The funny thing about the about the treatment world is that we tend to think of our physical health and our mental health as being two separate components of wellness. But, why? Isn’t our brain, and all the chemistry in it, connected and integrated with the rest of ourselves? And, because we live in the world, isn’t how we interact with it and the people living in it integrated as well?
The answer is yes! I think of it as – we are not only in the world but of the world. Meaning, we cannot separate our influence on the world from its influence on us. So, if this is true, then how can we make sure that this interaction is a help rather than a hindrance? What steps can we take to ensure our bodies, brains and our whole health is the best it can be?
At Pasadena Villa Outpatient Center, our “4 Health” group focuses on how to be fully well by weaving physical and emotional health with lesser known components of health like financial, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, occupational, and social wellness. Based on the “Eight Dimensions of Wellness” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of the U.S. Government (SAMHSA), research correlates the interplay that these spheres have on the holistic wellness of an individual. Therefore, if we want to promote full and lasting wellness, we must discuss deficits in all areas of a healthy lifestyle.
How do we tackle these deficits? First, we need to know where they exist. One of the easiest ways to examine these components is to create a Wellness Wheel. There are many examples of Wellness Wheels, but one that I like to use is by Tamiko Arbuckle at My Foggy Brain. The Wellness Wheel not only allows you to map your wellness in each sphere but also to brainstorm ways to address deficits once discovered. As a therapist, it allows me to see a clearer and more concise definition of barriers people may have in obtaining and supporting full recovery.
The first step is to determine how you feel about the main areas of your life today. Using the Wellness Wheel, start from the inside circle (least satisfied) and move out (most satisfied) identifying your level of satisfaction in each area. You can shade the wheel, as you move, or use a number system (1-10), or whatever method works for you to identify your level. Next you look at the wheel and determine where you have an opportunity to make a change or increase the satisfaction, such as increase your walking by 10 minutes each day under physical fitness, or cut back your caffeine intake under nutrition.
Next, the hard work begins, in the “4 Health” group, we discuss ways to break down these barriers using research based techniques provided by the scientific community. The great part of being in this setting is that we can try these techniques and measure success while having constant support.
Try it, complete the Wellness Wheel and see what you discover about your map of whole person health. But remember, wellness is always a work in progress, so check in with your wheel on a regular basis.
Paying attention to your whole health is vital. If you or a loved one have questions regarding a mental illness, seek guidance from a mental health provider that is right for you. You do not have to face this challenge alone, Pasadena Villa Outpatient – Raleigh can help. Call us at 407-574-5190 or complete our contact form to help with the next steps of treatment. Pasadena Villa Network of Psychiatric Services currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina.