Your health and wellness affect every aspect of life. Find out about this interesting relationship between your health and your path in life.
Let’s start with a definition of wellness.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. — World Health Organization (WHO)
Next, we’ll review each of these six dimensions. Then we’ll discuss how these relate to the spiritual path. Dr. Hettler, the World Health Organization (WHO) (1) describes the elements of health and wellness in the following categories:
Six Dimensions of Wellness
Maximizing your health requires an understanding of the six dimensions and how they relate to our lives. We forget how complex we are. It’s easy to focus on just one thing or one dimension. If you affect one dimension, it affects the others. The goal is to achieve the proper balance in our lives to be healthy and durable.
So, the first step is to make an honest assessment of each dimension. If you Understand your relationship to these six dimensions of wellness, you can make the necessary adjustments.
The occupational dimension recognizes personal satisfaction in one’s life through work. Occupational wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to choose a career consistent with our values, interests, and beliefs than to select one that creates conflict with important elements.
- Continuing to develop functional, transferable skills is key to keeping up with changes in technology.
The physical dimension recognizes the need for regular physical activity. Physical development encourages a holistic approach, including exercise, diet, and nutrition. Physical wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to consume foods and beverages that enhance good health rather than those which satisfy taste.
- Focusing on being functionally fit will increase your ability to enjoy a wider variety of life activities.
The social dimension encourages contributing to one’s environment and community. It emphasizes the interdependence between others and nature. Social wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves.
- Striving to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict.
The intellectual dimension recognizes one’s creative, stimulating mental activities. It values both expanding knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for sharing their gifts. Intellectual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is healthy to stretch and challenge our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits. Otherwise, we become unproductive and interested only in passive entertainment.
- A healthy intellect learns to identify potential problems and choose courses of action. They use data to make proactive decisions. This is better than procrastination, waiting, worrying, and contending with major concerns later.
The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes developing a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. Spiritual wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to seek the meaning of life for ourselves and our path than others’ beliefs. To be tolerant of other views but not complacent when confronted with injustice, inequity, or prejudice.
- It is better to live each day consistent with the universal value for all people and the environment than to be selfish and greedy.
The emotional dimension is the awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It is the capacity to manage one’s feelings and behaviors. Developing an emotional awareness, a realistic assessment of one’s abilities and limitations. The ability to cope effectively with stress and maintain healthy relationships with others. Emotional wellness follows these tenets:
- It is better to know of and accept our feelings than to deny them.
- An optimistic approach to life attracts more positive support than a pessimistic outlook.
Maximizing your Health
Now it’s time for an assessment of these principles. You’ll likely spot a dimension or two where you lack action or focus. Achieving the proper balance requires constant adjustments.
For example, if you know you need to lose weight for health reasons. But your assessment tells you that you lack proper focus in both the physical and emotional dimensions. Now you know where to put more effort. So, you may need to adjust the time or effort you spend in one or more other dimensions.
By applying the six dimensions of wellness, we can maximize our health and wellness. We notice how they relate to one another and contribute to the quality of life. This holistic model explains:
- How we contribute to their environment and community and learn strategies to create a better life.
- The enrichment of life through work and how it connects to living and playing; belief systems, values, and creating a world-view;
- The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength, and vitality. Our personal responsibility for self-care and seeking qualified medical attention;
- Encouraging self-awareness, self-control, and determination. Finding a sense of direction; fostering creative and stimulating mental activities. Sharing your resources and gifts with others.
Applying a holistic wellness approach benefit aspect of life. Wellness is the pathway to optimal living. A holistic health philosophy is spawning the growth in helping professions. More people are cultivating interests in counseling and medical arts and practices. The National Wellness Institute has three questions to assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated:
- Will this tactic or activity help people achieve their full potential?
- Does this recognize and address the whole person (multi-dimensional approach)?
- How does this affirm and mobilize people’s positive qualities and strengths?
The Wellness Dimensions And My Path
Health and Wellness have an interesting relationship with our awareness and consciousness. Sometimes, we find either direct or inverse relationships. Sometimes there is a correlation. Maximizing your health requires the proper balance of all dimensions.
Know thyself. This is the key. Our wellness needs are unique. Some say that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. To know ourselves, we need to follow the call of the inward journey. Many people in our modern world forget this important part of our overall wellness. Spiritual exploration correlates to the spiritual dimension of health and wellness. This involves the use of what we call spiritual technologies.
Spiritual technologies are ancient methods for exploring the human spirit. They come from cultures all around the globe. They are time-tested by generations of use. These practical mental tools help us expand awareness. Some open the doors to higher states of consciousness.
