wellbeing model with six dimensions: Health, Environment, Community, Purpose, Security, and relationships

The Wellbeing Model

Wellbeing is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction and is influenced by physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and environmental factors. When we are experiencing wellbeing, we feel connected to purpose, people and community. We are at peace, energized, confident and in control, resilient and safe. In short, we are flourishing.

Wellbeing is impacted by our health as well as other factors illustrated in the Bakken Center’s Wellbeing Model.

Dimensions of Wellbeing


All of these dimensions are interconnected. For example, our physical health can be affected by our environment, our relationships, and our sense of purpose. Our sense of purpose can be affected by our community, our security, and our health.

It is important to focus on all of these dimensions of wellbeing in order to achieve a well-rounded and fulfilling life. When we neglect one dimension, it can have a negative impact on the other ones. Here are some specific examples of how these dimensions can affect each other:

  • A person who lives in a polluted environment may be more likely to develop health problems, which can then affect their emotional well-being.
  • A person who feels isolated from their community may be more likely to experience loneliness and depression.
  • A person who is unemployed or underemployed may feel a lack of purpose and security, which can lead to anxiety and stress.
  • A person who is struggling with mental health may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.

By taking care of all of the dimensions of our wellbeing, we can create a more balanced and fulfilling life for ourselves. Here are some quick tips for improving your wellbeing in each of these areas:

  • Health: Eat a healthy diet. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep. Manage stress.
  • Purpose: Set goals for yourself. Find something you're passionate about. Help others.
  • Relationships: Spend time with the people you love. Be supportive and understanding. Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Community: Connect with your family and friends. Volunteer your time. Get involved in community activities.
  • Security: Assaults on human rights pose a threat to human dignity, livelihoods, and safety. Racism, intolerance and the lack of civility have a corrosive effect on the social fabric that binds us together.
  • Environment: Make sure your home is clean and safe. Spend time with nature.

For more on each dimensions of wellbeing, please visit their pages.

Taking care of your wellbeing is an ongoing process. There will be times when you focus on one dimension more than others. But by making a conscious effort to invest in all of these areas, you can create a life that is truly fulfilling.

Use the Wellbeing Model to Reduce Stress

Even if you cannot remove the source of stress from your life, you can take steps to react to it in healthy, positive ways.

Stress is deeply related to and intertwined with various aspects of your wellbeing; it affects and is affected by many lifestyle choices you make. Chronic stress can make it very challenging to effectively address addictive and unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and skipping exercise routines. This creates a problematic loop, because these behaviors then cause more stress!

One of the best ways to minimize the harmful impact of stress on your body and mind is to take charge of other areas of your personal wellbeing.


