[NOTE: I previously posted this on Blogger on June 27, 2010.]
[NOTE: This is an excerpt from my recently released book Choices for College Success (Boston: Pearson Education, 2011, pages 17-19.) While the book addresses student success, the topic for this blog applies to all of us.]
Dr. Bill Hettler, cofounder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI), developed the Six Dimensional Wellness Model. This very simple yet powerful model reminds us that a balanced life needs more than three good meals and a restful night’s sleep. Each of the six dimensions has an impact on the other five. According to the NWI, no single category operates by itself; all six–social, occupational, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional–impact each other for a balanced or unbalanced life….
Each life dimension is intimately related to your growth as an individual. By taking notice and care of each dimension of your life, you will take important steps toward turning your dreams into realities. If ignored, however, any one of the dimensions can have a detrimental effect on the others. For instance, if you consistently operate on too little sleep, eat less than nutritious food, associate with negative people, or depend on the “help” of drugs and alcohol to cope with life’s challenges, your life dimensions will eventually weaken. In short, the choices you make have consequences.
When thinking of the concept “balance” you may envision something with equal parts. For instance, a balanced wheel might have six evenly spaced spokes. Most likely, one of your dimensions probably looms as the most significant in your life. It is the strongest or the one that serves as the “rock”–the foundation, the base–for our lives. For some people, the spiritual dimension is their guiding light. In times, when their entire world seems to be crumbling around them, they can draw on their spiritual strength to maintain balance and safely weather the turbulence.
For you, the physical dimension may be the part of life that provides a strong foundation. In times of stress, you might find that physical exercise, yoga practice, or a cup of green tea helps you stay calm. Or the social dimension may provide solace.
Whatever dimension is your strength it may well overshadow all the other dimensions of your life. Moreover, your “base” dimension might very well change over the course of your life.
Give yourself a reflective moment and do the following. First, rank order your life dimensions. Which one is the strongest in your life? Which is the second strongest and so on until you have ranked all six. (For this activity, “strongest” means the dimension helps you maintain health and balance.) Once you have your ranking, consider how each dimension affects your life. Finally, how can you use your strongest dimension to help you strengthen your weakest dimensions? Write a plan for the coming week—and make the choice to take action.
© Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog, 2010.