After recovery from a drug or substance addiction, the primary objective of a patient is to reach and maintain wellness to the best of their ability.
Wellness is usually associated with just mental and physical health.
However the patient must improve multiple aspects of wellness known as The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. This eight-part series will focus on each dimension, but first, a brief introduction to each.
The emotional dimension encourages the patient to approach and express his or her emotions in a healthy manner. Emotional dimension focuses on the patient coping with the trials of life effectively. In addition, emotional wellness affects how the patient approaches the emotions of other people. Consequently, this process creates satisfying, fulfilling relationships. Some of the specific goals in the emotional dimension include:
- Managing and expressing those feelings in a constructive manner
- Maintaining a positive and enthusiastic outlook throughout one’s life
- Listening to and understanding to internal feelings, values, and attitudes
- Listening to and appreciating the feelings of other people
In order to maintain overall wellness, it is also important for the patient to stay in a stimulating and pleasant environment that supports wellness. Firstly, this wellness dimension helps the patient figure out what the correct environment is for his or her well-being and development. Secondly, this also helps in figuring out how to find it or how to turn their existing one into an ideal environment. The specific goals for environmental wellness are:
- Identifying how natural, social, and built environments affect a specific patient’s health
- Finding the environment that encourages optimal physical and mental health
- Taking the steps to keep that environment safe for wellness development
- Maintaining a commitment to keep the planet a healthy place
Meanwhile, as part of a patient’s overall state of wellness, the patient must feel satisfied with his or her current and future financial situations. In other words, the patient should understand financial matters and act in a way that keeps up financial well-being in the present and in the future. Similarly, reaching financial stability means the patient can also afford to meet other dimensions of wellness. Some of the objectives of maintaining financial wellness include:
- Using resources to live within realistic means
- Making realistic goals for spending and financial achievements
- Preparing finances for short-term and long-term situations and emergencies
- Possessing the knowledge to make financial choices and investments.
- Understanding that everyone else’s financial circumstances, needs, and values vary depending on the individual
The intellectual dimension encourages the patient to recognize his or her own creative abilities. In addition, it also find new methods to increase knowledge and skills. Therefore, the patient should always find new ways to keep up that curiosity develop ways to increase it. The development of intellectual wellness also allows the patient access to resources that aid in other wellness areas. The actions to meet intellectual wellness goals include:
- Maintaining the ability to grow intellectually
- Finding the value in lifelong learning
- Embracing and confronting intellectual challenges
- Looking for creative outlets that boost intellectual curiosity
- Keeping an open-minded approach to new ideas, wisdom, and observations
On the other hand, occupational wellness dimension, also known as vocational wellness, involves the patient finding personal satisfaction and enrichment from his or her work. That is to say, by participating in a fulfilling career that contributes to the patient’s well-being, the temptation to engage in unhealthy habits decreases. In order to reach occupational wellness, the patient must engage in the following:
- Finding, preparing, and participating in work consistent with the patient’s values and lifestyle
- Adapting to a career that specifically respects the patient’s physical and mental health
- Contributing gifts and skills to a job that is personally meaningful
- Considering volunteer work, if possible, to play a part in creating a healthy environment
In order to keep overall wellness, a patient needs a constant, reliable social support. Thus, the patient must learn how to establish healthy connections with other people. Nonetheless, they also need to interact with the broader community. For instance, forging social interactions with others and having a sense of belonging to certain groups can encourage the development of other healthy habits. Developing social wellness involves the patient:
- Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with others
- Finding a sense of belonging in a group or community
- Enjoying the company and support of other people
- Supporting the well-being of other people in the patient’s social group
- Seeking ways to contribute to the larger community
In the physical wellness dimension, the constant upkeep of the patient’s body remains a key aspect. The patient is aware of the importance of maintaining the body in optimal shape. As a result, the patient engages in fitness routines and other activities to fulfill that wellness. Physical wellness does not only mean exercising, but also other healthy habits. For example, following a balanced diet and a proper sleeping schedule. The patient can take some of the following steps to keep physical health:
- Increasing physical activity within the patient’s limits
- Following a healthy diet with the appropriate amounts of nutrients
- Exploring the greater outdoor world
- Ensuring an adequate sleeping schedule
In the spiritual wellness dimension, the patient works to find an overall sense of purpose. Nevertheless, they are also in constant look out for a specific meaning in life. That is to say, spiritual development tends to give the patient a greater structure and goal that can keep them focused on maintaining other dimensions of wellness. An individual can reach spiritual wellness with or without the aid of organized religion. Some of the actions involved in spiritual wellness are:
- Seeking value, purpose, and meaning in life
- Growing a connection between self, nature, and others to keep balance
- Discovering the patient’s own beliefs and values
- Participating in events and activities that encourage the individual’s beliefs and values
Why are the 8 Dimensions of Wellness Important?
All of these dimensions are important for a person’s well being in order to truly flourish. They do not need to be perfectly balanced for a person to be well. The goal is to find a personal harmony with the dimensions that is most authentic for the patient. We, naturally, each have our own priorities, aspirations, approaches and views on what it means to live life to the fullest.
The idea is to give attention to all the dimensions, keeping in mind one’s own idea of personal harmony, as neglect of any one of these will negatively affect the other dimensions over time and ultimately a person’s own health and well-being, as well as their quality of life.
Once the patient has found a good balance of each of these dimensions that works for them, personal wellness is achieved. But this is always a work in progress, because things change, one must check in on each of these 8 dimensions periodically to maintain the balance.