Compasses are one of the oldest and most trusted navigational tools. They’ve been used throughout history to safely guide travelers to their destinations. They work for anyone almost anywhere or at any time, indicating four primary directions (north, south, east, and west). They work because the pivotal needle in the middle of the compass is balanced and consistently detects magnetic north. If the compass is unbalanced or too close to a magnetic force, the needle spins out of control, rendering it useless.
Wellness travelers are encouraged to consider the Wellness Compass & Definitions (Figure 1: Illustrated below) as their metaphorical navigational guide to maintaining balanced well-being. The Wellness Compass consists of four directional domains of wellness: spirituality, socio-emotionality, health, and life’s purpose (intellectual and occupational well-being). A pivotal central fifth domain represents the challenge of maintaining balance and harmony throughout our lives. Each directional dimension of wellness
Wellness travelers are encouraged to consider the Wellness Compass (figure 1) as their metaphorical navigational guide to maintaining balanced well-being. The Wellness Compass consists of four directional domains of wellness: spirituality, socioemotionality, health, and life’s purpose (intellectual and occupational well-being). A pivotal central fifth domain represents the challenge of maintaining balance and harmony throughout our lives. Each directional dimension of wellness has been broken into three generic goals, for a total of twelve directional goals. A single “maintain balance” goal is also added, for a total of thirteen well-being goals.
Definitions of the Five Domains and Thirteen Generic Goals of The Wellness Compass
Spiritual Well-Being (chapters 2–5)
Definition:inner peace; personal appreciation and contentment about our place in the universe; having actions that are consistently in harmony with our values and beliefs
- Principle-centered goal: to live virtuously
- Clear Conscience goal: to be free of guilt, shame, and anger
- Unconditional Caring goal: to love oneself, others, and our world unconditionally
Socio-Emotional Well-Being (chapters 6–9)
Definition:one’s outlook; one’s ability to understand, control one’s emotions and others’ emotions, and connect effectively with the key people in one’s life.
- Cheerful goal: to sustain a positive attitude
- Connected goal: to be supported and support others well
- Emotional Control goal: to maintain self-control
Physical Health (chapters 10–13).
Definition: one’s ability to maintain energy, health, and fitness so that one’s body can do what one wants it to.
- Cautious and Preventative goal: to minimize health risks
- Committed to Self-care goal: to have a healthy body and body weight
- Energized and Fit goal: to sustain energy and fitness
Life’s Purpose (chapters 14–18).
Definition: one’s ability to learn, adapt, focus, and make contributions to life, family, and community; financial well-being
- Courageously Changing goal: to overcome any challenge: to continually learn and adapt
- Prioritized and Responsible goal: to complete one’s responsibilities well the first time
- Fully Contributing goal: to accomplish one’s life’s purpose and achieve financial security
Maintain Balance (chapter 19).
Definition: one’s ability to maintain harmony between competing needs and priorities
- Maintain Balance goal: to juggle priorities and manage stress well enough to maintain harmony between competing needs
Goals are referred to as generic because they are designed as a guideposts or standard targets that are worthwhile to pursue for most people, most of the time. Travelers are encouraged to personalize the wording, and even content, to best reflect their individual aims. Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the eight interior goals (gray background) are considered foundational, as they form the building blocks required to reach the five self-actualizing goals (white background) and to secure the ultimate goal of life: becoming your best self—all that you were meant to be. Although the goals and key concepts are or portrayed as being within only one domain, they are understood as all being interconnected in achieving optimal well-being.
 A. H. Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Psychological Review 50 (July 1943): 370–96.