What are the 4 Pillars of Well Being

The 4 Pillars of Well Being

Firstly let’s explore what wellbeing is. Wellbeing is acknowledging that we are a whole being so we need to consider our well being from a holistic perspective. An individual is more than just physical health and wellness. It considers and acknowledges the emotional, physical and social well being of a person.  Well being describes essential parts that need to be met by ourselves that help us function at an optimal level. It is incorporates how we feel, cope, and manage our responses to life’s stresses. If any of the 4 pillars of well being aren’t met, we will tend to function at a reduced capacity and struggle.with lifes challenges.pillars of well being

Basic Needs

Through my observations as a counsellor working with complex client situations, mental illness, and abuse, I believe that pillars of well being need to be simple and meet one’s needs necessary to allow one to flourish. If the 4 pillars of well being listed below are met, then other areas of life can build and flourish.

However, if one of these areas are not met, it seems that one’s resilience is affected and ability to cope amidst stress is compromised. The individual is less able to work through the problem as effectively as if these pillars of well being are met.

In my view, pillars of wellbeing are where the needs of an individual are met before a sense of well being can be felt. Having these main areas of life met allows for the development of resilience and improved positive feelings can be experienced.

I have broken these up into Primary and Secondary PIllars of well being as if the primary pillars of well being aren’t met, then the secondary components also won’t be met until the primary ones have been.

4 Pillars of Well Being


Sleep  pillars of well being

Sleep is essential for us humans. Without sleep, researchers have shown that we become delirious, hallucinate, can’t think straight and even put on weight.. We know how much babies need their sleep for their growing bodies but also to rest their senses from stimulus overload. The same is true for adults, if we don’t sleep, our bodies don’t produce the necessary hormones, and recovery that we need.

For example what if you haven’t been sleeping well for a few nights? How do you feel? Some people can manage on only a few hours, but over time, this can affect one’s mood and cognitive function, Without getting quality sleep, other areas of your life suffer.  This shows how important sleep is. When our mood is affected, our well being is affected. It’s harder to cope with a stressful situation. If you are struggling to get quality sleep, check out these tips to help get you sleeping well.


pillars of well being

Our bodies are designed to move. It’s that simple. During our evolution, we were on the  move frequently. We would hunt, play, move around. Then we started living in communities, towns evolved, cities grew. As time progressed, we have become more sedentary. We are the most sedentary than we have ever been. We need to move to allow our muscles to do their job, help us get from one place to the next.

I’m not talking about running a marathon or even jogging, unless that’s what you enjoy. Movement can be walking, swimming, skating, pilates, stretching. It can be anything you enjoy that allows your body to move. Personally I have started doing taekwondo at the age of 44. Within a year, I’ve been able to get more height in my kick which I never thought would actually happen. When we do some form of exercise in particular, our bodies have this amazing effect where hormones are released that make us feel good. So there’s so much more to movement than just working up a sweat. It also helps with mental health.


pillars of well being


The need to make healthy nutritional choices also has an effect on our well being. When a person doesn’t eat well, eats mostly processed and nutrient deficient foods, it affects the brain and the gut flora. This in turn affects how we feel physically and mentally. Health issues have been on the rise for decades at an alarming rate leading to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease among numerous others. Research is increasingly finding that diets low in carbohydrates as  effective for turning these health issues around. For more information on this click here. and here.


Social Connections 

Through interacting with others you ensure you aren’t isolated and can talk through your experiences. Research shows that those who are socially isolated have a much higher incidence of mental illness than those pillars of well beingwho interact with others.

Having a sense of connection with others allows the nurturing of relationships and a sense of belonging.

It also allows us to share our experiences with others while also having someone to talk to if things are not so great. By engaging with social connections and relationships our emotional needs are also met. It’s important to talk to someone so that our minds aren’t going round and round in circles.

Through social connections we can also consider participating in our community. This also helps in connecting with individuals, while engendering a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself. It can also help build on your sense of altruism if you become a volunteer, participate and get involved.


Once the above pillars of well being are met, then a natural progression is to focus on the following areas to support your well being.


Be present, practice mindfulness, reflect on your environment.  Pay attention to your interactions, purposely doing what you do in a conscious way. Take notice of yourself in your space eg how you interact with others, how your body feels when breathing etc.. Taking notice allows you to broaden your awareness around you. Be fully present in your interactions and activities.

Ways to practice this includes:

  • Mindfulness
  • Breathing
  • Grounding using your 5 senses


how to overcome anxiety naturallyTake time out for yourself. Self care and focus on ensuring you get some essential ‘me time’. If you give too much of yourself, you can get burnt out. If we allow our stress levels to build up, this will inevitably affect our sleep, physical health and emotional health which will impact the 4 pillars of well being. For help with learning how to relax try this program.


Connect with nature. This helps you be more aware of your surroundings increasing your ability to pay attention while also be present. Nature can have a calming effect on our senses and help ground us.

pillars of well being

Find something that you get a sense of relaxation from. If you don’t have much time, listen to your favorite music and not do anything for at least 5 minutes. Stop and be. .


With a negative perspective, it’s likely to influence how you respond to your environment which impacts how you feel. With the right attitude, we can conquer the world, however that looks to you. If you notice that you are thinking from a negative perspective, instead of berate yourself for doing this which becomes a vicious circle, reframe the negative into a positive. One way that can help you shift your focus to a more positive view is through thinking of something you are grateful for. Here’s a guide to the health benefits of gratitude.

Final words

When we look after ourselves from a holistic perspective, we can function at a higher level, achieve more, and feel more positive towards life and our way of being in it. .

Please share your thoughts of what you find are the pillars of well being for you below in the comments.

