People in the industry often talk about physical and mental health regarding addiction recovery. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that the concept of “wellness” refers to being in good health — both physically and mentally. However, all-around wellness involves more than these two dimensions. Therefore, recovering individuals need to care for all eight dimensions of wellness.
What Are the Eight Dimensions of Wellness?
Based on a whole-person perspective, wellness includes being healthy and stable in all eight of the following areas:
Flourishing in all these areas can lead to overall balanced wellness. However, only having a few areas increase at the expense of others’ decline results in an imbalance in an individual’s well-being.
The Importance of a Well-Rounded Understanding of Wellness
Nobody can deny that true wellness requires a holistic approach. Every person has strengths, abilities, and aspirations to be well in their ways. Traditionally, health experts tout that wellness equals the absence of disease and illness. However, wellness requires more than the physical or mental areas of life but all aspects of the human experience.
Recovering individuals need a multi-dimensional understanding of wellness to understand the practical implications for their progress. For example, if a person’s treatment plan primarily focuses on physical wellness while neglecting emotional and social progress, the risk of self-isolation and emotional relapse can be very high.
Although wellness can be defined personally because everybody has different needs, the major dimensions influence one another. They are connected, and their interplay leads to positive or negative health outcomes. Based on a holistic view of recovery, it is essential to understand wellness in all these dimensions.
The Interconnected Eight Dimensions of Wellness
Among the eight dimensions of wellness, the most commonly neglected ones are intellectual, emotional, and social wellness. Yet, these are spaces where recovering individuals’ needs tend to emerge. For example, substance addiction may have impaired their cognitive abilities, leading to intellectual decline. Likewise, because substance addiction is a multi-dimensional brain disease, the same happens to their emotional and mental wellness.
Even in long-term recovery, a holistic approach to wellness is constructive as it addresses many aspects of a person’s life. For example, when life events compromise a recovering individual’s physical or financial wellness, they may experience increased anxiety and stress, which brings down their emotional wellness. These difficult times also might make them question the meaning and purpose of life, impacting their spiritual wellness. Because every dimension is interconnected, lasting recovery requires holistic care.
Benefits of a Holistic Wellness Approach
A holistic wellness approach that considers the entire person encourages deep collaboration during treatment. Health professionals must gather data on the eight dimensions of a recovering individual. They can also solicit input and support from this person’s family and friends to ensure that recovery is progressing.
If a recovering individual and their treatment team adopt this holistic wellness approach, they can collaborate better and find effective ways of coping with challenges in each area. Additionally, they can diagnose all aspects of life and decide what therapies or support will be most beneficial to the individual’s unique situation.
Practical Tips to Improve Holistic Wellness
Healthy physical habits are generally a good place to start when striving for overall wellness. Individuals should ensure they’re getting proper nutrition, regular exercise, quality sleep, and access to health care when needed.
With this foundation laid, they can expand their intellectual wellness by keeping the brain sober and active. Recovery self-care practices can include keeping a journal and reading good books. Signing up for educational courses or learning new skills can also help improve intellectual wellness.
Next up, individuals must safeguard a safe and clean environment at home or work. Organizing sober events at home with family and friends can be a great incentive to keep their space clean and boost social wellness. Finally, individuals should diligently keep track of income and spending to improve financial wellness.
Recovering working professionals may find that occupational wellness can be achieved by prioritizing healthy work relationships and a healthy work-life balance. They must communicate with their employer directly if they need support and accommodations at work. Making time to celebrate accomplishments with team members can also promote occupational wellness.
Spiritual wellness does not have to come from religion, though it certainly can. Deeply connecting with oneself or acknowledging other powerful forces in the universe, like art or nature, are excellent spiritual practices. As the mind is part of a person’s body, so is the spirit. Well-rounded wellness includes spiritual connection and growth.
Lastly, individuals must work on expressing feelings and coping with emotional challenges. Family and work responsibilities can all create stressors in life. To manage them, individuals can reflect daily on their emotional needs and how they can express them. Everyone needs people or a support group where they can share openly.
Recovering individuals need more awareness about different dimensions of wellness, including emotional, intellectual, environmental, and financial wellness. However, you cannot achieve all these by yourself. Laguna Shores Recovery has all the necessary resources if you are looking for a dedicated team to support your wellness journey. Here, you will find that our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of positive support networks. Whether you need to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships or set up good relationships for success, Laguna Shores Recovery can help. Support from experienced health professionals is key to your recovery. Please call (866) 774-1532 to discover how you or your loved one can be part of our strong recovery community.