Six Dimensions of Wellness
Developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI), this interdependent
model, commonly referred to as the Six Dimensions of Wellness, provides the categories from
which NWI derives its resources and services.
Definition of Wellness
The term wellness has been applied in many ways. Although there might be different views on
what wellness encompasses, the National Wellness Institute–along with the help of leaders in
health and wellness–shared many interpretations and models of wellness.
Through this discussion, there appears to be general agreement that:
• Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential
• Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being,
• and the environment
• Wellness is positive and affirming
The definition of wellness, long used by the National Wellness Institute is consistent with these tenets.
Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward,
a more successful existence.
By applying the Six Dimensional Model, a person becomes aware of the interconnectedness of
each dimension and how they contribute to healthy living. This holistic model explains:
• How a person contributes to their environment and community, and how to build better living
spaces and social networks
• The enrichment of life through work, and its interconnectedness to living and playing
• The development of belief systems, values, and creating a world-view
• The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength and vitality as well as
personal responsibility,self-care and when to seek medical attention
• Self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense of direction
• Creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others
Applying a wellness approach can be useful in nearly every human endeavor. As a pathway to
optimal living, wellness is being applied to related fields, such as health promotion and holistic
health, and has seen a growth in “helping professions” including counseling and medical arts
and practices. The National Wellness Institute devised three questions that can help persons
and organizations assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated into a particular approach
• Does this help people achieve their full potential?
• Does this recognize and address the whole person (multi-dimensional approach)?
Does this affirm and mobilize peoples’ positive qualities and strengths?