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Explore the Integrated Life Wellness Model

When is the last time you paused to think deeply about your life, your values, and your short- and long-term goals? Most people do not frequently carve out time to engage in this type of self-reflection, but once they do, their "ah-ha" moments often serve to motivate and guide their future choices, and determine how to prioritze their time and energy in everyday life. 

The integrated Wellness model shown below helps us examine and visualize the big picture of our intergrated health. Part of our time together will involve exploring the five wellness areas shown below, and determining what "thriving" looks like for each. As you become more adept with using this model, you'll see firsthand that when we intentionally link our wellness goals to a personalized sense of purpose and meaning, we are more motivated and likely to stick with behaviors that help us to feel good, both in the near-term and in the future.    

To bring this model to life, let's take a look at two examples below. In the first example you'll see that when we focus on meaningful goals and intentionally engage in wellness practices, we experience a sense of equilibrium and thriving. In the second example, wellness areas are unintentionally neglected and because of the inter-relatedness, in an impact in one area can have a significant ripple effect and suddenly we can feel in a negative spiral. Both examples below illustrate how the domains of wellness are fluid, deeply intertwined, and often influence one another.


Understanding the 5 domains, and determining where you fall on each, are the first steps in the journey to enhancing our sense of well-being. After you read through the examples, click on the link below to access a series of questions that will help you to visualize, integrate, and enhance your own wellness experience in this life.

Example 1: The Well-Balanced Wheel

When we are Fully Engaged & Thriving

Wellness Wheel_Whole_Final.png

Example #1 Story


This morning, you woke up feeling particularly refreshed from a good night's sleep (Physical Domain). You take a brisk walk outside and chat with a few neighbors along the way (Physical and Social Connection). When you return home, you feel positive and energized (Emotional), as you've met your goal to increase your physical movement for the week - a goal you've recently set to ensure you are physically able to continue to play golf and play with your grandchildren as they grow (Meaning & Purpose). Feeling upbeat, you decide to call a close friend to catch up, and your friend thanks you for being such a good support (Emotional and Social Connection). You move on to breakfast, and decide to make yourself a healthy meal so your health goals stay on track (Physical). As you drive into work, you find yourself thinking about a big project that you and your team are about to finish (Intellectual); while there have been bumps in the road, you concentrate on recalling all of the accomplishments you all have had along the way (Emotional and Social Connection). You walk into the office feeling refreshed, engaged, and ready to take on whatever comes your way.

Example 2: The Off-Balance Wheel

When Areas of Wellness are Neglected

Wellness Wheel_Fragmented_Final.png

Example #2 Story

You recently took a leave of absence from your job, desperate to take a break from the grinding commute and drama-ridden office environment (Emotional depletion). Since leaving, you've enjoyed staying up late at night to binge-watch your favorite shows, but this morning you had to wake early to get the kids off to school and feel exhausted (Physical depletion). Once the house is empty you head to the gym, knowing this is the 'right thing' to do with so much free time on your hands (Physical domain but with no Meaning & Purpose). While you enjoyed talking with some friends while exercising, when you return home you quickly find yourself feeling lonely and bored (Emotional depletion). You sit down with a book that has been lying on your nightstand for months, but find it dull and hard to focus on (Intellectual boredom). You turn on the TV to distract yourself from feeling bad (Emotional) and drift off to sleep, only to soon be startled awake by the kids rushing into the room, bubbling with excitement about their days. You're happy they're home, but you find yourself distracted; they can tell you're not paying attention and go outside to play with friends. As you sit alone on the couch, you wonder why you feel so unmotivated right thought it would be rejuvenating to take a break from the stress of work, and you think, "What am I doing with my life?" (Lack of Meaning & Purpose). You head to the pantry to find comfort in some chocolate (Physical depletion), and call one of your good friends for a pick-me-up, but instead spend the whole time complaining about life; your friend listens for a while, but eventually says he has to go, jokingly saying it's hard to be your friend these days (Sustained negative emotions often deplete Social Connections). You begin to realize that you may need to get back to work sooner rather then later, but the task feels daunting, so you instead head outside to throw the ball with the kids and hope it just works itself out.

Source: Wellness Wheel Adapted from Dr. Bill Hettler's Work, 1976

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