Move From Denial to Self-Awareness Using The Wellness Wheel

As a self-management coach with hundreds of wellness classes, presentations, and group learning opportunities under my belt, I’ve discovered that no matter how fabulous my pearls of wisdom may be, or how stellar my course materials and techniques are, some people just can’t fully accept what they are hearing.

You can lead a horse to water…

Denial Runs Deep

It’s not that they don’t like my stuff or know they need help; it’s that in some instances, denial runs deep. They may have some understanding, inkling, or under-the-radar sense that they need to take the reins and begin the change process, but coming to terms with that realization can be painful.

Sometimes it’s easier to “just not go there.”

Examining a problem means owning it. And owning it may mean facing old fears and feeling lousy feelings. It can mean that deliciously comfortable, but unhealthy, old habits may have to undergo drastic alterations.

In the beginning, change can be too big to contemplate.

With Self-Awareness, Satisfaction Skyrockets

The answer lies in forging your way out of denial—and into self-awareness—in a comprehensive, yet comfortable, way. There’s great reason for doing so. The ultimate benefit of self-awareness is greater joy, peace, and confidence, not less.

According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, self-awareness is a “foundational skill,” and as self-awareness increases, people’s satisfaction with life, both at home and at work, “skyrockets.”

Where there is increased self-awareness, not only does satisfaction increase, but so does productivity.

Bradberry and Greaves go on to say, “Self-awareness is so important for job performance that 83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers, and just two percent of bottom performers are high in self-awareness.”

Our clients with high self-awareness are able to operate from their strengths, better manage their emotions, and move forward faster to reach their coaching goals.

There are many definitions of self-awareness floating around. Here is mine:

Self-awareness means paying attention to yourself and deeply learning how you tick in all the dimensions of your life. It’s an intimate understanding of both your inner world (thoughts, emotions, etc.) and your outer world (relationships, work, etc.). True self-awareness means being scrupulously honest with yourself, about yourself.

With Honesty Comes Clarity

So, when it comes to helping coaching clients get clear, get honest, and get started creating a life they love, it makes sense to start with self-awareness.

We do this by using a wellness wheel. The wheel helps us get those horses not only to the water, but it helps them take a few gulps of reality.

While the ancient roots of wellness were firmly embedded in physical health, with Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine), ancient Chinese medicine, and Hippocrates (“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”), as time has progressed, a broader understanding has been adopted.

Wellness Isn’t Just About Health and Medicine Anymore

Wellness, according to the National Wellness Institute (NWI), is “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Wellness, in all the dimensions of life, helps our clients reach their full potential.

The original wheel, with only six sections or dimensions of life, was designed in 1976 by Dr. David Hettler, the co-founder of the NWI. It has been expanded and morphed into many different renditions over the years. The MasterPeace Living version has seven sectors.

Graphic explaining the Wellness Wheel

As you can see in the diagram above, these are the mental, emotional, physical, relational, vocational, environmental, and spiritual aspects of our lives.

The Wellness Wheel is a Workhorse

Our use of the wellness wheel includes an inventory, an audit, a damage-assessment, and several other evaluations. The client comes away with clarity about what to work on first and why it’s so important to get started now.

That newfound clarity offers hope and a pathway forward. It also helps provide the motivation to stay the course until real change is achieved.

Denial is diminished and self-awareness is increased. The client is on his or her way to a greater sense of satisfaction, self-confidence, and self-control.

Here are the seven dimensions of the MasterPeace Living wheel, as well as an explanation of what each dimension covers. I’ve also included a few questions to set you on the road to better wellness in all seven sectors of your life.

Mental

Negative self-talk can be subtle and disastrous. The first dimension up to bat is mental.

Mental Wellness Wheel graphic Your thoughts, belief systems, decision-making skills, self-talk, brain health, creativity, learning skills, and mental clarity/sharpness

How well do your mind and your thinking serve you? Do you suffer from “busy brain” and thought loops (especially when trying to sleep)? Are you able to concentrate without “brain fog?” Can you make decisions without confusion and without second-guessing yourself?

Emotional

Moving right along, we reach the emotional dimension.

