The Four Dimensions of Human Health and Growth - Marks in the Sand

4 DimensionsInvest

An investment in your personal health and growth is an investment in your greatest asset.

Nurture All Four Dimensions

It is very easy to take care of some aspects of our lives but to neglect others. When we do that, our lives get out of balance. Our performance suffers, our relationships suffer, our motivation dips and our health can deteriorate. In order to restore balance, we need to nurture all aspects of our nature.

The effective care and feeding of a human is focused around 4 areas:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Relational / Emotional
  • Spiritual

We need to regularly feed, exercise and rest each of these areas.

Care for Your Body

To develop a healthy body we need to:

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Get enough sleep and learn to manage stress.
  • Take regular exercise.

Care for Your Mind

To maintain a healthy mind:

  • Feed your mind on new and stimulating ideas. Read.
  • Balance time spent learning, analysing, being creative.
  • Learn to think both logically and creatively.

Care for Your Relationships

Your emotional life is based on your relationships. To be effective in this area, we need to habitually:

  • Spend time with others.
  • Be alone.
  • Work with others, communicate effectively, enjoy people.

Care for Yourself Spiritually

The spiritual dimension is to do with your values, your purpose and your legacy.

  • Feed your spirit. Have heroes. Read the spiritual classics. Nurture your values.
  • Take time out to pray, to meditate or to find solace in nature.
  • Live purposefully and with spirit.

Take Responsibility

Don’t wait for someone else to take responsibility for your life – that isn’t going to happen. Take the initiative: promote your own growth and well-being.

Everyone is a house with four rooms: Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. Rumer Godden

Share with Others

Although each of us is responsible for our own development, your journey will be easier if you take it with others. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk to family and friends about your efforts, uncertainties, struggles and successes
  • Join a group – an exercise class, a church, a social club…
  • Take it on-line – find a forum, use social networking sites (Facebook), read / contribute to blogs (especially mine!)

I wish you every success!

And Jesus grew in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favour with God (spiritual) and man (relational). Like 2:53 (NIV)


The table bellow explores these dimensions a little more. Note: I’ve added the environmental dimension, because it provides a context in which to explore the other dimensions.

(Environmental) Physical Mental Relational Spiritual
Seat Environment Body Mind Heart Spirit
Question Where? / When? What? How? Who? Why?
Expression Occasion Action Cognition Emotion Descision
Care Stewardship Scholarship Relationship Worship
Outcome Wealth Health Understanding Friendship Peace / Joy
Reward Land / Loot Livelihood Learning Loving Legacy
Exercise Invest Implement Inform Invite Inspire
Acquisition Earning Living Learning Playing Praying
Church Role Evangelist (Administrator) Teacher Pastor Prophet
InvestmentOpportunities Places / Possessions Practices / Processes Patterns / Principles People / Passions Purposes
Responsibility Care Conduct Cognition Community Cause
Action Go Do / Say Think Feel Decide
Rhetoric (Context) (Demonstration) Logos Pathos Ethos
Pavlina‘sPrinciples Power Truth Love
Adjective Environmental Physical / Occupational Intellectual / Rational Social  / Emotional Spiritual / Volitional
Department R&D / Marketing Facilities / Finance IT HR Management
Production Market Land /Capital Information Labour Enterprise
+ Place & Time Work School Home Church / Holiday


  • Stephen R. Covey discusses these dimensions of growth in his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. The relevant chapter is entitled, “Sharpen the Saw”.
  • Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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