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What is Wellness? An Introduction to the 9 Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness practices are not just a trend to practice in January for the new year. They are necessary to live a life well-lived.

This article begins our 10-part series on how you can break through barriers blocking you from a life well-lived using of the benefits of wellness practice. The series will follow foundational concepts related to wellness and the 9 Dimensions of Wellness.

Image by Kayla Mendez

Why We Need Wellness to Live a Life Well-Lived

Well-being is the condition of “ happiness and contentment, with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life” (APA, 2023).

By definition, a condition can be influenced to change over time.

We can assume that we are not always going to experience low levels of distress, have a happy, content outlook on life, or experience a good quality of life at all times as we move throughout various phases in our lives. Therefore, we need active support to limit those influences attempting to overwhelm our inner and external resources and ultimately change our condition of well-being.

We do this through wellness practices targeting nine interconnected dimensions of life:

  1. Physical

  2. Environmental

  3. Financial

  4. Emotional

  5. Social

  6. Cultural

  7. Career

  8. Intellectual

  9. Spiritual

How Well Are You?

Think of your being as if on a number line. Remember those from grade school?

If your being originates at 0, and given change is expected to occur throughout your life, we can estimate that progression toward either the negative/smaller numbers (illness) or positive/larger numbers (well-being) will occur.

Wellness is dynamic (APA, 2023). It fluctuates depending on our condition and influences at any given time. This means that you can give yourself what you need when you need it to actively promote well-being.

Are You Progressing Toward Well-being or Illness?

The “new year” is just that, a new year. Another 365 days have begun. It’s an arbitrary marker to instill urgency of a need to promote well-being.

I want to reason with you to believe instead that each new day is an opportunity to create a condition of well-being, control influences via wellness practices, and ultimately live a life well-lived.

So, how do you progress toward well-being and away from illness setbacks?

Remember when I said to give yourself what you need when you need it? This requires you to be your truest self so that you can be honest and perhaps vulnerable about your needs, wants, and expectations. This may mean setting firmer boundaries that consistently promote well-being with family, chosen family, work, friends, children, romantic partners, and yourself.

To find out how well you are, start by getting an understanding of where you’re starting in the different dimensions of wellness. You can easily do this by downloading this free wellness wheel workbook and answering its amazing thought-provoking questions to jumpstart your wellness journey.

Additional questions to consider when completing your own wellness wheel include:

  • Emotional wellness:

  • Cultural wellness:

Looking Ahead

Change is happening. Constantly. Either you are progressing toward illness, or you are progressing toward well-being. You have the power and authority to ensure the latter is sought. You have power and authority over how well a life you choose to live.

We want you to feel (and be) well throughout your days, years, and life!

By deeply understanding how wellness can work in the moments you need to practice it, you will develop skills to go from feeling overwhelmed during times of distress to using your strengths and talents to promote a short- and long-term condition of well-being.

Throughout this article series, we’ll cover practical actions to teach you how to practice wellness across the nine dimensions. So, stay tuned for the remainder of this 10-part series as we’ll be diving into all things wellness!

Call to Action

Looking for more?

Subscribe to the Grace Counseling and Wellness, PLLC newsletter, Saving Grace for insights about prioritizing yourself, having better relationships with yourself and others, and dealing with life when responsibilities begin to feel overwhelming. We aim to empower you to make sense of your life so you can live with grace and wellness.


“APA Dictionary of Psychology.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association,

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