Intellectual Wellness (8 Dimensions of Wellness Series)

I'm Smart Kent County Girls on the Run April 06, 20101
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo (stevendepolo) on Flickr
Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.
–William Lyon Phelps

This aspect of wellness incorporates lifelong learning, knowledge and education, mental skills, curiosity, and creativity “for the personal growth of the individual and for the betterment of society” (Roscoe, L J 2009).

Some common examples of activities related to intellectual wellness include going to school, reading, learning a new language, watching educational videos, applying experiential knowledge to new situations, doing crossword puzzles, seeking a mentor’s advice, and experimenting with new recipes. While any of the previous examples can be used for the “betterment of society,” two more specific examples are learning new tasks for a volunteer project and reading up on best practices in your industry so you can help your workgroup more efficiently.

The Internet makes intellectual wellness easier

Many websites, like YouTubeCraftsy, Udacity, and TED talks, offer opportunities to increase your intellectual wellness for free, through online classes and videos. You can also find free puzzles and games at sites like Luminosity, which was developed to keep your brain challenged.

Finding other people committed to intellectual wellness is also easy. Meetup helps groups organize around common goals and events, such as learning new languages or skills, and other websites offer mentorship programs within specific industries.

For those interested in traditional school/education, there are also several scholarship databases (like Fastweb) and other educational resources available online.

This post is part of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series focusing on each aspect of wellness and providing related resources. To get more free resources and information about wellness, click here to get each post by email.

Physical Wellness (8 Dimensions of Wellness Series)

Graceful strength by KMoFoto on Flickr. Used unmodified under CC-BY 2.0 license
Photo Credit: KMoFoto on Flickr.
Used unmodified under the CC-BY 2.0 license.

Physical wellness is broader than physical health because it includes general medical health plus the ability to do activities of daily life activities, and safety. It can be increased and maintained through exercise and physical activity, nutrition, regular medical care and screenings, and sufficient (and quality) sleep.

Prevention is Key for Optimal Wellness

The emphasis is often on prevention when talking about physical wellness. There are many resources to help you prevent physical illnesses and to maintain optimal health and wellness.

The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) put together a list of 27 free resources in 6 categories to help you manage your health through prevention. It includes resources on diet and exercise, as well as tobacco, alcohol, violence, traveler’s health, and contaminants affecting health.

The HHS also has another health site called HealthFinder.gov, with health topics, news, a free app called myFamily, and a services finder that locates healthcare providers, facilities, and organizations near you.

This post is part of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series focusing on each aspect of wellness and providing related resources. To get more free resources and information about wellness, click here to get each post by email.

Emotional Wellness (8 Dimensions of Wellness Series)

118/365 - meditate
Photo Credit: Lisa Omarali (lisadragon) on Flickr,
used unmodified under the CC Attribution license

The words “emotional wellness” sometimes makes me think of the stereotype of the meditating monk who seems to not be phased by anything, with a monotone voice and equally constant emotions. Actually, emotional wellness is recognizing, experiencing, and expressing the full range of emotions in healthy ways.

Some common emotions/emotional states

When people talk about emotional wellness and emotional health, one word that is mentioned a lot is “resilience.” Resilience is the ability to move forward after setbacks and major life events. It is a learned response, which means that anyone can become more resilient to life’s struggles, which will help to increase emotional wellness.

How resilient are you?

WebMD has a quiz to give you an idea of how resilient you are (click here to take the quiz).

If you want to increase your resilience or learn more about the concept of resilience, you can click through the American Psychological Association’s guide on the topic. If you want to talk with a psychologist, the APA also has a “Psychologist Locator” that allows you to search for someone near you.

This post is part of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series focusing on each aspect of wellness and providing related resources. To get more free resources and information about wellness, click here to get each post by email.

Environmental Wellness (8 Dimensions of Wellness Series)

“Rio Grande Nature Center”
Photo Credit: Mike Pedroncelli via Flickr
Used unmodified under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Air and water pollution, relaxing interactions with nature and green space, enjoying a walk or bike ride along paths and in parks — these are all ways in which the environment can affect wellness. Environmental wellness is mainly about being aware that we affect the environment and the environment affects us, and acting on that awareness to maintain a healthy connection. (A simple example is not littering so that areas stay clean, people want to continue to spend time in those areas, and trash/recycling is not contaminating water or land.)

This aspect of wellness is often thought of in terms of nature and outdoor environments, but indoor environments are also included. Moldy apartments (see the CDC post about it for more info) and dingy, poorly lit and uneven stairways in buildings (would you take the stairs or elevator?) are examples of indoor environments that affect health.

This is especially important when the weather is bad, and we spend more time indoors.

How healthy is the space where you spend most of your time?

The free Master Home Environmentalist (MHE) Program from the American Lung Association can help assess health hazards in your home. The program sends volunteers to your house or apartment to do a walk-through with you, and they help you create an action plan based on what you find (the action plan is based mainly on free and low-cost solutions).

These free appointments are available to anyone living in Seattle, but for those of you who do not live in Seattle, or who prefer to do this assessment on your own, you can use the do-it-yourself Home Environmental Assessment List (HEAL).

To schedule the free assessment, get the do-it-yourself form, or learn more about the program, click here to visit the MHE website.

If you want to learn more about indoor air quality, you can visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information page on the topic.

This post is part of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series focusing on each aspect of wellness and providing related resources. To get more free resources and information about wellness, click here to get each post by email.

New Series: 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Image from http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/what-is-wellbeing/ © 2012 Washington State University
Image from http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/what-is-wellbeing/
© 2012 Washington State University

Wellness usually means a wholistic approach to health and prevention of disease. The wellness wheel captures the idea that wellness isn’t only physical health, but includes many aspects of how you live your life and interact with people and situations. It is also called the wellbeing wheel, dimensions of health, etc.

There are multiple versions with varying number of sections, but since I first saw this wheel as an undergraduate student at Washington State University, I will describe the version they use.

Each section of the wheel represents a different part of wellness. The sections overlap and are all related, with one affecting the others, but to keep it simple, they are listed as separate sections:

(links in previous list go to the post about that aspect of wellness)

I mostly talk about physical wellness on this blog, but I am going to start expanding that focus to incorporate more information and resources from all parts of this wheel diagram. Over the next few months, I will write several posts that explain each of these sections of the wellness wheel and provide examples and resources for you to use.

I hope you will join me in learning more about health and wellness. Click here if you want to get each of the posts in your inbox for free and haven’t already signed up.