Mental health is about a lot more than just having the ability to manage emotions and utilize coping skills. Mental health requires overall wellness. So what is wellness? SAMHSA defined wellness in terms of quality of life and the ability to pursue goals. They broke wellness into eight dimensions: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, financial, occupational, and social.
Mental health seems as though it would only fit within the emotional dimension of wellness, however, humans don’t exist in a vacuum. For example, people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain report higher levels of depression and anxiety. Exercise has been shown to help with depression and anxiety symptoms. Socially, friends and supportive family have a positive effect on mental health. Self-fulfillment can help give people hope as well as meaning in their life.
Since mental illness does not exist just in the realm of emotional wellness, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to focus on only one type of wellness. That would be the wellness equivalent of skipping leg day and, let’s face it, that doesn’t look good on anyone. However, I don’t want anyone to have to ignore any of the dimensions or domains of wellness and that is why my practice is called Eight Domains.