04 Feb What does it mean to truly be Well?
Wellness can be in cased in many paradigms. It is a multifaceted ideology, which works hand in hand with physical and mental health. One cannot be achieved without the other, but improving one can help improve the other. As an individual who succumbs to addiction, wellness and mental health can potentially be severely damaged. Our substance abuse recovery program is geared towards increasing the health of our residents not just through physical well being, but through mental health as well.
Wellness by definition is the state of good physical and mental health. Most people believe wellness is the absence of stress and illness, but this can prove to be a misconception. Anyone can achieve wellness even under extreme stressors. An addict is the perfect example of this paradigm. Addicts can constantly be under the stress of relapse and the potential to fall back into unhealthy practices, but maintaining wellness can help overcome these stressors. If you are physically and mentally well, stressors are inconsequential.
There are specific dimensions to wellness and when paying attention to these aspects one can benefit from and learn how to truly be and feel well. Making wellness a part of your daily living will help keep your sobriety and recovery on track. Below we will go over and describe each dimension of wellness in detail so as to give you a blueprint to jumpstart your healthier lifestyle.
- Emotional: These dimensions are in no particular order, but keep in mind that all these aspects play a crucial role in overall wellness and must be paid close attention to if one is to truly reach full wellness. Emotions can oftentimes be the sole focus of our decision-making. Some of us prefer to think with our emotions rather than rational logic. There is no harm in being an emotional person so long as we guide our emotions in a positive manner. Emotional health is what helps us gain friendships and accomplish healthy romantic relationships. Emotions are a part of the complexities that make us human. Emotional state is also one of the most fragile aspects of wellness and can easily be derailed. Maintaining a good emotional balance can be difficult, but achievable. Mediation and mindfulness practices are a great way to keep your emotions stable. Most of our stress is geared towards high, intense emotions. For instance, getting stuck in traffic can often lead you to anger. Next time you feel your emotional state change take a moment to breath and think to yourself what has caused this emotion and how can you help guide it to a more positive state?
- Environmental: Studies have recently been reported that show environment can cause severe affects on your overall wellbeing. Some people are not aware that soldiers coming home from the Vietnam War had become highly addicted to heroin overseas. This became such an epidemic that president Nixon had to issue an order that would not allow addicted soldiers to come home unless they underwent treatment. The interesting thing about this dilemma was that once soldiers returned home about 90% who got treatment never went back to using heroin. What had happened? What changed? The answer lies in their environment. In the war they had no family, no escape from the drugs, you could even say their environment at war was conducive to their addictive behavior. Once the soldiers returned home and back to the positive things that brought them joy and happiness, the environment was no longer conducive to shooting up and getting high. They were home, among family and children, and they could live again, free from war, free from heroin. This is why sober living is essential to the treatment and recovery of addicts. A slow transition from treatment back to a dug free life can become more achievable when eased into it and cultivated by a strong environment.
- Financial: Drugs strip you of just about everything, but can especially be financially draining for you and your loved ones. Addicts tend to lie, cheat, and steal for that next high, so learning how to budget and maintaining finances is a crucial part to helping you keep control of your life after addiction. Financial strain can be a huge detriment to someone’s health. Many people are unfortunately in great debt and this can cause unhealthy stress to your wellbeing. Taking control of this aspect of your life is essential to keeping in good health. Learn to budget, don’t spend above your means, and seek professional advising if all else fails. If you enroll in a transitional living program be sure they offer life-skills building such as money management.
- Intellectual: Some people may be misguided in thinking you are done with education and intellectual growth after college, but this would be a grave error and detriment to your wellbeing. Seeking intellectual creativity and new skills is what leading a healthy life is all about. Enriching your mind with new things learned is another fancy way of exercising your mind. You know what they say about exercise, its good for your muscles. Why would your brain be any different?
- Occupational: Having and seeking a career that enriches you mentally and utilizes your best attributes is very essential to wellbeing. The simple fact of feeling good about what you do is enough to elevate your health. Occupational satisfaction is key. During your stay in our sober living program you will be equipped with a case manager that will help enroll you back into school, get a GED or college degree or seek employment to a fulfilling career path.
- Physical: Another key dimension of wellness incorporates physical wellness. How you maintain your muscles, respiratory and cardiac systems, your metabolism is important to your health and wellbeing. Physical health is the key example of how working on your body will also help your mind. When you engage in physical activity your body releases hormones that help elevate your mood, and also speed up your metabolism so not only do you build lean muscle, but your mental state improves as well. Exercise is a critical part in recovery, especially for substance abusers. Alcoholics lose a lot of muscle mas and essential nutrients that get leached out through heavy alcohol use. Exercise can help repair the damage done by toxic substances.
- Social: A key component of recovery for substance abusers is also to build up that network of alliances for sobriety. Surrounding yourself with people who are mindful and want to see you succeed in your recovery is essential. Learning to engage in healthy romantic relationships helps boost self-esteem and lifts you with happiness. Human beings are social beings and thus social interaction is not only essential for wellness, but it is a biological need of our bodies.
- Spiritual: People can choose to look at spirituality in many degrees. Simply put, spirituality is defined as having a sense of connection with something bigger than us. Most people chose to describe this sense/presence as God. In our sober living programs we emphasize spiritual growth. Since we are powered by the knowledge and teachings of the 12-steps and Alcoholics Anonymous spirituality is engrained within all these principles. We don’t want to make you believe in God, but we want you to have spirituality, a belief in something greater than you. The big book talks about releasing the negativity that has taken a hold and empowering yourself with the belief that a greater being/sense can help guide you on the path to riotousness and sobriety. Having a healthy sense of spirituality can help guide your mind to a peaceful state and thus, in return, help balance your overall wellness.
In conclusion, wellness is a combination of all these dimensions positively working together to achieve good health. At Constellations Recovery we want our residents to fully immerse themselves in recovery to truly achieve overall wellness for the rest of their lives.