  1. Blanch K. (2023). Housing, Poverty, and Health Outcomes. Delaware journal of public health, 9(2), 104–109. https://doi.org/10.32481/djph.2023.06.020Sullivan, H. C., Jones, L. M., & Mustard, C. A. (2017). The impact of housing insecurity on health and wellbeing: A review of the evidence. Health & Social Care in the Community, 25(1), 8-18. doi:10.1111/hsc.12249
  2. Jelks, N. O., Jennings, V., & Rigolon, A. (2021). Green Gentrification and Health: A Scoping Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 907. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030907
  3. Bess, K. D., Miller, A. L., & Mehdipanah, R. (2023). The effects of housing insecurity on children's health: a scoping review. Health promotion international, 38(3), daac006. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daac006
  4. Kelly, C., Dansereau, L., Sebring, J. et al. Intersectionality, health equity, and EDI: What’s the difference for health researchers?. Int J Equity Health 21, 182 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-022-01795-1
  5. Press Ganey Associates LLC. (2023, November 12). Why DEI in healthcare is central to employee retention. Retrieved from https://www.pressganey.com/blog/dei-in-healthcare-employee-retention
  6. Pourmotabbed, A., Moradi, S., Babaei, A., Ghavami, A., Mohammadi, H., Jalili, C., Symonds, M. E., & Miraghajani, M. (2020). Food insecurity and mental health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Public health nutrition, 23(10), 1778–1790. https://doi.org/10.1017/S136898001900435X
  7. Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 10(2), 227–237. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691614568352
  8. Bühler, J. L., Krauss, S., & Orth, U. (2021, December 20). Development of Relationship Satisfaction Across the Life Span: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000342
  9. Better Health Channel. (2023, October 30). Strong relationships, strong health. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/strong-relationships-strong-health
  10. Northwestern Medicine. (2021, September). 5 benefits of healthy relationships. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/5-benefits-of-healthy-relationships
  11. Boreham, I. D., & Schutte, N. S. (2023). The relationship between purpose in life and depression and anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of clinical psychology, 10.1002/jclp.23576. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23576
  12. Musich, S., Wang, S. S., Kraemer, S., Hawkins, K., & Wicker, E. (2018). Purpose in Life and Positive Health Outcomes Among Older Adults. Population health management, 21(2), 139–147. https://doi.org/10.1089/pop.2017.0063
  13. Kim, E. S., Shiba, K., Boehm, J. K., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2020). Sense of purpose in life and five health behaviors in older adults. Preventive medicine, 139, 106172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106172
  14. Cohen, R., Bavishi, C., & Rozanski, A. (2016). Purpose in Life and Its Relationship to All-Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Events: A Meta-Analysis. Psychosomatic medicine, 78(2), 122–133. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000274
  15. Schaefer, S. M., Morozink Boylan, J., van Reekum, C. M., Lapate, R. C., Norris, C. J., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli. PloS one, 8(11), e80329. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080329
  16. Kushlev, K., Drummond, D. M., & Diener, E. (2020). Subjective Well-Being and Health Behaviors in 2.5 Million Americans. Applied psychology. Health and well-being, 12(1), 166–187. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12178
  17. Kim, E. S., Tkatch, R., Martin, D., MacLeod, S., Sandy, L., & Yeh, C. (2021). Resilient Aging: Psychological Well-Being and Social Well-Being as Targets for the Promotion of Healthy Aging. Gerontology & geriatric medicine, 7, 23337214211002951. https://doi.org/10.1177/23337214211002951
  18. Taking Charge of Your Wellbeing: Spirituality. Retrieved from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/spirituality
  19. Taking Charge of Your Wellbeing: Life Purpose. Retrieved from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/life-purpose
  20. Smith, P. J., & Merwin, R. M. (2021). The Role of Exercise in Management of Mental Health Disorders: An Integrative Review. Annual review of medicine, 72, 45–62. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-med-060619-022943
  21. Bishir, M., Bhat, A., Essa, M. M., Ekpo, O., Ihunwo, A. O., Veeraraghavan, V. P., ... & Ojcius, D. M. (2020). Sleep deprivation and neurological disorders. BioMed research international, 2020.
  22. Stress and Health: A Review of Psychobiological Processes Daryl B. O'Connor, Julian F. Thayer, Kavita Vedhara Annual Review of Psychology 2021 Vol 72:1, 663-688 https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-062520-122331
  23. "The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion" by Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff (2016).
  24. "The Happiness Lab" by Laurie Santos (2020).
  25. "The Resilience Project" by Hugh van Cuylenburg (2021).
  26. Clement-Carbonell, V., Portilla-Tamarit, I., Rubio-Aparicio, M., & Madrid-Valero, J. J. (2021). Sleep Quality, Mental and Physical Health: A Differential Relationship. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 460. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020460
  27. Williams, M., Honan, C., Skromanis, S., Sanderson, B., & Matthews, A. J. (2023). Psychological Outcomes and Mechanisms of Mindfulness-Based Training for Generalised Anxiety Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Current psychology (New Brunswick, N.J.), 1–23. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04695-x
  28. Guidi, J., Lucente, M., Sonino, N., & Fava, G. A. (2020). Allostatic load and its impact on health: a systematic review. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 90(1), 11-27.
  29. Environment & Well-Being Lab. University of Washington. https://www.envirowellbeing.uw.edu/
  30. Christian Krekel, George MacKerron (March 20, 2020), How Environmental Quality Affects Our Happiness. World Happiness Report. https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/how-environmental-quality-affects-our-happiness/
  31. What is Wellbeing. Boston University. https://www.bu.edu/studentwellbeing/what-is-wellbeing/
  32. Environment, Health and Wellbeing: A Systemic Approach (11 May 2021), European Environment Agency. https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/environment-health-and-wellbeing-a
  33. Well-being and the Environment. New Economics Foundation. https://neweconomics.org/uploads/files/88cb2c4314731314d0_gxm6bq37b.pdf
  34. Liu, F., Yan, L., Meng, X., & Zhang, C. (2022). A review on indoor green plants employed to improve indoor environment. Journal of Building Engineering, 53, 104542.
  35. Project drawdown. https://drawdown.org/sites/default/files/Project%20Drawdown%20Annual%20Update%202022.pdf
  36. Cameron, R. W., Brindley, P., Mears, M., McEwan, K., Ferguson, F., Sheffield, D., ... & Richardson, M. (2020). Where the wild things are! Do urban green spaces with greater avian biodiversity promote more positive emotions in humans?. Urban ecosystems, 23, 301-317.
  37. Hirota, T., Paksarian, D., He, J. P., Inoue, S., Stapp, E. K., Van Meter, A., & Merikangas, K. R. (2022). Associations of social capital with mental disorder prevalence, severity, and comorbidity among US adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 51(6), 970-981.
  38. Lai, S., Zhou, Y., & Yuan, Y. (2021). Associations between Community Cohesion and Subjective Wellbeing of the Elderly in Guangzhou, China-A Cross-Sectional Study Based on the Structural Equation Model. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 953. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030953
  39. McMullen, J. M., George, M., Ingman, B. C., Pulling Kuhn, A., Graham, D. J., & Carson, R. L. (2020). A Systematic Review of Community Engagement Outcomes Research in School-Based Health Interventions. The Journal of school health, 90(12), 985–994. https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.12962
  40. Alegría, M., NeMoyer, A., Falgàs Bagué, I., Wang, Y., & Alvarez, K. (2018). Social Determinants of Mental Health: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go. Current psychiatry reports, 20(11), 95. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-018-0969-9
  41. Quinn, T. D., Wu, F., Mody, D., Bushover, B., Mendez, D. D., Schiff, M., & Fabio, A. (2019). Associations Between Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Physical Activity in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2017. Preventing chronic disease, 16, E163. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd16.190085
  42. Golaszewski, N. M., LaCroix, A. Z., Godino, J. G., Allison, M. A., Manson, J. E., King, J. J., Weitlauf, J. C., Bea, J. W., Garcia, L., Kroenke, C. H., Saquib, N., Cannell, B., Nguyen, S., & Bellettiere, J. (2022). Evaluation of Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Women in the US. JAMA network open, 5(2), e2146461. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.46461