Wellness is a positive approach to life and health that maximizes an individual’s potential. Wellness encompasses a “whole” person: physically, emotionally, and psychologically. A personal wellness lifestyle is associated with good physical health, emotional stability, improved personal relationships, and increased career satisfaction.

The National Wellness Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point describes six dimensions of wellness:

Social wellness is a measure of an individual’s contribution to the common welfare of the community. Social wellness emphasizes interdependence with others, making friends and forming meaningful relationships. Socially well individuals have happy, satisfying and stable relationships with others and feel connected to their communities.

Physical wellness is a measure of cardiovascular fitness and strength, and behaviors that help one to prevent or detect early illnesses. Physical wellness is also a measure of the degree to which one chooses nourishing and balanced foods. Exercise, nutrition and safety encourage not only freedom from illness but also feelings of vitality, energy and enthusiasm.

Intellectual wellness is a measure of the degree to which one engages in creative, stimulating mental activities. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand his/her knowledge in order to improve skills and expand the potential for sharing with others. The benefits of intellectual wellness include improved job performance, better problem solving, more knowledge and a better chance at success.

Occupational wellness is a measure of the satisfaction one gains from one’s work and the level of enrichment one’s work brings. Satisfaction with work is related to individual attitudes about work, a sense of direction and goals, and a feel­ing of achievement.

Emotional wellness is a measure of the degree of awareness and acceptance one has of one’s feelings, including the extent to which one feels positive and enthusiastic about one’s self and life. Emotional wellness reflects the capacity to appropriately control one’s feelings and related behaviors, including the realistic assessment of one’s limitations, and the capacity to cope with stress.

Spiritual wellness is a measure of one’s ongoing search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces of the universe.

Online Resources on Wellness

The University of Chicago’s Student Counseling and Resource Service provides the Virtual Pamphlet Collection. This topically-organized site presents an extensive collection of mental health and wellness resources drawn from higher education institutions nationwide.

The Jed Foundation, a suicide-prevention organization, offers Ulifeline, an anonymous, confidential information resource where college students can feel comfortable searching for information about suicide prevention and other mental health issues.