6 Pillars of Wellness How to build your foundation for happiness

Read more Last updated: February 2020
In collection Health
Reading duration: 4 minutes

As human beings, we have many things in common - but one fundamental thing we share is that we all want to be happy and fulfilled. The key to this is wellness.

For many of us, wellness means how fit we are, for others it is about feeling valued and connected. The World Health Organisation defines wellness as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

Six wellness pillars

Big Smiles have developed a framework for a personal wellness scorecard based on the six key wellness pillars:

  1. Physical and financial health
  2. Support and mindset
  3. Community
  4. Negotiation and influence
  5. Meaningful work
  6. Purpose and values

1. Physical and financial health

Do your health, nutrition and finances optimise your wellness?

Physical and financial health go hand in hand with productivity, happiness, resilience, and performance. They’re fundamental to your ability to achieve goals and persistence when challenged, so taking care of them is crucial for all the other aims you have. This is made more urgent by the fact that both physical and financial health can spiral – both up or down.

2. Support and mindset

Do you have a team of friends, mentors and professionals that give you the support and assistance you need?

People who are struggling often feel unable to seek help, and try to resolve their issues alone, but end up making things worse. A person who values wellbeing, understands that they don’t have all the answers, that in life you need advice and guidance from people with specialist and supportive skills. You also need to be compassionate to yourself by realising that we all need help.

3. Community

Do you have a ‘tribe’?

We have been hard-wired to be part of a community, to be a social creature, and integration into the group is crucial to survival. This is why isolation kicks off the same stress hormones as an actual attack by an aggressor. Meaningful participation in a community is vital to a healthy, happy life. Finding your tribe, and your role in it, will boost your confidence, resilience, and wellbeing.

A group of equals helps to find happiness
Meaningful relationships with family and friends are vital for our overall wellbeing, happiness and contentment.
© Getty Images

4. Negotiation and influence

Do you use your daily interactions to work towards the things you want and need?

Too often, we think we simply have to accept our circumstances, but, no matter what the situation, there is scope for you to work towards a more favourable outcome. Learning to identify where you can negotiate or influence the things affecting you, and how you can influence them, is crucial to complete wellbeing.

5. Meaningful work

Do you get purpose, autonomy, and growth from your work?

We spend most of our waking life at work, so finding meaning and feeling valued at work is crucial to happiness and wellbeing. Many of us do not enjoy what we do. Are you one of the 85% of people who are feel disengaged and unenthusiastic about work?

It’s almost inevitable that some of your work will be boring – but not all of it should be! It is important that work offers you the chance to feel fulfilled.

6. Purpose and values

Do you know what your life goals are, and is your life structured around pursuing them?

Success is often measured in financial terms, but money is just a means to an end. Intrinsic values such as esteem, fulfilment, growth, self-actualization are the things that make work meaningful, give purpose to your life, and provide genuine joy. Understanding your purpose and values is therefore a crucial step to achieving wellness.

What’s your wellness score?

People who score high in these six areas are happier, more productive and resilient, and can significantly outperform those who don’t.

Your answers identify ‘Where you’re at’ within each pillar, thus giving a baseline. These will give you an idea of how strong each pillar is in your life, and some suggestions on how to strengthen it.

Scoring is arranged into Red, Amber and Green bands. Red means you haven’t really taken off yet. Amber shows some progress, but still with plenty of scope for improvement. Green is where you’re using the pillar pretty well, and the focus needs to be on fine-tuning and maintenance.

Each pillar also includes information on common mistakes and how to improve. Used together, these provide a comprehensive picture of where you’re at in terms of wellness, and what steps you can take to get to where you want to be.

By using them consistently, you’ll turn these actions into habits, and habits into a wellness mindset.


Do you know the path to wellness?

As 85% of people say they are unhappy at work, it seems that many of us aren’t sure how to meet both our professional and personal needs to achieve happiness. Take Big Smile's free test to help reveal the steps you need to take to improve your wellness.

Take the test

Big Smiles

Big Smiles is offering Wellness & Stress Management Solutions to individuals and companies. As today’s world is more stressful than it’s ever been, Big Smiles helps to find calm amongst the chaos of modern business with happy employees. By providing practical solutions for executives and employees, Big Smiles helps to improve their long-term mental wellbeing.

Through Big Smiles, Alex Burbidge’s mission is to help as many people and businesses as possible to achieve their potential. With 16 years’ experience, Alex has helped both individuals, teams, and workforces to consider wellness in a corporate world.


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