Dimensions of Wellness Resources

This page introduces and explores the dimensions of wellness, examining each in its importance to overall health, while providing articles, tools, and additional resources selected to help staff and board members of health centers and Primary Care Associations in their journey to a more positive sense of wellbeing.

Please click or scroll down for:
Emotional Wellness
Environmental Wellness
Financial Wellness
Intellectual Wellness
Occupational Wellness
Physical Wellness
Social Wellness
Spiritual Wellness


Wellbeing and wellness go hand-in-hand. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), wellbeing is a state of being comfortable, happy, or healthy, and wellness is the state of being in good health. Often the two are considered from the perspective of physical health, but this concept encompasses much more than eating a healthy diet and staying active. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), wellness is the presence of a positive purpose in life, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, satisfying work and play, and happiness. Wellness is multifaceted and can look different for everyone, and SAMHSA has identified Eight Dimensions of Wellness, as part of its Wellness Initiative, that contribute to a more holistic and whole-person centered approach to wellness. Review SAMHSA’s Creating a Healthier Life, A Step-By-Step Guide to Wellness, a great resource for independently working through each of these aspects of wellness, and explore more information and materials for each dimension below.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines emotional wellness as “the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” This can include managing emotions, reducing stress, improving sleep patterns, and incorporating mindfulness practices into everyday life. According to FamilyDoctor.org, emotional wellness is important because it allows you to work productively, cope with stress, and maintain fulfilling social relationships. Emotional wellness can improve a person’s physical health, and there is a link between an upbeat mental state and physical signs of good health, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier weight.

Additional Emotional Wellness Resources:

Kaiser Permanente
Collection of materials for improving emotional wellness, including tools, tips, and activities.
Wellness Resources

National Center for Emotional Wellness
Information about emotional wellness as well as access to live presentations and infosheets.
What is Emotional Wellness?

National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Skills-based training course that addresses mental health and substance use issues.
Mental Health First Aid

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Checklists, articles, and recommendations for improving emotional health by building resilience, reducing stress, getting quality sleep, and more.
Emotional Wellness Toolkit

University of Colorado
Printable two-page list of resources designed to offer mental and emotional support, appropriate for employees and families.
Eight Resources to Support Your Mental Wellness


The environmental dimension of wellness involves being able to feel safe and be safe. According to the SAMHSA Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness, environmental wellness comes from creating safer places and limiting exposure to harmful substances for better overall health. Implementing practices to improve one’s environmental wellness is important because our natural environment can impact both our minds and bodies.

Additional Environmental Wellness Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Index of resources on environmental hazard protection and wellness promotion through maintaining a healthy environment.
National Center for Environmental Health

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Information on environmental stressors, the built environment, and how to foster a better sense of environmental well-being.
Wellness Wheel: Your Environmental Wellness

Kaiser Permanente
Materials addressing environmental wellness topics, such as environmental illness, air pollution, and indoor pollutants.
Environmental Health

Well Step
Tips for improved environmental wellness in the workplace, helping employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.
7 Reasons Every Worksite Should Offer an Environmental Wellness Program


SAMHSA’s Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness identifies the financial dimension of wellness as involving one’s income, debt, and savings, as well as a person’s understanding of financial processes and resources. A person’s satisfaction with their current financial situation and future also contributes to their financial wellbeing. Financial wellness can lead to improvements in one’s spending, saving, and financial planning habits and can better prepare them for financial stresses that may arise.

Additional Financial Wellness resources:

Article outlining the stages of financial wellness, including literacy, capability, security, independence, and freedom, with the help of a roadmap infographic.
5 Stages of Financial Wellness Roadmap

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Study with the goal of clarifying and advancing the definition and measurement of financial well-being.
Financial Well-Being (FWB): Capturing an Elusive Construct with an Optimized Measure

Collection of resources on financial awareness to improve financial wellness at various life and career stages.
Financial Awareness

Resource defining the four pillars of financial health (spend, save, borrow, and plan) as a means of determining one’s own financial wellness.
Four Pillars of Financial Health

Article on how to determine one’s financial health, along with steps to take to improve this measure of wellness.
Your Financial Health Score


Intellectual wellness involves things that keep our brains active and our intellect expanding. According to the Berkeley Well-Being Institute, this may include looking at different perspectives of an issue and taking them into consideration. Intellectual wellness is important for essential brain functions such as curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking.

Additional Intellectual Wellness Resources:

Resource addressing intellectual wellness for those in senior living communities, including how to support personal growth and nurturing wellness in others.
What is Intellectual Wellness in Senior Living?

