How to Understand Your Wheel of Well Being

Posted on March 18, 2021 by Sarah Prom, MA, LPC, ODCP

Updated June 22, 2021

In a previous article, we introduced the VITAL WorkLife Wheel of Well Being. Your Wheel of Well Being is a combination of six different distinct dimensions of your life: Professional, Physical, Financial/Legal, Spiritual, Emotional and Relational.

While previously we defined and explained the wheel, here we will detail how this relates to you personally, and how you can assess your own Wheel of Well Being and improve your overall well being as a result.

Dr. Joe

Case Study
"Dr. Joe" is an accomplished physician (or this could be the same situation for "Ms. Smith, is an accomplished leader and manager"). Dr. Joe's years of service have been peppered with accolades, consistent advancement in his chosen field and the respect of his peers. Dr. Joe’s financial situation is extremely comfortable and he has no pending malpractice suits or any other litigation. Dr. Joe is consistent in his efforts to exercise at least three times a week and he makes healthy meal choices, does not use tobacco or drugs, and his alcohol intake does not exceed five glasses of wine in any week.

From the outside Dr. Joe has an ideal life situation. What is not readily visible to others is Dr. Joe’s marriage has been strained for over a year now. In addition, Dr. Joe, although clearly accomplished in his career, is feeling a loss of joy in his professional life in a way he is unable to identify. His rational mind says it doesn’t make sense. How can he be feeling unfulfilled with a sense of emptiness he has never experienced. As Dr. Joe fills out his Wheel of Well Being based on his current circumstances, he is surprised to learn his sense of being ‘out of balance’ crosses a number of areas of his life, Professional, Spiritual, Emotional and Relational, something he had not been aware of or taken the time to understand. Now he is working on multiples goals to build a pathway toward well being.

Your Wheel of Well Being

To determine your overall balance and well being, rate how well you are doing in each area of your life by shading each section by how you rate yourself in that dimension TODAY. The center has a rating of zero and would be the absolute WORST you rate that dimension of your life. The outer rim has a rating of 10 or the absolute BEST possible in that dimension. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine your ratings.Wheel of Well Being-2020

Professional - Is your work satisfying? Are you passionate about your career choice?  Do you derive personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work? Have you achieved your educational aspirations? Are you challenged and motivated in your work and leisure pursuits?  Are you learning new concepts and gaining new skills?

Physical -  Are you engaging in regular physical activity? Do you have a physical regimen supportive of general good health? Have you had a physical within the last 2 years?

Financial/Legal - Does the state of your financial life match your desires? Do you feel financially secure? Are you able to successfully live out the lifestyle you desire?

Emotional - Are you able to meet daily life with a positive attitude? Are you hopeful for the future?  Are you aware of your feelings? Are you aware of others’ feelings? Do you fully understand the ways your past may be impacting your life today?

Spiritual - Is your life meaningful and filled with purpose? Are you finding ways to contribute in life to your community or environment that rebuilds or energizes you? Do you operate from your values, morals and beliefs about what is “good?” Do all areas of your life match your values and align with your spiritual compass?

Relational - Do you have solid support through friends and family? Do you have meaningful and fulfilling relationships? Are you contributing to your community? Do you ‘play’ enough? Do you have leisure or ‘down’ time? Do your leisure activities interest and inspire you?  Do you have a social network that engages you?

Now what?

Now that you've rated yourself in each area of the Wheel of Well Being, where do you need to improve? Where do you excel? Understanding why you excel in one dimension of the wheel might help you understand how to give yourself a boost in another. All six parts of the wheel contribute to a whole self and understanding and improving all areas of your own Wheel of Well Being will lead to a better sense of well being.

The next step is to set some goals to address dimensions of well being you would like to focus on improving.Pick a dimension of well being and set an achievable goal with action steps. As you meet these goals, your well being in that dimension should improve, positively affecting your overall well being.

Goal #1:           
Action Step:

Goal #2:
Action Step: 

Goal #3: 
Action Step:

We Can Help

Every dimension of the wheel is essential to your personal overall well being. If you feel one dimension, or several dimensions, are lagging behind or out of balance, we’re here to help. If you have concerns about your Wheel of Well Being, whether it be in your professional or personal life, talking to a counselor as part of your VITAL WorkLife benefits can help you develop a plan to get your Wheel of Well Being into balance  or set goals to build your own pathway toward well being.

Call VITAL WorkLife anytime day or night, for the support you and your loved ones need.

EAP members call 800.383.1908
Physician Well Being Resources members call 877.731.3949


Source: Jane E. Myers, Thomas J. Sweeney and J. Melvin Witmer, Journal of Counseling & Development, first published online: 23 DEC 2011

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