Eight Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness is…Eight Dimensions of Wellness wheel

  • Caring for your mind, body, and soul
  • Usually affected by your culture and your life experiences
  • Self-defined and dynamic
  • Not only the absence of illness or stress. You can still strive for wellness even if you are experiencing these challenges in your life.


While all dimensions of wellness need your attention for you to truly flourish, there doesn’t have to be a perfect balance among all dimensions. Instead, the goal is to find what works best for you. The dimensions are interconnected, so you may notice that most topics (e.g. stress, finances, healthy relationships, substance use, etc.) influence multiple dimensions. Explore the sections below to learn about tips and resources related to each dimension.

Resources for Students

Dimensions of Wellness

Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness

Emotional wellness involves developing an awareness of your feelings and your response to everyday interactions. This awareness allows you to better understand why you are feeling that way and can actively respond to your feelings.

You can foster your emotional wellness by:

  • Taking time to yourself to quiet your mind and reflect.
  • Smiling and laughing! Sometimes humor is the best medicine to decrease stress and put life’s challenges in perspective.
  • Seeking or accepting help and support from others when needed.
  • Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Remember to listen to others’ emotions too.
  • Practicing gratitude.
  • Accepting mistakes and learning from them for next time.  
  • Taking care of your body. Eating, being active, and sleeping – your mental & physical well-being are interconnected.
  • Being kind to yourself.  


Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness

Occupational wellness allows you to explore various career options and encourages you to pursue the opportunities you enjoy the most. This dimension of well-being recognizes the importance of satisfaction, enrichment and meaning through work.

You can foster your occupational wellness by:

  • Reflecting often – where do you find joy and meaning in your life?
  • Keeping an open mind.
  • Taking advantage of career service resources.
  • Exploring different career and/or volunteer opportunities that arise.
  • Practicing open communication and proper conflict management with your colleagues.
  • Setting realistic career goals for yourself and working towards accomplishing these goals.


Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness

Intellectual wellness encourages us to engage in creative and mentally-stimulating activities, and it requires lifelong learning and curiosity. Intellectual wellness can be developed through academics, cultural involvement, community involvement and personal hobbies that expand your knowledge and skills while allowing you to share your knowledge and skills with others.  

You can foster your intellectual wellness by:

  • Being open-minded.
  • Listening. When you participate in active listening you are able to fully comprehend the information that is being given to you.
  • Picking up a hobby. Hobbies are great ways to increase your skill set. They can also be fun!
  • Studying abroad or traveling. The best way to gain knowledge as well as an appreciation for another culture is to experience it yourself.
  • Taking a class outside of your major.
  • Reading for pleasure.
  • Checking out a seminar or conference on something new to you.
  • Learning another language.
  • Engaging in research opportunities.

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness

Environmental wellness refers to leading a lifestyle that values the relationship between ourselves, our community and the environment. The core principle of environmental wellness is respect—respect for all nature and all species living in it. 

Foster your environmental wellness by:

  • Picking up trash.
  • Spending time outdoors. 
  • Biking or walking for your commute.
  • Using reusable bags and water bottles.
  • Being mindful of your water use.
  • Recycling.
  • Going to the farmer’s market.
  • Turning off lights and computers.
  • Unplugging from technology.
  • Donating unwanted clothing.


Financial Wellness

Financial wellness

Financial Wellness involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Money plays a critical role in our lives, and it can impact your health as well as academic performance.  

You can foster your financial wellness by:

  • Starting with small changes that will add up over time (i.e. make your own coffee rather than buying it).
  • Utilizing resources to expand your budget like CalFresh and other student discounts.
  • Understanding your student loans.
  • Starting a savings account – add a small monthly automatic payment, if possible.
  • Identifying and addressing any financial problems before they start.
  • Planning ahead and setting budget goals.
  • Making a list or reviewing your bank account of all purchases in one week.
  • Writing a list before you go shopping.
  • Asking yourself “do I really need this?” before an unplanned purchase.


Physical Wellness

Physical wellness

Physical wellness is the ability to maintain a quality of life that allows you to get the most out of your daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. Physical wellness recognizes that our daily habits and behaviors have an impact on our overall health, well-being and quality of life.

You can foster your physical wellness by:

  • Finding time to move your body. Try to move your body in a way that increases your heart rate everyday for at least 30 minutes. You can even break up your daily 30 minutes into three ten-minute bouts!
  • Using the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, if you’re able.
  • Learning to recognize warning signs when your body begins feeling ill.
  • Eating foods that make you feel good.
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Practicing safer sex and getting yourself tested for STIs, including HIV, at least annually if you are sexually active.


Social Wellness

Social well-being

Social wellness focuses on building and nurturing meaningful and supportive relationships with individuals, groups and communities. It enables you to create boundaries that encourage communication, trust and conflict management. Social wellness also includes showing respect for others, oneself and other cultures.

You can foster your social wellness by:

  • Reflecting on yourself and your social needs. What aspects of your social life do you enjoy? What parts would you like to improve?
  • Making an effort to keep in touch with supportive friends, family and mentors.
  • Participating in group discussions and practicing active listening.
  • Joining a club or organization.
  • Participating in study groups.
  • Volunteering in the community.


Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness

Spiritual wellness allows us to be in tune with our inner selves. This realm of wellness lets us find meaning in life events and define our individual purpose. Spirituality can stem from beliefs, faith, values, ethics or moral principles that provide purpose and direction in our lives. A healthy spirit helps us remain resilient and better prepared to face life’s challenges.

You can foster your spiritual wellness by:

  • Exploring your inner self. Take time to think about who you are.
  • Meditating or practicing mindful relaxation.
  • Practicing acceptance.
  • Being curious. If something happens that makes you even the slightest bit curious, take a moment to explore the experience a little deeper.
  • Looking for a religious faith that aligns with your values.
  • Traveling and experiencing other cultures.