Peruse traditional grocery stores and you’ll find some aisles devoted to health products. You might find teas, gluten-free bread, and dairy-free products. You might find supplements and other items regularly found in the health food store. Furthermore, take a drive down main street in your community and you’ll likely find yoga centers and massage studios. More and more people in the general public are becoming acquainted with practices such as yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and even craniosacral therapy. What were once alternative forms of healing are now becoming mainstream.
In fact, practices of wellness are so mainstream that more and more of the mental health field are adopting them. Although once practices like meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy were seen as alternative and carrying little value, today these practices are highly regarded. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists, and others in the medical and mental health field are adopting these practices into their work with clients.
Furthermore, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) has adopted wellness as a significant component to treating mental illness and addiction. For example, read SAMHSA’s vision:
We envision a future in which people with mental health and substance use disorders pursue optimal health, happiness, recovery, and a full and satisfying life in the community via access to a range of effective services, supports, and resources.
Also, SAMHSA launched the National Wellness Week in 2011 where they’ve outlined and promoted eight dimensions of wellness. These include:
Emotional—Being able to manage life effectively and sustain satisfying relationships
Environmental—Ensuring that the environments in which you spend time are pleasant, stimulating, and support well-being
Financial–Finding satisfaction with current and future financial situations
Intellectual—Recognizing your creative and intellectual abilities as well as finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Occupational—Getting personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning from one’s work
Physical—Recognizing the necessity for exercise, healthy foods and sleep
Social—Having strong connections with others, having a sense of belonging, and developing a network of support
Spiritual—Expanding your sense of purpose and meaning in life
There are many reasons why wellness is an essential part of recovery. Perhaps the primary reason is that wellness helps create a foundation upon which healing can take place. More and more experts recognize that when someone has their needs met and they feel taken care of, that person is less likely to relapse or turn to drugs in the first place. He or she is better able to handle crises, stress, and small triggers throughout the day.
Many people have heard of the instructions provided on an airplane. A person traveling with someone who needs help with their oxygen mask should put their own mask on first. This is important to point out because it’s common for recovering addicts to tend to everyone else’s needs but their own. When you’re not tending to your own needs and neglecting your well being, you might choose to do something that undermines your health and even your sobriety. As a result, you might get more and more irritable, frustrated, easily annoyed, and possibly experience a relapse because of the building self-neglect.
However, when you have a solid base of wellness in your day, you eliminate some of the annoyances that could lead to making the wrong choice. Yet, taking good care of yourself can lead to recognizing your triggers and stop yourself before getting into trouble.
Examples of wellness practices include:
Wellness practices set a firm foundation for physical and psychological health. It gets us to focus on preventative measures versus reacting to the ills of addiction. In the mental health field, taking measures to care for yourself is sometimes referred to as self-care. When self care is done on a regular basis, you boost your ability to stay sober, happy, and healthy.
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