The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

Man on tightrope view from below

Do you lead a balanced life? To become truly refined by age,™ living a balanced life is absolutely essential.

The International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA) has identified seven dimensions of wellness to take into consideration when evaluating whether or not your life is balanced. These dimensions are:

  1. Physical Wellness: Stay active! As little as 10 minutes of exercise three times a day, five days a week can meet the guidelines.
  2. Intellectual Wellness: Keep your brain active! Learn a new activity, solve puzzles online or in books, play brain games available online, or games like chess.
  3. Social Wellness: Stay connected! Volunteer in the community, take classes, visit with friends, join online social networks.
  4. Vocational Wellness: If you’re not working, volunteer to help others, get involved in an avocation.
  5. Spiritual Wellness: Connect to your spirit in ways that are meaningful to you; whether that’s through your place of worship, prayer or meditation.
  6. Environmental Wellness: Go green! Include nature in your life: get a pet, plant a garden, visit local parks and walking trails. And make sure the indoor environment you live and work in is healthy.
  7. Emotional Wellness: Engage in mindfulness activities such as yoga and t’ai chi; talk with your doctor or a counselor if you’re feeling low.

I have served as a champion for the ICAA’s “Changing the Way We Age”® Campaign since 2011, and have been spreading the word about the seven dimensions of wellness and more when I discovered an eighth dimension: cultural wellness.

8. Cultural Wellness:  Our heritage and future belong to this dimension. Honor healthy family traditions and values. Recognize and develop your inherent gifts and talents and share them with the world. Enjoy and
appreciate the diversity in the talents, gifts and heritage of others.

It’s great to have a list to use when I take stock of the balance (or lack of) in my life. It makes it easier for me to see where my strengths and weaknesses are, and to develop a plan to re-balance my life.

We will all go through periods where the balance of our lives gets out of whack. An illness, a surgery, a death are some things that can create imbalance in our lives. Remember, these are just periods of time that we will heal from in most instances. When they do pass, recognize that fact, then get back on track and use this handy list to see what area(s) of wellness you need to beef up in order to regain a healthy balance in your life.

We must stay intentional about how we age to be refined by age™ instead of overwhelmed by it. There is little about life that is a cake walk; including aging. Being prepared and having a plan to age well gives our lives purpose at all stages and reminds us to live intentionally, instead of mindlessly. We can be much more in control of our lives than we imagine.

Genetics only plays a small part (10%) in how we age, according to Dan Buettner. Buettner studied the Blue Zones, a term he coined for areas on earth where people live the longest. The rest (90%) is up to the intentional actions we take – our lifestyle choices – to attain wellness in mind, body and spirit.


  1. lisafederico

    Thank you, Kathy, for reminding us of this thoughtful and meaningful “life list” we can and should all live by. I am studying for my CSA Designation now, and am very interested to learn more about the “Changing the Way We Age” campaign and how I can also spread the word about the seven dimensions of wellness. Kind regards to you.


  2. Lisa, You can find all the information you need to sign up to be a champion for the “Changing the Way We Age” Campaign at the International Council on Active Aging’s website at They are launching a new updated website on February 11 and will be showing my newly released champion video featuring the seven dimensions of wellness online. Glad you want to join the champions and help spread the message about aging well by aging intentionally.


  3. ICAA’s new website will be up in March.


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