Many things likely come to mind when people think of health and wellness. For example, they might recall guidelines saying to get a certain amount of exercise per day or to eat a diet high in whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. Diet and exercise tend to fall under the realm of physical wellness; however, there are many other facets of health and well-being. What are four types of wellness?
1. Physical Wellness
When most people think of health, physical health is generally the first thing they consider. Physical wellness involves taking care of the body in a way that gives it energy and helps it avoid becoming sick. Physical wellness strongly ties to some of the other well-being classifications, particularly emotional or mental well-being, since the way people feel on the outside can affect how they feel on the inside and vice versa. Because of this, many medical professionals look at both the physical and mental health of a person when providing care.
It is never too late for people to begin habits that support the physical sphere, such as going for daily walks and eating fewer processed foods. People may also choose to supplement their already healthy diets. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, taking probiotic supplements may support the immune system. In addition, some vegetarians take iron supplements, and some people living in higher latitudes supplement with vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight.
2. Emotional Wellness
When someone is aware of the emotions they experience and handles them effectively and appropriately, one can say that they have favorable emotional wellness. Emotions range from positive to negative and everything in between, such as boredom, anxiety, disgust, relief, excitement, joy, and fear. Some healthy ways to manage emotions include:
- Watching some episodes of an interesting or funny movie or TV show
- Taking some deep breaths before responding to a stressful situation
- Being aware of what triggers negative emotions and having a plan to avoid those
- Talking through difficult feelings with a close friend or a mental health professional
- Writing about feelings in a journal
There are several signs that someone needs to focus more on their emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or irritable more often, withdrawing from people they used to be close to, and experiencing a shift in sleeping or eating behaviors. In addition to healthy ways to manage emotions, there are unhealthy methods that people should try to avoid. These include turning to alcohol and other drugs to numb their feelings and becoming unnecessarily angry at others. A therapist can be a good resource to provide strategies on how to find positive and beneficial coping mechanisms for dealing with challenging emotions.
3. Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual wellness pertains to developing knowledge, expanding creativity, and learning new skills throughout the lifespan. Some of the ways that people might enhance their intellectual well-being are:
- Reading a challenging book or article
- Having a friendly debate with a friend on a topic of interest
- Learning how to speak a new language or play a musical instrument
- Taking a free online class
This type of wellness is important because it helps people think more critically and can even assist with the creative process.
4. Relational Wellness
Relational wellness refers to the healthy connections that people have with others, whether that is a romantic partner, friend, family member, or someone in their community. It can also refer to the relationship that someone has with themselves. Like physical well-being, having healthy relational wellness ties into emotional well-being since human connections are important for feelings of belonging and satisfaction. Someone who struggles with forming meaningful connections with others might try starting with something like volunteer work to meet people who have similar interests.
While many people pay attention to their physical well-being, they should remember that there are several other types of wellness that are each important in their own ways.