The 4 Elements of Whole-Person Wellness – Part II – Water and Earth

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This is Part II of the Wellness Inventory Dimensions as Elements

The Wellness Inventory is a whole person wellness program that helps you use your strengths to achieve your goals and bring more vitality, awareness, and balance to your life.  As you can see by the image, the inventory is like a pie made up of twelve pieces.  In the spirit of fun, each Wellness Inventory pie piece can be associated with one of the four elements:

  • Fire
  • Air
  • Water
  • Earth

By associating each pie piece with an element, you can figure out where you may be needing more balance or support, and where your true strengths lie.


The Element of Water

Water is the element of emotion.  It flows, rushes, boils, or remains peaceful.  It cleanses yet can also overwhelm us at times.  Water asks us to let go of structure and rules and to literally go with the flow.  Water asks you to feel, be vulnerable, and surrender.

The wellness inventory dimensions associated with water are:

  • Self Responsibility / Love
  • Sensing
  • Feeling


Self Responsibility / Love

Self-Responsibility and Love ask us first and foremost to value and cherish ourselves.  To do this, we must love ourselves enough to know that we, not someone else, are responsible for our wellbeing.  And, because society has taught us to look outside ourselves for the answers, we can easily start to believe that we don’t know what’s best for ourselves.  From getting enough sleep to buckling our seatbelt, we are our own best advocate.  Self-responsibility and love gently remind us that no one can love us more than we do.  With that love comes the power to ask for and accept help when we’re in need, all while being an active participant in our own self-care.



Sensing allows us to be aware of the impact of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.  Our environment plays a crucial role in our health.  Colors, the type of and volume of music, and even artificial light can impact how we feel.  Our senses allow us to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as the smell of freshly roasted coffee, cinnamon, or freshly baked cake, all while listening to soothing music in a softly lit café.  Sensing evokes emotion and helps us understand what environments help us work, play, and live best.



Feelings help us experience a variety of emotions and express those emotions constructively.  Without our feelings, we wouldn’t be able to pick up on social cues and would miss out on love, laughs, and even loss.  Recognizing and accepting feelings such as fear, anger, and sadness helps us learn about what we, and others, need as human beings.  “Feeling all the feels” helps us experience the true spectrum of life, and allows us to connect with others in deep and meaningful ways.


The Element of Earth

Earth is the element of…well…earth.  This element relates to practical things that impact us on this plane: our job, our money, our possessions, and our ability to ground ourselves into the present.  Earth asks us to look at necessities, our lifestyle, and how we manage resources.

The wellness inventory dimensions associated with earth are:

  • Eating
  • Moving
  • Playing and Working



We’ve all heard the saying, “we are what we eat.”  We know we should eat healthy food for most meals, but the Oreos call to us (or at least they often call to me).  By viewing food as an ally and not the enemy, we can learn about our body’s unique needs and stop dieting forever; healthy eating eliminates the need for dieting by becoming a lifestyle.  Eating mindfully by chewing our food slowly and thoroughly helps us practice gratitude not only for our food but also our bodies.  Eating high-quality food keeps us healthy, energized, and able to do all the things we love to do regardless of age.



Ever heard the saying, “motion is lotion?”  This is the essence of moving.  Moving keeps our minds sharp, our muscles strong, and helps our joints stay lubricated.  Moving asks us to be curious about new forms of activity, to recognize that we each have unique exercise needs, and to try and get in at least 20 minutes of exercise at least three times a week.  Being active also allows us to recognize the benefits of combining breathing, movement, and body awareness; it’s the ultimate mind-body-spirit super-connector!  Moving asks us to find something we enjoy doing and incorporate it into our lives in a fun and flexible way.


Playing and Working

Playing and Working asks us to value ourselves for who we are in addition to what we do.  It asks us not to take ourselves too seriously, to be spontaneous, and to make sure we don’t take on unreasonable or unnecessary responsibilities.  Valuing a healthy balance between playing and working helps us prioritize downtime to relax and protects us from burnout.  Playing and Working take up most of our waking hours, so make sure you value both of them, not just one at the expense of the other.


Points to Ponder:

To wrap up Part II of the elements of the Wellness Inventory, take some time to ask yourself these questions about Water and Earth:

  • What element do you feel you’re most in touch with, and why?
  • What element do you feel you need to nurture most?
  • What are three ways you can nurture that element?
  • How can you bring more balance to the elements in your life?


As a fun exercise, refer to Part I here,and then answer the questions above again, taking into account all four elements.