7 Dimensions of Wellness Support Healthy Living

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7 Dimensions of Wellness Support Healthy Living

Walk into the Wellness Center’s three story entrance, the Royse Atrium is its actual name, and most visitors see only tall windows that flood the room with natural light, a multi-colored floor, check-in desk and, most times of the day, people everywhere exercising.

Take a moment to stop and look around and a guest might notice the atrium’s seven columns. The number is no accident. Each of the columns represents one of the seven “pillars” of wellness. Like the columns supporting the ceiling, the 7 Dimensions of Wellness are meant as a framework to support balanced living.

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness are: Physical, Social, Emotional, Environmental, Spiritual, Intellectual, and Occupational. Generally speaking, research demonstrates that a student’s overall involvement, success in college and retention are directly related to health and healthy behaviors. Each of the 7 Dimensions highlights a unique characteristic of healthy living.

According to Amanda Bentow, Director of Wellness Operations, “The 7 Dimensions model was adapted by the Healthy UND coalition and that’s where the idea for the Wellness Center idea originally came from. The building was constructed with the seven dimensions in mind, and they are central to the programs and services that we offer. Our mission statement highlights the dimensions to ensure that they are at the core of what we do.”

The idea is simple: like those seven columns, the 7 Dimensions are all key elements of developing a healthy lifestyle. UND believes in a holistic approach to wellness, and doing this means incorporating the 7 Dimensions of Wellness into every part of a person’s life to improve their academic and personal success at UND, and throughout their lives.

The 7 Dimensions are essential to living a balanced life. While there are many ways one can address each of the dimensions, they are not meant to add to an individual's ever growing to-do list. At times, one dimension will rise to a higher priority than another. For example, a student may find they need to spend more time on their emotional wellness while in school—balancing the demands of work, and other commitments. At another time, environmental wellness, moving into a better apartment or house, might move up the priority list.

The Wellness Center can help students with every dimension and those who use the Wellness Center seem very impressed with what they find. In 2009, the Wellness Center participated in a National Recreation Benchmark Survey to ask about overall satisfaction with the facility, among other things. More than 700 students responded to the survey.

The Wellness Center study found 88 percent of students who participated in activities and programs saw an increase in their self-confidence. Further, 82 percent of students reported an improvement in their concentration after participating in wellness activities.

When asked if the Wellness Center offers something for everyone, nearly nine out of ten students agreed. More than 70 percent of students said that participating in wellness activities and programs also improved their respect for others.

All students are welcome to use the Wellness Center, and general use of the building is covered by student fees. “All they need to do is show up with their student ID, ask any questions they have and get started right away,” says Bentow.

Craig Garaas-Johnson, News & Features Editor

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