Reading and the Dimensions of Wellness

ATTENTION! THE TAR HEELS ARE IN THE FINAL FOUR. I’m sure by now you’ve heard nothing about this. We are on a roll! As March Madness winds down, and allergies go up, I’ve finally realized…it’s springtime! Which means summer is approaching.

Image courtesy of henry on Flickr.
Image courtesy of henry on Flickr.

My favorite part of summer: tossing aside textbooks and READING BOOKS FOR PLEASURE! It’s a go-to self-care practice for me.

While planning my beach trip (too soon?), I made a book list. For self-care reasons, I tried to make sure to connect them to my health and wellness, based on these 8 dimensions of wellness.

These dimensions (cultural, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual) are important because wellness is seen as a journey, not just an outcome at Student Wellness. Creating a unique, healthy balance of all these dimensions takes time, effort, and support. Health and wellness cultivate learning and success on many levels, and there are many different ways to make healthy choices. Reading is just one way!

Here are my FINAL FOUR book picks (in no particular order):

 The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
1Ever thought about what makes you happy? Constructing a life of fulfillment and happiness has been done for millions of years by people all over the world, and taking their lessons can help us build our own accounts. The author presents 10 theories of happiness and optimizing the human condition for well-being.

Dimension: EMOTIONALThis dimension covers understanding yourself in terms of emotions. This can mean thinking through your identity, ethics, and perspective, evaluating your self-esteem and acceptance, or harnessing your ability to experience and cope with feelings. This is an important part of facing challenges life brings.


The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman


Water runs the world. The author recounts our complex relationship with water, with stories about water in space to California’s drought to how much we enjoy hot baths. It explains how water helps us live, how it’s taken for granted, and how people can change their “water consciousness” to make water more productive and ensure we always have a lot of it.

Dimension: ENVIRONMENTALThis dimension covers the dynamic relationship between ourselves and our surroundings. It involves how social and natural environments affect health and well-being, and how we are responsible for the quality of these environments.

 Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko


This book gives thought-provoking exercises and techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. There are hints, tips, and tricks to open up your mind to thinking in different ways. Dubbed “rethinking the way you think,” this could help you come up with an original idea for business or personal purposes.

Dimension: INTELLECTUAL  – This dimension covers opening your mind to new ideas and experiences. This can lead to (self-defined) academic and professional growth and success.  It is vital to learn in and out of classroom, using knowledge gained from all areas from life to inform future decision making.


 The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington


Sleep is super important and not a waste of time, described in a review as the “ultimate performance enhancer.” It’s even become a public health issue, causing Huffington Post to launch a Sleep + Wellness section. While sleep may have become more elusive, it can be the key to living a more fulfilling life. The book goes over the history of sleep science and how to harness sleep power for good!

Dimension: PHYSICALThis dimension covers maintaining healthy quality of life and getting through daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.  Living a thriving active life is the goal, and everyone deserves the right to do so. I like to advocate for access to wellness resources as a part of this dimension!


All of these books have a common theme: discovering new things that can help make you the best version of yourself. Working on your wellness is a continuous process, and as long as you are regularly creating and reinforcing healthy behaviors, you are on the right track!

To learn more about these and the other dimensions of wellness, check out Student Wellness.



Angelica Arnold is the Program Assistant for Health and Wellness at Student Wellness. She is a first-year Master of Public Administration candidate at the UNC School of Government. Her focus is on state, local, and nonprofit programs for nutrition education and walkable communities. She also a volunteer instructor for UNC Fitness Breaks and a youth basketball coach.

Photo courtesy of Michael Femia via Flickr Creative Commons








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