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Wellness and mental health

Mental Health Matters

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans' lives.

Monthly at Healing Solutions Family Therapy Center, we will be exploring practices that support balance as a key to well-being as we examine specific aspects of the wellness wheel and how to optimize each category to facilitate mental and physical health.

The wellness wheel is a visual representation of seven dimensions of wellness. The categories promote self-evaluation and ways to enhance overall quality of life while focusing on living a life of meaning and purpose, adopting a balanced lifestyle, and reaching your full potential.

Dr. William Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, developed the seven dimensions of wellness in 1976 as an integrated wellness approach. The interconnected categories contribute to achieving a balanced life and include physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social and occupational wellness.

The physical dimension of the wellness wheel involves all aspects of physical activity, balanced nutrition, sleep hygiene, self-care and tending to proper medical attention when necessary.

Emotional Wellness refers to your feelings and emotions. By cultivating emotional health, you are better equipped to adapt to any transitional events and effectively moderate stress. Emotional wellness can be supported by maintaining physical health, working with a qualified mental health professional, asking for support when needed and managing stress.

Intellectual wellness focuses on lifelong learning, increasing knowledge and skill building. Curiosity, life-long learning and creative endeavors support an active mind. Reading for pleasure, staying updated on social/political issues or mentoring others fall under this category.

Spiritual wellness concerns core values, beliefs and ethics that inform actions and guide you through life. Spiritual wellness promotes self-examination and exploration of meaning and purpose in life, while providing an opportunity to connect to your inner and outer worlds, whether through a religious organization, communing with nature or practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Environmental wellness addresses the role surroundings play in your overall well-being. From a micro level within your home to a global scale, our physical environment impacts mental health, mood and how we live. Environmental wellness determines the way you interact with your home, school or workspace environment. Organizing, decluttering, recycling and completing household tasks can contribute to promoting a more peaceful living space. Creating spaces that contribute to constructive emotions are additional ways to focus on environmental wellness.

Social wellness examines relationships as strong social support structures foster connectedness and are significant to moderating feelings of stress, isolation, loneliness or depression. Participating in group activities, joining organizations, nourishing respectful and meaningful relationships, is fundamental to maintaining healthy social wellness.

Occupational wellness focuses on work fulfillment, financial stability and the impact on your life. Evaluating job satisfaction, finances, and career ambitions support occupational wellness. Planning, supporting financial health and finding a fulfilling profession all fall under this category.

The wellness wheel promotes self-examination, progress evaluation and identification of barriers. When establishing wellness goals, all seven dimensions of wellness and how each one impacts your life should be scrutinized. Working with a professional for additional guidance is beneficial on our personal wellness journey and facilitates goal setting, adjustments and self-care when taking steps to accomplish lifestyle changes.

Do you feel any imbalances in your wellness wheel? At Healing Solutions Family Therapy Center, a collaborative team of qualified professionals are waiting to support your self-discovery and wellness journey. Please call our office at 661) 903-8822 if we may be of service to you. We accept most major insurance plans.

Carla Cook is a Clinical Supervisor at Healing Solutions Family Therapy Center.