List of activities that can improve one’s sense of intellectual wellbeing, addressing exercise, social networks, curiosity, and more.
12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness

Georgia Tech Student Engagement and Well-Being
Video exploring intellectual wellness as it relates to life-long learning, expanding knowledge and skills, and interacting with the world.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness – Intellectual Wellness

Resource highlighting intellectual wellness as a means of improving physical and mental wellness.
What is Intellectual Wellness and How Can It Benefit You

Article outlining the importance of “wellness of the mind” in terms of cognition, memory, and open-mindedness.
What Is Intellectual Wellness? How to Expand Your Skills for a Happier Life

Project School Wellness
Installment of a blog explaining the basics of intellectual health and containing a video and additional resources to learn more.
Wellness Basics: Intellectual Health

University of New Hampshire
Page listing the signs of intellectual wellness in students, including tips for exploring and improving characteristics impacting intellectual wellness.
Intellectual Wellness


Occupational wellness involves the activities that provide meaning and purpose and reflect personal values, interests, and beliefs in one’s chosen profession. Feelings of productivity and purpose are crucial in defining occupational wellness. The American Libraries Association outlines the importance of occupational wellness in fostering good relationships with co-workers, finding one’s work rewarding, and demonstrating a good work-life balance.

Additional Occupational Wellness Resources:

Alta Centers
Resource outlining the importance and benefits of increased occupational wellness, along with ways to improve occupational health.
Occupational Wellness

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Resource with useful tips on developing a greater sense of occupational wellbeing, including a podcast episode on wellness at work.
DBSA Wellness Wheel: Your Occupational Wellness 

Genesis Recovery
Guide on what occupational wellness means, signs of occupational wellness (sense of purpose, healthy boundaries, and more), and signs that wellness may need to be improved (e.g., being unmotivated, poor engagement with co-workers, etc.)
How to Improve Occupational Wellness

Policy Research Associates
Fact sheet on the relationship between occupational wellness and mental health.
Occupational Wellness Fact Sheet

Article addressing what employee wellbeing looks like and tips on how to make occupational wellness a core part of company culture.
10 Ways to Promote Occupational Wellness in Your Organization


Nutrition, exercise, and appropriate health care are what make up the physical dimension of wellness. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Physical Wellness Toolkit, physical wellness involves what you put into your body, how much activity you get, and your weight as a means of keeping your body functioning properly. Positive physical health habits can lead to lower stress levels, decreased risk of disease, and an overall increase in energy levels.

Additional Physical Wellness Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Tips for staying active indoors and outdoors during the winter season.
6 Tips to Stay Active this Winter

Tool outlining the benefits of physical activity and recommendations for different groups, including children, older adults, and those with disabilities.
Physical Activity Basics 

Kaiser Permanente
Guide containing tips on how to set physical activity goals, stay motivated, and find enjoyable activities.
Exercise/Physical Activity

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Examples of ways to stay active on a day-to-day basis as part of a weight management program, including tips for getting creating with staying active.
Guide to Physical Activity

National Institute on Aging
Page outlining the physical and emotional benefits of adopting a more physically active lifestyle.
Real-Life Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Collection of information and materials addressing getting active, maintaining your body, healthy weight, metabolism, and more.
Physical Wellness Toolkit – More Resources


Social wellness is defined as one’s healthy relationships with friends, family, and the community, along with their interest in and concern for the needs of others and humankind. Improving one’s social health can mean making connections, taking care of oneself while taking care of others, and building healthy relationships. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social Wellness Toolkit, “Positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically.” 

Additional Social Wellness Resources:

Article summarizing the importance of social health, signs of social wellness, and what can be done to improve this aspect of wellbeing.
Look to Your Social Health if You Want to Improve Your Well-Being

Canadian Mental Health Association
Article emphasizing the importance of human connection in the context of one’s overall sense of wellbeing.
The Importance of Human Connection

Kaiser Permanente
Community resources, assistance programs, and additional information pertaining to social wellness.
Social Health Supports Your Total Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Collection of information and materials regarding social wellness improvement, including making connections, communicating, maintaining family health, and more.
Social Wellness Toolkit – More Resources

Total Wellness
Article outlining the definition of social health and what this may look like, addressing loneliness, social media, friendships, etc., along with recommendations for encouraging improved social health.
What is Social Health?


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness, spiritual wellness is defined as having meaning, purpose, and a sense of balance and peace. This may include the ability to recognize our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.

Additional Spiritual Wellness Resources:

Advent Health
Blog post highlighting the importance of spiritual wellness as a means of improving overall health.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Spiritual Well-Being

Banner Health
Article containing tips on how to boost spiritual wellbeing in everyday life, from volunteering to yoga, meditation, journaling, and more.
8 Ways to Take Care of Your Spiritual Health

Article defining a holistic approach to wellness and containing useful information on what spiritual wellness is and is not.
How Spiritual Wellness Unlocks Creativity and Resourcefulness

Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America
Article including guidance on how to assess your own spiritual wellness and how to develop and implement practices of spiritual wellness.
Spiritual Wellness: What is Your Meaning and Purpose?

Comprehensive page on spiritual wellness, including a survival story, words from experts, and additional resources.
Spiritual Wellness

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Study aimed to offer the definition, components, and indicators of spiritual health from experts’ perspectives.
Explanatory Definition of the Concept of Spiritual Health: a Qualitative Study in Iran

Science Direct
A study of adolescents in Canada, England, and Scotland, exploring the benefits of spiritual wellness towards positive mental health among youth.
Domains of Spirituality and their Associations with Positive Mental Health