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What’s the secret? Six strategies for successful aging

Sep 25, 2015

It’s no secret that adopting a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the key to a long and meaningful life. The challenge, for most people, is how to adopt that lifestyle.


Research focusing on individuals 100 years old and older, such as National Geographic’s The Secrets of Living Longer, finds people who live long, healthy, meaningful lives are routinely engaged in events and activities.


They typically work to strengthen and support each area of the widely used Six Dimensions of Wellness developed by Dr. Bill Hettler of the National Wellness Institute.


The six dimensions are spiritual, physical, social, mental, emotional and vocational well-being.


  1. Spiritual well-being is about finding meaning, purpose and hope in life. In many faith traditions, that means doing our best to love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds. Promoting spiritual well-being can be done through activities such as prayer, meditation, worship services and Bible studies. Click here to read articles about fostering your spiritual well-being.

  2. Physical well-being focuses on optimizing physical health through good nutrition and exercise and also avoiding behaviors that may compromise health. Promoting physical well-being means practicing habits that eventually become a lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising and scheduling routine physicals. Click here to read articles about fostering your physical well-being.

  3. Social well-being includes building strong relationships with family, co-workers, friends and members of your community. Social well-being is strengthened by participation in social events, organizations or clubs, or simply by visiting with others. Click here to read articles about fostering your social well-being.

  4. Mental well-being means growing in self-understanding or self-actualization and continually developing and exercising the mind. This can be done by taking advantage of lifelong learning opportunities and seeking out new experiences.

  5. Emotional well-being emphasizes the importance of expressing one’s self appropriately and coping with stress in a healthy way. The benefits of emotional well-being include having a positive and enthusiastic outlook on life. Participation in yoga, support groups and meditation are a few examples of ways to promote emotional well-being.

  6. Vocational well-being focuses on balancing work and leisure and using your gifts and talents to serve others. A few examples of ways to enhance your vocational well-being include volunteering, teaching/mentoring and community outreach.


In which of these dimensions of wellness do you feel you are strongest? Which dimensions could use some renewing?


I invite you to explore the Good Samaritan Society’s senior topics and stories from our locations to inspire you to find a balance of these six dimensions of wellness in your own life.


By Laurie Parker, CTRS, ACC, Good Samaritan Society quality and performance improvement consultant


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