Emotional Wellness Wheel graphic Your reactions, moods, confidence, stability, self-image,
optimism, and resilience

Are you able to control your emotions? Are you generally positive and optimistic? How’s your self-confidence? Are you able to bounce back after becoming upset?

Relational

With mental and emotional in our rearview, the next dimension in sight is relational.

Relational Wellness Wheel graphic Your relationships with your family, extended family, coworkers, friends, and social circle

Are the important relationships in your life healthy? Do you have a sense of belonging and connectedness (versus isolation and loneliness)?

Physical

Nearly half-way through! And we’ve reached the physical dimension.

Physical Wellness Wheel graphic Your overall health, weight, body image, energy levels,
fitness, nutrition, sleep, and habits

Are you satisfied that you are taking good care of yourself? This sector has everything to do with your ability to engage fully in your life.

Vocational

As you’re working your way around the wellness wheel, let’s talk about what the wheel has to say about work/life balance and your satisfaction in the vocational area.

Vocational Wellness Wheel graphic Your sense of purpose and achievement, financial stability, life balance, and contribution/service

Do you have a sense of achievement and satisfaction with how you invest your time? How balanced do you feel? Are you missing out on any other parts of life because of work? Do you have a sense of contribution to the world? Do you enjoy financial peace?

Environmental

As a YouTube famous six-year-old once said, “I like my stuff; I like my room; I like my whole house!” By no means is it necessary that you feel child-like enthusiasm about your personal surroundings and belongings 100 percent of the time, but this anecdote makes for a smooth transition into our sixth stop around the wellness wheel: environmental.

Environmental Wellness Wheel graphic Your physical surroundings (work/home), material belongings, cleanliness, simplicity, comfort, and security

Do your personal space and your “stuff” contribute to a sense of security, serenity, and well-being? Is there clutter or simplicity? Do you feel safe, creative, and relaxed?

Spiritual

Last, but most certainly not least, the spiritual dimension represents our final stop around the wellness wheel.

Spiritual Wellness Wheel graphic Your sense of personal purpose, the meaning of life, identity,
faith/beliefs, relationship with God, morals/ethics, and peace

Do you feel that life makes sense and has meaning? Are you connected with your life purpose? Do you know your core values and live in integrity with them? Are you grounded and secure in your identity? If you believe in God, is your faith alive and meaningful to you?

Use The Wellness Wheel

You can use the wellness wheel to chart your own course toward better self-awareness and ultimately, satisfaction. Once you’ve started trotting your way out of denial, don’t stop here!

Commit to change and begin taking baby steps today. Before you know it, you’ll be galloping toward a better life. For a quick glance at all seven dimensions and how they relate, refer to the chart below.

Dimension: Description:
Mental Wellness Wheel graphic MENTAL Your thoughts, belief systems, decision-making skills, self-talk, brain health, creativity, learning skills, and mental clarity/sharpness
Emotional Wellness Wheel graphic EMOTIONAL Your reactions, moods, confidence, stability, self-image,
optimism, and resilience
Relational Wellness Wheel graphic RELATIONAL Your relationships with your family, extended family, coworkers, friends, and social circle
Physical Wellness Wheel graphic PHYSICAL Your overall health, weight, body image, energy levels,
fitness, nutrition, sleep, and habits
Vocational Wellness Wheel graphic VOCATIONAL Your sense of purpose and achievement, financial stability, life balance, and contribution/service
Environmental Wellness Wheel graphic ENVIRONMENTAL Your physical surroundings (work/home), material belongings, cleanliness, simplicity, comfort, and security
Spiritual Wellness Wheel graphic SPIRITUAL Your sense of personal purpose, the meaning of life, identity,
faith/beliefs, relationship with God, morals/ethics, and peace

Once you’ve taken inventory of your life using the wheel and this guide, you’re ready to take the next step. For some of you, that means a free discovery call with Kathryn to discuss one-on-one coaching. For others, that simply means following the blog for more discussion of these seven dimensions. Wherever you are in your journey, it’s more manageable when living in community. We’re so glad you’re here.

Contact Kathryn for next steps »

Additional Sources:

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry and Greaves, 2009, Talentsmart Inc., San Diego, CA, page 26

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