individual wellness on a deeper level.
If answering these questions has overwhelmed you, please keep in mind that wellness is a journey, not a destination, and that you don’t have to do this work on your own. If you need someone to help you with this process, and if you are comfortable in reaching out to me, I am here for you and would love to help you.
Debbie Whitehead is a licensed professional counselor (M.Ed, LPC), certified personal trainer (CPT), and certified nutrition coach. She owns a practice in Plano, Texas where she helps clients break free from trauma and live a beautiful life – mind, body, and soul.