The methods we select are tools that can stand up to the rigorous test of science. They are repeatable processes. Several produce scientifically measurable effects on our physiology. Some of these changes include brainwave coherence, lower heart rates, and increased skin resistance. These measurable changes prove these tools produce states of consciousness different from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Anyone can use them. All you need to do is follow the process. We think of them just like a recipe for a cake. You combine the right ingredients in the right way, and you get something delicious. They do not require the belief or faith in any religious doctrine.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their own path. You can start with any of these methods. The more you use, the better.
The Occupational Dimension of my Path
What we do to earn a living can be an entry point. However, many people work to live. They don’t have the luxury of being able to choose work that is financially viable or enriching. Those lucky enough to have a career that provides enrichment are in the minority.
The corporate culture consumes much of our life energy. This leaves little time for other dimensions that make life meaningful. People come to us in search of means of reducing stress and carving out time for the other areas of life. You can learn to enjoy your work more (see above reference to Japa/TM meditation). The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a good example of how one can learn to find spiritual meaning in what would otherwise be a mundane and tedious ritual.
The Physical Dimension of my Path
Our physical health and wellness directly impact our ability to engage in all activities. The quality of health and well-being are often key elements in the student’s readiness. Being mentally stable and physically vibrant, resilient, and durable are assets. Having these qualities is essential, especially for the more physical processes. There are, of course, exceptions.
Basic mindfulness meditation techniques can help reduce the stress of a hectic lifestyle. Even better are more advanced techniques like Japa Meditation and Shamanic Journey.
The Social Dimension of my Path
Spiritual exploration is often described as an individual path. The social dimension seems to conflict with walking your path, but it is not. Walking your path does not mean always walking alone. Helping others learn and overcome roadblocks on their path enriches your own. You’ll never understand technology better than when teaching it and helping others.
You’ll also face your own “dark night of the soul” at some point. And, having friends you can talk to help in those hard places. Yes, you’ll still be forging your own path, but you’ll go farther when you have partners along the way.
You may even find a teacher. A good teacher has a precise way of assessing the student’s readiness to learn. Look for a teacher interested in teaching processes, not making followers. If the Universe brings a teacher into your life, listen to them.
The Intellectual Dimension of my Path
Enhancing your critical thinking skills is not just valuable. It is essential. Studying the correct uses of inductive and deductive logic will help you avoid common roadblocks. Spotting errors in an argument will save you a lot of time and heartache. It’s highly recommended that you use a tool like the Enneagram Personality Profile. Learning to understand your personality will give you the perspective you’ll need.
If you are a part of a tradition that controls or bans what you can read, then you’ve got a problem. There is an inverse relationship between religious belief and your ability to explore ideas and processes. The more rigid the belief system, the more it affects your ability to use reason and common sense.
When you think about it, it makes sense. The greater the number of boundaries, the more roadblocks you are creating and the harder it will be. It’s not impossible to have both closely held religious beliefs and use techniques outside the paradigm. It means you will encounter more conflicts. You will probably be more likely to run into things that conflict with your belief system. Attempting to reconcile conflicting ideas causes what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” This is a major hindrance to maximizing your health.
The Spiritual Dimension of my Path
The Emotional Dimension of my Path
There is a correlation between your emotional health and your ability to learn. To learn advanced spiritual technologies requires good health. Spiritual exploration is a holistic approach to the investigation of awareness and consciousness. It contains within its domain elements for physical, mental, and spiritual healing. Our emotions are intertwined with these.
Our emotions are a barometer of our total health and wellness. Some of the best tools for assessing our emotional state are the simplest. The spiritual journal for recording thoughts, dreams, and experiences is indispensable. The Enneagram Personality Profile is one of the core tools we recommend and use. It is a tool for understanding the mechanisms of personality and instinct. It’s also a doorway leading us through various intellectual exercises to the Observer. The person who is listening to us when we are talking in our heads.
Inner work often brings to light aspects of ourselves that normally remain hidden. Inner work can be stressful. You may feel emotionally drained or raw when completing sessions that delve into the psyche. This is normal. As we saw above with intellectual and spiritual dimensions, it is quite probable that we will encounter some roadblocks in our path.
The process of spiritual exploration can be an emotional merry-go-round. We learn something new and are filled with joy. This new awareness uncovers a roadblock or hidden wound. Our emotions plummet. Then we engage in the process of healing, and we need encouragement and emotional strength.
We’ve examined the six dimensions of wellness and how they relate to the path of spiritual exploration. We’ve brought to light some interesting correlations that we hope help you in developing your path. Although we travel our own path, we should not travel it alone. You’ll need partners to come alongside. You’ll need people who can bring healing and encouragement. We can help you find these people and help you as a “virtual” partner.
Besides the information above, proper self-care can also positively affect almost every aspect of health and wellness.
Thanks for reading this article. We welcome your opinion, so don’t hesitate to comment or email us. We hope it provides some food for thought. You can find more mind-opening topics on our blog.
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(1) Dr. Hettler and The World Health Organization, who.int
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia