Maintaining Mental Wellness in Recovery

Maintaining Mental Wellness in Recovery

Recovery is the final stage of addiction recovery. In this stage, you must stay consistent in implementing what you learned through your rehab program to prevent a relapse. Stress is a normal part of life, so you will be faced with stressful situations as you work on achieving goals. Familiarize yourself with the dimensions of wellness and use aftercare, meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises to enjoy a lasting recovery. These mental wellness strategies empower you to handle stressful events in a healthy manner and remain in control of your life.


Aftercare is essential for all people who have gone through addiction treatment, whether they went through residential, outpatient, or partial hospitalization rehab. It’s especially important for those who needed dual diagnosis rehab because having another mental health disorder on top of a substance use disorder presents another challenge in staying sober. Defining Wellness Centers checks on your overall wellness periodically in their aftercare program to help maintain your mental health. This includes making sure you’re continuing to take care of your physical health.

An aftercare program guides you in creating a plan for staying sober and achieving your goals once you return home or to a sober living house. You’ll meet with a mental health professional around once a week to ensure you’re staying on track. If you’ve started to fall off course, they can help give you that extra push. Some people find it preferable to stay in an outpatient program long-term, so keep in mind this is also an option. For those who have co-occurring disorders, ongoing therapy is essential.

Treating Clinical Depression & Substance Abuse

Dimensions of Wellness

In order to maintain mental wellness in recovery, you must nurture the eight dimensions of wellness because each has an influence on the others. If you neglect one dimension, then the others may suffer. It might feel overwhelming at first addressing all eight areas, but start small and gradually work your way up. With time, you will have good habits that have become second nature to you in maintaining wellness.

The eight dimensions of wellness are:

  • Physical wellness
  • Emotional wellness
  • Financial wellness
  • Occupational wellness
  • Intellectual wellness
  • Social wellness
  • Environmental wellness
  • Spiritual wellness

During drug rehab, you most likely learned CBT techniques for maintaining emotional wellness. You may have had other areas addressed in a luxury drug rehab as well, such as physical wellness, social wellness, environmental wellness, and spiritual wellness. You don’t need to turn to religion to address the spiritual side. Spiritual wellness is finding meaning in your life and living by your values and beliefs.

The mental health professionals at Defining Wellness Centers can help you discover what’s most important to you, so that you can find meaning in your life. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a goal-oriented therapy, making it helpful in accomplishing this. The professionals at your rehab center can often provide resources and additional guidance in all of the dimensions of wellness. They understand the importance of addressing all areas for lasting recovery and a happy life.


Research has found that meditation is effective in reducing the symptoms of mental disorders and promoting character change, especially when it’s combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. Most drug rehab programs, including dual diagnosis rehab, use CBT to treat addiction. Meditation is helpful in developing stronger self-control even for those who have more than one mental health condition. If you’ve been through dual diagnosis rehab, you may have learned how to meditate. Even if you didn’t learn meditation during your drug rehab, you can learn it now.

The different types of meditation can be broadly categorized as concentrative and mindfulness. Concentrative meditation focuses your awareness on a stimulus, such as your breath or a mantra. Mindfulness meditation focuses your attention on nonjudgmentally observing everything you’re currently experiencing, including sounds, feelings, smells, thoughts, and also sights if you have your eyes open. 

Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) are good for detaching from negative emotions, gaining insights, and changing your perspective to a more beneficial perspective. Concentrative meditation establishes a feeling of peace or bliss. It also helps boost your self-control and concentration skills. To reap the full benefits of meditation, commit to 15–30 minutes of meditation every day. The consistency causes positive changes in your brain that make you more resilient to life’s stresses.


Many luxury drug rehab centers teach mindfulness-based stress reduction. Research has shown mindfulness is helpful for mental wellness. What exactly is mindfulness? An APA feature written by Daphne M. Davis, Ph.D., and Jeffrey A. Hayes, PhD defines mindfulness as “moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.” It shouldn’t be confused with meditation. Although meditation can cultivate mindfulness, it’s not the same thing. Yoga, qigong, and tai chi can also develop mindfulness, but each is a separate practice.

  • Benefits of mindfulness, as supported by the research, include reduced stress, reduced emotional reactivity, and less rumination. Mindfulness also improves focus, working memory, relationships, and cognitive flexibility. Reduced emotional reactivity and rumination set you up for success in saying “no” to your substance use triggers. Experiencing less stress makes you less likely to relapse.

    All of these benefits play a role in easing the symptoms of any other mental disorder you have as well. With all of these science-backed benefits taken into consideration, it’s easy to understand why some rehab centers incorporate mindfulness-based stress reduction into their treatment approaches.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises help maintain mental wellness in recovery by signaling your body to initiate the parasympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation and slowing your heart rate. When you’re feeling anxious or angry, your sympathetic nervous system is often triggered. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fight or flight, a system intended for brief life or death situations like fleeing an animal in the wild. In the modern world, people must learn how to quickly go back into a calm state as they become stressed and triggered throughout the day. Otherwise, this overload of stress deteriorates their mental and physical wellness.

There are many different types of breathing exercises you can do. In general, the goal is to breathe with your diaphragm and count how long each breath lasts to ensure you’re breathing deeply and long enough. For instance, you may inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, wait 5 seconds, and repeat. Getting into the habit of inhaling through your nose is important because it’s better for your health than mouth breathing.

Everything You Need for Maintaining Wellness in Recovery

Whenever you feel stressed, anxious, nervous, worried, or another negative emotion, choose from the above tools in maintaining mental wellness. It will help you feel better and more in control. Consequently, you will be less likely to relapse. These mental wellness techniques are taught here at Defining Wellness during drug rehab and are intended to be used your entire life. They eventually become second nature as you consistently implement the strategies.

We can help you or a loved one learn how to maintain mental wellness and recover from an addiction. Our facility has up-to-date MRI scanners and other technology to monitor your mental health recovery during treatment. Contact Defining Wellness today to discuss your options and needs.