ll wellness dimensions are essential to sustaining optimal health. My understanding of the many dimensions of wellness have evolved over my years as a stress management consultant and yoga/meditation enthusiast.

When I first moved back home to start a wellness-related position, six areas of focus were the norm. Recently, additional input and evidence-based research expanded the “Wheel of Wellness” to eight wellness dimensions, sometimes more. Changes resulting from thorough review caused significant progress to be made. Currently, the eight basic wellness dimensions include physical, intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, occupational and environmental.

Here, I will focus on the interconnection between two dimensions that are sometimes difficult to fully understand: emotional and intellectual.

The emotional dimension is vital to living a full, happy life. It is meant to enrich day-to-day work, extra-curricular activities, time spent with family and friends, as well as introspective moments.

Naturally, occasions arise when we feel the world on our shoulders or just can’t get a break. Life is not fair! Why me? Whatever the cause, these responses are common and caused by human feelings. Considering this fast-paced world of technology, we may doubt our ability to stay on track, to succeed in life.

Synonyms for the term emotion speak volumes about the strong connection our passionate nature shares with critical moments in our lives. Certain body language or facial micro-expressions say it all: affection, anger, concern, desire, despair, empathy, grief, joy, passion, rage, remorse, warmth. These describe components of our emotional being, yet the list is almost endless.

A major role of emotions is to create physical reaction that either originates from an outside stimulus or an internal experiential source. Frequently, the affective state of consciousness is involved. An internal force elicits feelings about a past event, and it is then drawn from our subconscious mind to the forefront and into action, often causing overreaction to the present situation. How do we rein in these over-reactive moments? Identifying the relationship of thoughts, feelings and emotions can help.

Thoughts are mental processes linking feelings and emotions, the result of consideration, reflection, contemplation and recollection. Additionally, the intellectual dimension is crucial in dealing with emotions. Rational, creative, thorough and kindhearted are expressions that come to mind in referring to the intellectual self, that purposeful inner part of us.

Changing our thoughts by implementing mindful practices into each day helps us maintain the perception that undesirable, potentially harmful emotions are temporary feelings, thoughts in motion. Consequently, addressing emotional swings with purposeful practices is an excellent choice. Relaxation-based as well as awareness-enhancing ways to tackle issues can make a significant difference in our overall health and wellbeing.

“We create our own feelings by the thoughts we choose to think,” according to L.L. Hay.

Ultimately, expanding our level of insight by changing what we focus on and making more constructive, affirmative choices will enhance our quality of life.

Teresa (Teddy) E. Araas, PhD, C-IAYT, ACLM, RCHES, E-RYT500, RPYT, a certified yoga therapist, owns local businesses Balanced Living Health & Wellbeing Consultants, LLC and Santosha Yoga Center. She teaches pre-professional health courses at Sheridan College and as an adjunct research fellow at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, Utah, she sits on doctoral dissertation committees, mentoring students.

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