Seven dimensions of wellness

by Kate Ford, AFM Public Outreach Intern

As an intern for the Athens Farmer’s Market and a Health Promotion and Behavior (almost) graduate, wellness is a more than a concept to me.

Many people believe that wellness is simply made up of living a healthy lifestyle through eating well and exercising however, there’s more to it. 

It can be defined as the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health.

Wellness is comprised of seven different dimensions. These dimensions are physical, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, environmental, and intellectual. I believe that in order to have optimal wellness, one must be working on each dimension simultaneously throughout the course of their life.

The physical dimension recognizes the need for regular physical activity. It encourages learning about diet and nutrition while discouraging the use of tobacco, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. Physical wellness entails personal responsibility of the body through exercise and taking care of illnesses. It is better to consume foods and beverages that enhance good health rather than those that impair it. It is also better to be physically fit than out of shape.

Emotional wellness is the degree to which one can accept and respect one’s own feelings as well as the feelings of others. Being emotionally well allows a person to express feelings freely and make decisions and choices more effectively based on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  One should be optimistic in their approach to life.

The social dimension emphasizes the relationship between one’s importance in society as well as his or her impact on environments. It encourages contributing to the communities in which you live and regulate. Social wellness believes that it is better to contribute to the common welfare and to live in harmony with surroundings than to be selfish.

Occupational wellness believes that one’s attitude is based on the way they feel about their work. It is healthier to choose a career that is consistent with one’s personal values, interests, and beliefs than to choose one that is unrewarding.

The spiritual dimension recognizes the search for meaning and purpose in human existence. Spiritual wellness may become apparent when every day actions become consistent with one’s values and beliefs. One should not be intolerant or closed minded when finding the meaning of life and the beliefs of those around us.

The environmental dimension believes in leading a lifestyle that is respectful and minimizing of harm to the environment. It is essential to understand the impacts of our interaction with nature, your personal environment, and the world around us. Environmental wellness can be improved by becoming aware of the earth’s natural resources, realizing the effects of daily habits on the earth, and living a life accountable to environmental needs in both present and long-term.  

Intellectual wellness allows a person to share his or her knowledge and skills with others and discover how this will benefit themselves in the larger scheme of things. Problem solving, creativity, and learning are important factors in intellectual wellness. It is better to identify a potential problem immediately and chose an appropriate course of action based on information available than to wait and worry.

The Athens Farmers Market contributes to the six dimensions of wellness in a variety of ways.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, produce, pastured meats and grains allow the physical self to take part in a more nutritious lifestyle. These foods also generate environmental wellness. The market provides organic and local foods using sustainable farming methods. The market is inviting and friendly and offers an atmosphere that will enhance social and emotional wellness.  

An important aspect of the market is the Wellness Walks program that promotes physical wellness. Every Saturday at Bishop Park, the market provides a chance to partake in physical activity. Patrons are asked to sign up at the Wellness Walk booth where they pick up a map of a one-mile course around the park that begins and ends at the market.

At the booth, materials discussing wellness, as well as healthy recipes, are available to take. Once patrons have completed their walk, they are to report back to the booth for an incentive. This year at the market, we are giving away Athens Farmers Market token bags! These are drawstring bags with the market logo printed on them that are perfect for holding tokens while shopping around the market. Participants of the walk will track their miles each week and allow them to see how much they have done by the end of the season. Wellness Walks are a great way to bridge the gap between physical activity and healthy eating habits.

Come out and work on your seven dimensions of wellness with us at the Athens Farmers Market!