What is wellness and why is it important?

Wellness is primarily being in good physical and mental health. Because mental health and physical health are so closely linked, problems in one area can impact the other. At the same time, improving your physical health can also benefit your mental health and other life domains, and vice versa. It is important to be aware that wellness is an intentional, ongoing and holistic approach to making healthy choices for in eight major areas of life functioning.  

Remember that wellness is not simply the absence of illness or stress, but a broad practice of internal and external behaviors even when experiencing challenges. Practicing wellness, for example, may mean seeking Student Counseling Center services, developing a regular exercise routine and seeking. Career Services support to prep for an upcoming interview.  In this scenario, emotional wellness, physical wellness and occupational wellness have been addressed.

Putting wellness into practice means striving to be well overall.  The Student Counseling Center has identified the eight dimensions of wellness that are most relevant to Rhodes students.  The wellness approach fully integrates the strengths of the students we serve and provides a direction for how to address factors that act and interact to contribute to the quality of student life at Rhodes.

Mandala with the words "Let Your Wellness Flow"

Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. There are many elements of physical wellness that all must be cared for together. Overall physical wellness encourages the balance of physical activity, nutrition and mental well-being to keep your body in top condition. Obtaining an optimal level of physical wellness allows you to nurture personal responsibility for your own health. As you become conscious of your physical health, you are able to identify elements you are successful in as well as elements you would like to improve.

Spiritual wellness is more than being of a certain religion. It is a personal involvement with values and beliefs that provide a purpose and meaning to our lives. It may involve prayer, meditation, yoga, living by certain principles, morals and faith.

Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you. Conscious actions are important in learning how to balance your social life with your academic and professional lives. Social wellness also includes balancing the unique needs of romantic relationships with other parts of your life.

Occupational wellness is defined as the inspiration and recognition to prepare and feel prepared for work in which we will gain personal enrichment and satisfaction.

Intellectual wellness is the engagement in creative and mentally-stimulating activities.  These activities should consistently be expanding your knowledge and skills and increasing your ability to share this with others. Intellectual wellness encourages learning, inspires exploration, and stimulate curiosity.

Environmental Wellness is having the inspiration to live a lifestyle in harmony with the values we have about the earth, understanding the impact of our interaction with nature and our personal environment and taking action and being accountable for our daily habits and their affects on others. The environmental wellness domain involves being able to be safe and feel safe.

Cultural Wellness is the ability to develop a healthy cultural understanding of ourselves and others. Cultural wellness implies understanding, awareness and intrinsic respect for aspects of diversity. A culturally well person acknowledges and accepts the impact of these aspects of diversity on sexual orientation, religion, gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds and age groups. Some aspects of cultural wellness include: participating in the enrichment of one’s community, country, and world. Benefits of cultural wellness include inner and outer self-confidence, effective trust and respectful collaboration built with others who are different than ourselves. 

Emotional wellness is defined as an acceptance of our emotions and feelings as valuable, and realistically being able to evaluate out limitations, working through problems in our relationships with others and ourselves and setting goals for emotional growth and development. Examples of emotional wellness practice are engaging in supportive professional counseling, holistic self-care such as relaxation or meditation, managing stress and practicing effective emotional boundaries with ourselves and others.