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.