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Sustainability: 7 Dimensions of Wellness

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chatham chapter.

Traditionally, the concept of wellness has been perceived as being about only the physical—healthy eating, sleeping, flu shots, etc. However, a new theory has coalesced from a variety of universities (Vermont, New Hampshire, California Davis, and California Riverside) and has taken Chatham by the proverbial Cougar horns. This theory focuses on 7 different categories in a person’s life and includes Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Environmental, Diversity & Social Justice, and Social. This theory is aptly named “The 7 Dimensions of Wellness.”

The Office of Student Affairs works very hard to come up with cool, interesting, and diverse events for students at Chatham, and this year, they have coordinated their events to match up with each of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.

This sounds a bit complicated, so let’s break it down. For starters, what does each category encompass?

Physical Wellness not only means exercising and eating right, but also includes nutrition and sexual health as well. Moreover, it’s about setting goals for yourself, and knowing that, no matter what the scale says or what the number on your jeans says, it’s about making healthy choices for your body. Because every body is different (pun intended)!

Emotional Wellness means identifying your feelings and acknowledging different ways of communicating those feelings in healthy ways. Being emotionally well also means recognizing that people have different feelings, and respecting that they may or may not be different from yours. The most important part of Emotional Wellness, though, is to actively seek out help when it is needed.

Intellectual Wellness encompasses creativity as well as knowledge. It’s about a willingness to learn and be open to new ideas. Intellectual Wellness is intended to challenge oneself to think in a different way.

Social Wellness focuses on our interactions with others, the communication between human beings in its most elemental form; the relationships we build with others (or lack thereof) can profoundly affect our Social Wellness.

Spiritual Wellness gets a bit philosophical. Its intended purpose is not necessarily about religion, but rather about finding our place in the world.

Environmental Wellness promotes sustainability and environmental conscientiousness. When we take steps to reduce our impact on nature, we also reduce the harmful repercussions that eventually backfire on us.

Diversity and Social Justice is a commonly omitted category in other wellness models, primarily because it is felt that it overlaps with others. However, the 7 Dimensions of Wellness used at Chatham includes this category, and rightly so. Diversity and Social Justice is about recognizing your own partialities, biases, and norms, and also promotes learning about other cultures, traditions, values, etc.

With all of these in mind, Chatham created an extensive Fall Activities Calendar to cater to students’ wellness needs. We have events ranging from the physical cardio-workout Kam Jamz, to the emotionally helpful therapy dogs, to the exciting volunteering opportunities at places like Sojourner’s House. Chatham University remains indeed a wholesome place to receive an education! 



North Dakota State University

Recovery Campus

University of California, Riverside

  Mara Flanagan is entering her seventh semester as a Chapter Advisor. After founding the Chatham University Her Campus chapter in November 2011, she served as Campus Correspondent until graduation in 2015. Mara works as a freelance social media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She interned in incident command software publicity at ADASHI Systems, gamification at Evive Station, iQ Kids Radio in WQED’s Education Department, PR at Markowitz Communications, writing at WQED-FM, and marketing and product development at Bossa Nova Robotics. She loves jazz, filmmaking and circus arts.