Life + Career Wellness Toolkit Achieving Wellness

Achieving Wellness

Strong foundation

Maintain wellness throughout your career

Learn how to make improvements in your emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual and environmental health.

Wellness is the balance of a physician’s emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental health. These 8 Dimensions of Wellness align with the osteopathic approach to mind, body, and spirit. The following descriptions are adapted from SAMHSA’s 8 Dimensions of Wellness.

8 Dimensions of Wellness


  • Improving emotional wellness

    Emotional wellness inspires self-care, relaxation, stress reduction, and inner strength development. It is vital to be attentive to both positive and negative feelings and be able to handle these emotions. Emotional wellness also includes the ability to learn and grow from experiences. Emotional well-being encourages autonomy and proper decision-making skills. It is an integral part of overall wellness. Emotional wellness allows you to accept how you are feeling. Once you accept your feelings, you can begin to understand why you feel that way and decide how you would like to act in response to those feelings. Being emotionally well grants you the power to express feelings without any constraints. In turn, you will be able to enjoy emotional expression and be capable of forming supportive and interdependent relationships with others. To begin the route to emotional wellness, you must never forget to be optimistic. Optimism allows you to greet all positive and negative emotions with a confident attitude that will enable you to learn from your mistakes. Once you have mastered emotional wellness, you will experience life a little differently. Your life will be more balanced, and you will develop a deep sense of awareness.

  • Improving financial wellness

    Financial wellness involves our relationship with money, skills to manage resources to live within our means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and learning to prepare for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. This dimension includes awareness that everyone's financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique.

  • Improving social wellness

    Social wellness focuses on connecting with your community and the people around you, which includes being aware of your own social and cultural background as a bridge to understand the diversity and depth present in other backgrounds. This dimension requires good communication skills and encourages connecting with and contributing to your communities, establishing supportive social networks with families, friends, and colleagues, developing meaningful relationships, and creating safe and inclusive spaces.

  • Improving spiritual wellness

    Spiritual wellness involves seeking and having a meaning and purpose in life and participating in activities consistent with one's beliefs and values. It is more than prayer and believing in a higher being. Spirituality can be represented in many ways, for example, through relaxation or religion. A spiritually healthy person seeks harmony with the universe, expresses compassion towards others, and practices gratitude and self-reflection. Spiritual health means knowing which resources to use to cope with issues that come up in everyday life. When we integrate spiritual wellness practices, we are able to connect in mind, body, and soul.

  • Improving occupational wellness

    Occupational wellness prepares for and participates in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment consistent with one's values, goals, and lifestyle. It involves utilizing one's gifts, skills, and talents to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in life. It focuses on enjoying your occupational endeavors and appreciating your contributions.

  • Improving physical wellness

    Physical wellness involves the physical aspects of life necessary to keep yourself in top condition. A combination of beneficial physical activities/exercise and healthy eating habits can assist you with developing optimal physical health. The elemental components of physical wellness include building muscular and cardiovascular strength and endurance, plus flexibility. Physical wellness is also concerned with developing personal responsibility for your healthcare, such as caring for minor illnesses and knowing when professional medical attention is needed. Developing physical wellness empowers you to monitor your vital signs and understand your body's warning signs. You will understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how your body performs. The physical benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination, and a sense of direction.

  • Improving environmental wellness

    Environmental wellness inspires us to live a respectful lifestyle of our surroundings. It involves understanding the dynamic relationship between the environment and people and recognizing that we are responsible for the quality of the air, water, and earth surrounding us and that social, natural, and built environments affect our health and well-being. Our environment and how we feel about the environment can play a significant role in our lives. Examples of our environment include our social environment (i.e., bullying, fat talk, and racism), our natural environment (i.e., air, nature, and climate), and our built environment (i.e., proximity to resources and living conditions). Small ways to improve your environmental well-being are:

    • Seek or accept help and support from others when needed.
    • Employ gratitude in your life to strengthen relationships with family & friends.
    • Practice being mindful and increasing your awareness. Using meditation can help with becoming mindful and raising your awareness.

  • Improving intellectual wellness

    Intellectual wellness involves having an open mind when you encounter new ideas and continuing to expand your knowledge. It encourages active participation in mentally stimulating and creative activities (scholastic, cultural and community activities). It is the ability to think critically, reason objectively, make responsible decisions, and explore new ideas and different points of view. It emphasizes lifelong learning and inspires curiosity.

    (Source: Creating A Healthier Life A Step-By-Step Guide To Wellness, SAMHSA, 2016).

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