Caring for yourself requires four wellness dimensions

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ronald Johnson
  • 71st Medical Group
Difficult times come to all of us at one time or
How can we live our lives so we can find fulfillment and also be prepared for life's little storms when they arrive?
One way is to look at the concept of wellness, which is often broken down into the dimensions of the physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Each of us should take an inventory in these areas to see where our strengths and weakness are. Strengths are areas we can use and capitalize upon while weaknesses are areas we can seek improvement in. Let me briefly discuss each of these dimensions.


This includes any issues dealing with physical well being such as diseases, alcohol and tobacco use, regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Though there are successful ways to cope with physical difficulties, the best way is to avoid them or try to fix them when they are minor. Sometimes we take physical well being for granted, but when a problem develops we realize just how vital it is.


This includes self-esteem, confidence and methods of coping with stress. This area also covers our current emotional states such as feeling happy or sad. Just as it is important to take notice of and improve our physical well being, it is also important to be aware when we have weakness in the emotional area. Reading self-help books or talking to someone we trust can be very helpful.


This dimension deals with our network of friends and personal relationships with those we care about. Social interactions can be the source of much happiness but negative relationships can also cause a lot of sorrow in our lives. Just like in the emotional area, problems in this dimension can be addressed by talking to knowledgeable individuals or reading appropriate educational material.


This is a very personal area encompassing not only religious beliefs, but also our sense of connectedness to issues beyond us. Important aspects such as feeling part of something larger than ourselves and how we contribute to the greater good are also part of this domain. When we sense weakness in this area, talking to a chaplain or other religious leader can be of benefit.
We can take a self assessment in each of these areas and take steps to improve when we find something lacking in a domain. In addition to using these tools to take care of ourselves, we can also use the same type of inventory to help those around us.
One useful guide to solving problems and getting needed help has been put together by the Air Force. The Leader's Guide to Managing Personnel in Distress uses specific scenarios and offers sound advice about how to access needed help. This guide can be found at
The Vance Air Force Base Integrated Delivery System, an umbrella organization made up of various base agencies, is available to assist with any difficulties that may arise. The most common contact points to help solve problems at Vance are the base chapel, 7211; life skills/family advocacy, 7419; family support center, 6330; and the health and wellness center, 7968.
Contacting any of the IDS agencies will open the doors to all the other agencies. If a specific office cannot help, they can find who can be of service.
By taking care of ourselves we ensure we will be more content and well rounded -- more physically and emotionally healthy. We also put ourselves in a position to be of service to those around us.