24 Replies to “What are the 4 Pillars of Well Being”

    1. Hi Roger, it’s hard to make time for yourself, but in the long run your body and mental health will thank you for it. 5 minutes per day is all it takes to make a start. All the best ~kat

  1. Thanks for the advice. As a professional gamer, I spend so much time awake, sitting down, and eating junk food. It really wears down on your body and mental health, especially when you’re a schizophrenic like I am.

    I had amazing results in my health when I went two weeks drinking bottled water over caffeinated soda. Unfortunately, old habits die hard.

    1. Hey Jordan, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. Even though old habits die hard, know that you have been able to make changes when you needed to and so you can do it again when you’re ready. All the best ~kat

  2. This is some very good advice, thanks for sharing it I used to stay stressed all the time. I fixed that by quitting the job that caused the stress. There were other reasons, but that was the biggest. 🙂

    1. Hi Lokhi, well done for recognising how the stress was making you feel and were able to be assertive about what you needed to do for you. That takes a lot of courage to change what you’re doing, especially if it’s your source of income. I hope you’ve been able to find alternative income while also managing your well being. Cheers, ~kat

  3. Hi, Kat thanks for sharing, lots of great information I must admit I hate exercising but you are right it does feel better after you have exercised. I like music therapy, whenever I am worried or upset I usually listen to gospel or the Irish singers and this does relax me.

    1. Hi Ruthlyn, thanks for sharing. You’ve found what works for you is music and your connection with hearing the gospel and Irish singers. It does take time and conscious effort to try to incorporate new changes into your routine. Maybe you’ll find an exercise that you enjoy that will be easier for you to do regularly when you’re ready. All the best ~kat

  4. This is a very important article. People today live in a very stressful environment and we need to find our way back to a more relaxed way of living. Thank you for the insight.

    1. Hi Marie, thanks for sharing. Yes, life is very stressful for many people so I hope this discussion can help others find a way to manage their stress levels. All the best ~kat

  5. Kat, this is great advice. Your article is well written and I enjoyed reading it.. I’m always interested in how I can better my health and well being. It reminds me to slow down and relax, which is something we as busy humans don’t do very often. thank you for your information.

    1. Hi Stori, thanks for sharing. Life does get so busy, so it’s great that you’ve had a reminder to help you slow down to ensure your needs are being met so you can be at your best. ~kat

  6. Lack of sleeping has been a problem for me recently.
    I totally agree that it affects all aspects of my life.
    I am working on a project that I am very passionate about and most of the time I go to bed after midnight. Doing this after a few nights and I can feel the effects of it.
    My work output reduced in quality and quantity as I am struggling to stay awake.
    I figured to be productive you have to be disciplined as well.
    If you go to bed early tonight, tomorrow you be fresh and ready to work harder, not sleepy.
    Great post and a reminder.

    1. Hi Fred, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. Yes, it can be hard to get everything done before going to bed. It takes discipline to finish but there’s always tomorrow where you can be more productive if you get a good night’s sleep. I hope you get regular good quality sleep so you can focus on your goals productively. ~kat

  7. Hey!
    This is such a great post, and reminds me to take care or myself more. I have struggled with depression in the past, and let me tell you, self-care makes such a huge difference to me! Having a bath or an early night after a bad day will make me feel much better the next day!

    Life is so fast paced nowadays, we need to keep in mind to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others, so thanks for this article!

    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for stopping by. Depression is very complex and a real challenge to work through. It sounds like you recognise how to manage a bad day can be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep so you can manage the new day more optimally. Having a relaxing bath is very comforting and soothing to our mental wellbeing too. Well done for recognising what you need to do for you. ~kat

  8. Being mindful is a great way to remain present and reduce stress. Often it is our negative thoughts about the past and the future that cause us stress and detract from our sense of wellbeing. By grounding our senses in the present moment we can consciously choose to be positive and be grateful for all that we have. The longer and more often we can be positive, the healthier and happier we will be. This is a sure way to creating a better future for ourselves.
    Thanks for sharing your 4 pillars of wellbeing.

    1. Hi Andrew, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think positivity has so much to our health. If we apply positivity to anything we do, this can help us achieve our goals. Even being positive about getting enough exercise, or having a good night sleep can influence the quality of our sleep. ~kat

  9. Kat thanks for the great reminder to be mindful of my health and how I’m treating my mind and body. I know for me recently, it’s been easy to neglect sleep and exercise, and I’ve definitely been feeling the effects of it. This article has been a great encouragement for me to refocus on doing what’s best for my body and mind.

    1. Hi Kelsey, isn’t it amazing that when we think of the things that get neglected, just how it is impacting on our well being. It’s great that you’ve found this to help you recognise what can help you shift and allow you to refocus on yourself. ~kat

  10. Hi Kat

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. I have to tell you, I try to get to the gym everyday for a 40 min workout during my lunch hour and if by chance I’m on holidays for a week and miss my workouts, I can definitely see a difference in my mental health, it’s so true, movement really does impact our wellness. . I make it a priority in my lifestyle to ensure the 4 primary pillars you mentioned are adhered to as they really are the foundation to achieving total wellness.

    Great post! I thoroughly enjoyed the read.


    1. Hi Tracy. It’s great that you notice a difference for your wellbeing when you stop exercising for a short period of time. It seems like a small thing to change in your routine, but you’re aware of the impact it has, great insight and self awareness :). ~kat

  11. Hello, I enjoyed reading your post. I agree with everything. learning to care for my self (self care) is my journey right now. The one thing I should truly work on is sleep… I know I don’t do right for myself when it comes down to sleep. But I will work on it.

    1. Hi Temekia it’s great that you are aware of your need to improve your sleep. When we are aware of what needs to change, we can mindfully work on it and make choices that support that goal. Thanks for stopping by and sharing ~kat

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