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Holistic Development of the Whole Person Series - Introduction.


Achieving your full potential and becoming a whole person requires wellness in all aspects of your life. If parts of your life are unhealthy, you cannot be truly whole. To achieve this wholeness, you must make conscious, self-directed choices and engage in an evolving process that will lead you to your whole self.

Being whole is not only multi-dimensional, encompassing all aspects of your lifestyle, but it is also a holistic approach to living that places priority on all the aspects you need to be a healthy person, not just a few.

Becoming a whole person and ascribing wellness to all aspects of your life is not only affirming but also a positive way to approach life. When you are whole and well, you actively make choices toward and are aware of all aspects of your existence, including how to continue to grow.

Being a healthy, whole person is not just about your physical health and well-being. There are seven dimensions that comprise the whole person, and it is only when all of these are in balance with one another that you are whole and truly well. When one dimension is lacking or unhealthy, it affects all the others, and you begin to compensate in other areas of your life, making you unbalanced.

To create a whole life that is stable and fulfilling, then, you must pay attention to all seven of these dimensions. These seven essential aspects of life that lead to wellness and becoming a whole person are the physical, spiritual, emotional, environmental, intellectual, social, and occupational dimensions. Below, we describe each of these in further detail.

Your physical body allows you to participate fully in your life and all the things you wish to accomplish. When your body is not functioning well, you may experience fatigue, pain, or other symptoms that tell you your body isn’t getting everything it needs. Those seeking wellness will include a focus on proper nutrition, regular exercise, personal hygiene, sleep habits, and saying no to unhealthy habits. When you can recognize and control your behaviors that impact your physical health, you can control your weight, your ability to engage in healthy habits, and your ability to say “no” to unhealthy habits.

This will lead to your optimal physical wellness, contributing to your journey toward wholeness. Instead of focusing just on your diet or exercise routine, physical wellness is really more about creating a life that supports healthy body functions and will allow you to live a long life.

Your spiritual dimension relates directly to how you find meaning or purpose in life as well as what guides you on your journey toward wholeness. The spiritual dimension focuses on your values and how your actions reflect these. We are each guided by our own spirituality, and while this may come from religion, that is not necessary to have spiritual balance. The most important aspect of this dimension is identifying for yourself your values and beliefs, then choosing a path in life that allows you to live by these in always.

The emotional dimension of your life is not just about your feelings but also your emotional presence and how comfortable you are with your emotions. It is also connected to how well you can express your feelings and thoughts as well as related to those of others. Your emotional wellness includes how well you cope with the challenges of life as well as how productively you can share your strong emotions with others. Coping with stress, having a sense of mental balance, and your own journey to personal discovery all contribute to your emotional dimension.

Your environmental dimension includes how your environment influences you as well as your own personal impact on the environment. Your living and working space should be safe and make you feel comfortable, and your surroundings should support all aspects of your life. In addition, your environmental wellness includes your care for the environment, both in your personal space and in the world at large. Respecting and conserving natural resources, connecting with nature, preserving lands for future generations, and caring for your space and the environment are all important aspects of your environmental wellness.

Just as you want your body to be healthy, so should you want to stimulate and exercise your brain. Intellectual wellness involves developing your mind in new ways, continuing to learn, being creative, and solving problems. It also includes your openness to new ideas and experiences, improving on your weak skills, and embracing a stance of perpetual growth and learning. In addition to learning opportunities, those with intellectual wellness embrace cultural experiences, are open to new ways of understanding the world, and discovering new hobbies in order to explore and discover more about their world.

The social dimension of wellness encompasses most of your interactions with other people. From being comfortable enough with yourself to engaging with others in healthy ways, social wellness is a significant part of being a whole person. Connecting with others helps you establish relationships, work well with colleagues, and find the emotional support you need to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Forming intimate relationships that are based on mutual respect as well as supportive boundaries are also an important component. Social wellness allows you to be successful in so many other aspects of your life because you are nurtured and loved by others.

Finding a balance with the work you do every day is an important component to overall wellness. We engage in work for a significant portion of our daily existence, and if you are not personally fulfilled by what you do, it can make feel balanced and whole difficult. Occupational wellness means your work brings you satisfaction, and that you are able to balance it with the other parts of your life that are equally important. Your occupational wellness focuses on finding your purpose in life, setting goals toward which you work, and learning to cope with the pressures and stresses of your job.


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