The 8 Dimensions of Wellness in Recovery
We present the information on this page as a generalized, educational overview. Specific details below regarding treatment protocols may not reflect the protocols utilized by Compass Recovery.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like to learn more about Compass Recovery and our individualized programs for those struggling with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.
What are the 8 Dimensions of Wellness?
The term “wellness” includes 8 significant interdependent dimensions, which are the physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental. An individual needs to pay attention to all eight dimensions of wellness.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Wellness Initiative takes into account these eight dimensions. The initiative promotes wellness for individuals with both mental disorders and substance use disorders. The Wellness Initiative from SAMHSA will reach its objectives by motivating organizations, individuals, and communities to take steps towards a higher quality of life and lower early mortality rate.
SAMHSA’s definition of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness is unique to each independent dimension. For instance, the physical dimension is described as recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition. The occupational dimension describes personal satisfaction from an individual’s work.1
Wellness is an active process which an individual undergoes to become aware of and make decisions for a successful existence. Wellness can also be described as a transition from unconscious living to a conscious one, where you become concerned about your health.
Other words that describe wellness are soundness, wholeness, wholesomeness, self-care, robustness, sap, fitness, and healthiness. Wellness is essential for both children and adults because it maintains good health and prevents different ailments such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and mental health conditions.2
Relationship Between the 8 Dimensions of Wellness and Addiction
Someone struggling in a low-quality dimension may turn to substance use to cope with the lack of balance in the different dimensions of wellness, and this substance abuse can quickly spiral into addiction. For instance, an individual with a negative emotional dimension may have problems coping with life, self-care, and building good relationships. Individuals with poor emotional wellness may feel timid and lack control of feelings and behaviors, making them unable to handle life’s challenges.
Drugs attach to specific brain receptors that regulate mood. Hence, an individual with a low-quality dimension like the emotional dimension may decide to use substances for mood regulation, which ultimately results in addiction.3
Improving dimensions also helps in addiction recovery. The emotional dimension deals with relationships. Improving this dimension will help determine who you allow in your life and aid addiction recovery. Good occupational wellness will help individuals manage stress appropriately, which is essential for addiction recovery.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness in Detail
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness are imperative for all individuals to achieve healthy living. It is beneficial to understand the different dimensions in detail to see positive results. Here’s what individuals need to know about the 8 Dimensions:
According to SAMHSA, emotional wellness describes the ability to cope with life and create satisfying relationships with individuals. It also involves the ability to communicate feelings and have a substantial control over emotions or resiliency.
Individuals with good emotional well-being are capable of asking for help when required. They can handle life challenges and understand that they can overcome setbacks. Ways to improve or maintain emotional wellness include engaging in recreational activities that involve the five senses, such as listening to music or eating good food.
Spiritual Wellness deals with the expansion of a sense of purpose and meaning in life. It allows a person to develop a set of values that help in seeking purpose. Examples of spiritual wellness methods include relaxation and religion.4
Certain activities like prayer, volunteering, self-reflection, and meditation may follow spiritual wellness. Strong spiritual health is also visible through signs like accepting others, having clear values, and a sense of inner peace.
According to SAMHSA, Intellectual Wellness involves the recognition of creative abilities and discovering methods to expand on knowledge and skills. Critical thinking and lifetime learning are both essential ways to improve or maintain intellectual wellness. Examples of activities for intellectual wellness also include reading, engaging in debates, and solving puzzles.
Physical Wellness is recognizing the need for self-care, including diet, sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. Individuals with good physical health typically avoid weight gain/weight loss issues and substance abuse problems. For instance, individuals who engage in sports may decide to use smoking as a coping mechanism, which affects physical wellness by causing cancer and leading to premature death.5
Environmental Wellness is defined by occupying pleasant environments that play an essential role in well-being. It also includes community involvement in avoiding violence, pollution, and garbage buildup. An individual with good environmental health engages in proper recycling, encouraging eco-friendly products, and changing pollution habits. One of the helpful ways of maintaining or improving environmental wellness is spending time outdoors.
According to SAMHSA, financial wellness may also be described as reaching satisfaction with current and future financial situations. Individuals can improve financial wellness by budgeting, reducing expenses, and saving appropriately. Engaging in healthy habits like paying bills on time and reviewing credit reports and bank statements will also help maintain and improve financial wellness.
Occupational wellness is also conventionally called vocational wellness. It describes the satisfaction and enrichment that an individual experiences from his or her work. Occupational wellness involves finding work, developing healthy work habits, and balancing work and leisure time.
SAMHSA describes Social Wellness as the ability to develop a sense of connection and a well-developed support system. When building or maintaining social wellness, it is imperative to engage in good communication skills and participate in helpful activities. Note that social wellness also requires being genuine with individuals, which means the ability to say “no” to others when you feel it necessary.
Why Should You Care About the 8 Dimensions of Wellness in Recovery?
As an individual, wellness is an essential requirement to live a good and balanced life. The importance of wellness also makes the 8 Dimensions imperative in recovery from substance abuse. A well-balanced combination of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness helps individuals get better at a fast rate.6
It is essential to pay attention to the eight dimensions of wellness in recovery to improve your overall quality of life or self-care and reduce the chances of a relapse. By building and maintaining the 8 Dimensions of Wellness correctly, individuals will learn life skills and discover insights about themselves that will remain helpful when they leave recovery.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness are important for every individual, including those with substance use disorder. Building and maintaining all the dimensions of wellness are essential to preventing various illnesses and achieving a healthy state of self-care.