Author name
Triveni Raghavan

Written by: Triveni Raghavan

“How are you doing?” - “I am doing well”. We go through this exchange so often that we don’t even stop to think what we mean by “well”. For that matter, how many of us know the difference between wellness and well-being? Last evening, Maralis Mercado, Program Coordinator from Duke Student Wellness Center (DUWELL) guided us along the path to achieving individual and community wellness during the workshop hosted by Lisa Giragosian, IHouse.

DUWELL’s Model of Wellness
First, we were introduced to the Wellness Tree. Haven’t seen the tree anywhere? Sure you have, it is you. Just as a tree has roots, people’s roots are their individual identity, values and choices. Then comes the trunk of the tree, which represents self-care i.e. how we take care of ourselves and meet our needs. The branches of the tree are the different dimensions that lead to over-all wellness. The various dimensions are:

  • Intellectual Wellness: Integration of academic and personal pursuits with an internal drive to learn about and explore the world.
  • Social Wellness: Focus on importance of relationships in life and the social skills like active listening, ability to cope with conflict and involvement on campus and in the community.
  • Mind-body Wellness: Caring for the body’s physical and emotional health and reducing stress through exercise, nutrition, rest, meditation, breathing techniques and muscle relaxation.
  • Environmental Wellness: Impact of campus and community environment (noise, safety, social culture and cleanliness) on how safe, comfortable and healthy we feel.
  • Spiritual Wellness: Developing a sense of purpose and meaning in life which is a source of strength and can be beneficial to health and well-being.
  • Financial Wellness: Incorporates financial security, access to resources and perceptions of needs vs wants.

I was reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with two differences: (1) The dimensions are not necessarily in any order of hierarchy, all are equally important. (2) The pursuit of wellness is not only for the individual, but the community as a whole.

Maralis kept us on the move (literally) as we went to different marked parts of the room identifying our strongest and weakest dimensions. Through guided imagery, she helped us create our own space and meet our future self (I didn’t know time travel was so easy). It was quite intriguing!