3 Domains

of Human Functioning

· emotional needs,psychology,human functioning,meaning making,self help


In life, human beings seem to participate in 3 primary domains that  meet  some of our many needs and help us create wellness and resiliency, because life is hard and strength is required to survive. 

These domains can be called Self (that which is only about you), Other/Relationships (that which is about those persons connected directly to you), and World (that which is about survival of our species). 

Efforts across these domains require  balancing to help create optimal functioning and increase our resiliency through experiences we have, so what happens if they are out of balance? 


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When one or more domains is functioning well, we feel a sense of wellbeing and strength in that domain.  If all 3 domains are in good function, we generally  feel a maximal sense of resiliency and wellbeing.

When one domain is in a state of poor functioning, we may be able to compensate temporarily by relying on the other two domains to maintain well being and shift to some of our other strengths. 

However, if all 3 domains are in some state of chaos, we feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and have a sense of general futility with severe loss of meaning and resillience.

 Therefore, we must tend to issues in any domain when they occur to retain stability across time. What should you look for to assess your domains' wellness and your overall resilliency?


  • AmI trying to use the same rules for all domains (work rules at home, friend rules at work, etc)?
  • Do I have chaos in one domain that has spread to other domains (illness, divorce, trauma, etc.)
  • Do I prefer and prioritize one domain at  the expense of the others (workaholic, codependent, etc)? 
  • Are the resources  and rules of each domain clear to me?
  • What domain is the most difficult for me and why?
  • How are my boundaries between domains? Too rigid boundaries so that there is no exchange between domains  (compartmentalized) or too diffuse so that the domains have collapsed into each other (loss of identity) or yo-yoing between rigid-diffuse so that chaos is a regular occurance in all the domains and exaustion is inevitable.

If any of the above resonate with you, consider using the questions below to help you sort through what might be going on and how you might gain more wellness through addressing what you find. 


On a scale of 1-10, 10 being maximal wellbeing, what number would you assign to each of your domains?

Other                  1___________5___________10

Self                      1___________5___________10

World                   1___________5___________10

  1. Pick your most robust domain and explain what makes it function so well for you at this time.
  2. Pick your most poorly functioning domain, describe what is making it dysfunctional at this time. 
  3. How might you make your boundaries between domains and within domains more healthy?
  4. How might you  address chaos occuring in one domain and fortify your other domains while you work on the chaotic element?
  5. How can you better understand the rules of the domain you struggle with most?


MANTRA: I am balanced in all my efforts and have strength for all that life requires.