Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
Balance – why is it so important?
Have you ever felt your family, social life or health suffer because you’ve been focusing too much on work? Or the housework piling up because you chose to play with the kids? Perhaps you’re spending your days doing all the things you feel you should do rather than anything you want to do.
We all have many different aspects to our lives, and it is important that these aspects are balanced to maintain a sense of wellbeing.
We have a limited amount of time and resources to dedicate to everything. When we focus on one area, this is often at the expense of another. If this continues for too long, we will start to feel stress because of the neglected area.
Of course, there will always be times when our focus needs to be in one area, but overall we should try to balance each of the areas of our life.
Life is a balancing act, so if one area becomes neglected it could all fall down.
The eight dimensions of wellness
GoalGetters uses the following eight dimensions of wellness. They are often interrelated, and many goals will fulfil more than one of these needs.
You might have your own categories to work to, or you might just be focusing on one particular area. Feel free to adapt the tools to suit your needs.
Spiritual wellness is expanding our sense of purpose and finding meaning in life. It is strongly linked to our values, and the need for our lives and external environment to be in harmony with our values and beliefs.
Goals within the spiritual dimension may include meditation, prayer, acts of compassion, mindfulness, relaxation, music, and fun (among many others).
Emotional wellness focuses on being aware and accepting of our emotions. It involves being able to manage our feelings and behaviours, and maintaining a positive outlook in life.
Goals within the emotional dimension may include managing stress, completing a self-help book, and focussing on the positive.
Physical wellness is concerned with health, fitness and nutrition. It encompasses healthy lifestyles, and seeking medical care when needed.
Goals within the physical dimension may include exercise, eating healthily, getting enough sleep, stopping smoking, using seat belts and helmets, or seeking medical help for a condition.
Financial wellness involves understanding your financial situation, and managing it so that you can be prepared for changes in your financial situation.
Goals within the financial dimension may include paying off debt, saving for a particular purpose, setting up a retirement fund, seeking financial advice, or setting and sticking to a budget.
Social wellness focuses on relationships – with family, friends and the wider community. It includes interpersonal skills such as building friendships, listening and caring, and contributing towards the community. Social connection is incredibly important to wellness, so you should always include leisure and recreation time in your schedule.
Goals within the social dimension may include spending time with friends and family, joining local groups with a shared interest (e.g. knitting circle), contributing towards the community (e.g. scout leader), or developing your social skills.
Environmental wellness refers both to being in tune with the environment that you are in, and living in an environmentally friendly way.
Goals within the environmental dimension may include personalising spaces in your home or office, getting outside into nature, reducing your energy consumption, recycling and more.
Occupational wellness is using your skills, talents and abilities to contribute to a career that is meaningful and enriching for you. Traits of occupational wellness include job satisfaction, career ambition and personal performance.
Goals within the occupational dimension may be career progression, starting your own business, career counselling or study.
Intellectual wellness involves using problem solving, creativity and learning. You will seek to expand and challenge your mind.
Goals within the intellectual dimension may include reading a book, taking a course, attending an art exhibition, completing puzzles, or eating healthily and exercising to maximise brain function.
The Wheel of life
One tool widely used by coaches to measure how we feel about each area of our lives is ‘the wheel of life’. This allows us to rank each area of our life on a scale of 1-10, and gives a very visual representation of which areas are fulfilled and which are neglected.
To create your wheel, start by drawing a circle. Then divide the circle into eight parts, one for each dimension of wellness (or your own categories). Next, add lines in each part to mark a scale of 1-10. Finally, colour in your ranking for each area. So, if you rank your physical wellbeing at 8/10, colour eight sections of the scale of ten in the physical part.
Community members can download a blank wheel of life template here
How does yours look?
Next week’s challenge will look at setting goals in these focus areas.