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Dimensions of Health

When it comes to “health” we often think primarily about physical health: when your body is functioning well and you feel energetic and thriving. However, I want to take you to the other 5 areas of health that we should reflect on. Each dimension of our overall health would include the following areas: mental, emotional, social, environmental, existential, and physical.

We know what physical health is but what about the others? Let’s break them down so we can understand what each dimension includes.

  • Mental health - learning, remembering, and solving problems well; alert, focused, and thoughtful.

  • Emotional health - having a full range of emotions and the ability to regulate and express them appropriately.

  • Social health - connected to others with safe and secure relationships; feeling supported by others and like you “belong.”

  • Environmental health - your surroundings support your health and well-being.

  • Existential health - feeling a sense of purpose and having meaning in your life.

Looking at each of these personally, I can see some areas in my life that need a little help! So how can we work on these dimensions in order to bring about greater health? We can look at the physical area of health and know right off the bat that proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep will all be beneficial. These are no-brainers, although they take discipline and work, and consistency.

  • With our mental health, we can intersperse periods of focus with periods of mental recovery and creativity. Take a walk in nature in order to get your mental health in better shape or work on a task or hobby that you enjoy that doesn’t take a lot of mental focus, such as gardening.

  • For emotional health, work on techniques that allow you to take a step away from reacting emotionally in stressful situations. Recognize when you are getting upset and have a plan to deal with your response. Remind yourself of the positive and work on taking a few deep breaths when things get emotional.

  • For quality social health, look at your relationships and see which ones have a positive impact on you and seek to spend time with those people. If you have a passion for a certain sport or craft, join a club or group that has like-minded people in it so you can grow within a community.

  • For environmental health, look to make your living space supportive of recovery and relaxation. Your environment should be a place that is supportive of your health goals as well as free of negative influences.

  • And lastly, for existential health, work on “giving back” to others and seek out meaningful activities. Keep a gratitude journal and set aside daily time to reflect and be introspective.

Thinking about each of these dimensions of health should get us to contemplate where we can institute changes that will point us in the direction of growth. We can all add a positive habit this week so let’s get focused and committed to building and practicing healthy skills and behaviors today.

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