Understanding the 8 Dimensions of Wellness: Part 1   

8 dimensions of wellness

When we think of wellness, we often think of diet and exercise as the two main components. But the truth is that wellness includes so much more! Recently, FemmePharma sat down with Dr. Oluwatoyin Fadeyibi to discuss what’s known as the 8 dimensions of wellness. The discussion also entails how we can make them a part of our lives. 

What is wellness?  

First, let’s begin with an overview of wellness in general. 

According to wellness pioneer Donald Ardell, wellness is “a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to become the best kind of person that your potential, your circumstances, and your fate will allow.” In other words, it means showing up for yourself so you can live the healthiest, happiest life possible. 

So what does it mean to live a happy, healthy life? Let’s break this down by diving into the dimensions of wellness. 

What are the 8 dimensions of wellness? 

The 8 dimensions of wellness were identified by the federal group SAMHSA – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA’s goal is to create public health solutions for those living with mental illness and addictions in the U.S.  

As part of their efforts to create these solutions and offer resources, SAMHSA identified the eight dimensions of wellness. They are – emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. 

In this article, we’ll explore four of these dimensions and follow up with the remaining four in part two of this topic.  

Emotional wellness 

Emotional wellness is the ability to cope effectively with life and to create satisfying relationships – first with yourself, and then with others. It also means understanding our emotions and being aware of how they affect us and others so we can manage them effectively. 

Those of us who’ve suffered from mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma may have inadequate tools for coping with these issues, which may negatively affect our emotional wellness.  

How can I improve my emotional wellness? 

There are several things you can do to improve your emotional wellness.  

Consider therapy. A qualified therapist can help you work through issues in a healthy way and provide tools to help you cope with life’s hardships.  

Find a support system. Whether it’s family, friends, or a religious leader, a good support system can be there for you when you need emotional assistance. 

Journal your thoughts. Journaling can help you detangle your knot of emotions and explore the root of what’s bothering you. It’s an unbiased way to let out your emotions, and you get to leave the burden of it on paper – unfiltered, unedited, and private. 

Spiritual wellness 

The second dimension of wellness – Spiritual wellness involves expanding our sense of meaning in life – why are we here, and what’s our purpose?  

Contrary to what you might think, spiritual wellness is not necessarily about being religious. It means having a solid sense of what you believe, what you stand for, and how you can share your gifts with others. It means identifying and living by your core values

How can I improve my spiritual wellness?  

Pray and/or meditate. Praying to a deity of choice or meditating helps affirm your beliefs in a higher power or the universe and keeps you centered.  

Read inspirational texts. Whether this is the Bible, the Quran, or Chicken Soup for the Soul, reading content that inspires you can help you divine meaning behind why you’re here and your ultimate purpose in life.  

Volunteer. Find joy and purpose through giving back to the world.  

Financial wellness 

Having strong financial wellness means being satisfied with our current and future financial situation. It means creating and maintaining a budget, having enough money to support our lifestyle. It also means building a healthy savings account.  

To have financial wellness, we must be financially literate — to know what we earn and not spend more than that, if possible. It’s understanding wants versus needs and delaying gratification. 

How can I improve my financial wellness?  

Create a budget. It may seem overwhelming, but you can start with the basics (rent, food, clothing, etc.) and make it more detailed from there. 

Read books about money management. There’s no shortage of financial books and advice out there. (And to save money, you can borrow them from your local library!). 

Intellectual wellness 

Intellectual wellness is recognizing your creative abilities and finding ways to expand your knowledge and skills. It also means keeping your brain and mind fit and active.  

Being creative can mean many things – from writing to art to designing software programs. So don’t limit yourself! Develop your innate creative talents, but don’t be afraid to explore something new.  

How can I improve my intellectual wellness?  

Read more. Reading keeps our brains sharp and our imaginations active. Reading regularly can also prevent age-related cognitive decline

Explore new hobbies. As mentioned above, trying something new can be fun as well as intellectually stimulating.  


We hope this article has helped you understand the various dimensions of wellness and how you can improve them in your life. 

Stay tuned for part two of this topic where we discuss the remaining four dimensions of wellness: social, occupational, physical, and environmental. 

About the author
FemmePharma started as a pharmaceutical research and development company more than 20 years ago. We’ve been reinventing women’s healthcare ever since. Please consult your healthcare practitioner to decide which product best meets your needs.

Filed under: Physical Fitness, Your Body

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