What is holistic health?
Holistic health or holistic healing is often defined as a form of healing that looks at the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. This kind of health often involves multiple complementary medicines and alternative healthcare practices that can overlap with modern-day, western medicine. It will go beyond the treatment of singular symptoms to support more than just the body, but the mind and spirit.
Some alternative healthcare practices that often are found within the realm of holistic health are:
- energy work (reiki)
- physical therapy
- general western medicine
- personal training
When all of these complementary therapies come together for holistic healing, a person is much more likely to experience wellness on a deeper level that allows for a more joyful and truly healthy way of living.
5 Aspects of Holistic Health
There are five aspects of holistic health that enable a person to truly live each day in the healthiest, happiest way possible. Typically, if one area is compromised, it is likely that other areas will be as well.
Our physical health is what most people think about when they think of health. This is mostly because it is the physical body that often shows us physical signs and symptoms of either optimal or suboptimal health. These physical signs and symptoms are also easier to track and measure, versus other non-physical signs and symptoms that can feel more abstract
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH:
- Sleep for 8 hours each night. This will allow your body to truly rest and repair from the day.
- Eat a nutrient dense diet that is high in plant-based foods and organic/pastured animal products.
- Maintain a balanced blood sugar by eating meals and snacks that contain fat, carbohydrates, and protein every 3-4 hours.
- Move your body for 30 minutes each day. While every person’s exercise routine will be different, everyone can benefit from at least 30 minutes of movement each day.
- Limit processed foods and hydrogenated oils which are highly inflammatory and can increase risk of chronic disease.
- Do not smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
While often overlooked, our emotional health is just as important as our physical health — especially because our emotional health can affect our physical health if it is not prioritized.
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH:
Seek out therapy when needed. Therapy is an essential part of supporting our emotional health and should be utilized whenever necessary.
Practice mindfulness and stress reduction habits that can help you better manage life’s daily stressors.
Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings. Use your journal to record what you are grateful for as it can help bring positivity into times of stress.
Research has shown that the happiest people on earth have deep connections with their friends, family, and community. This is often why religion is connected with happiness, as it can provide a deep sense of community and support, no matter what faith a person chooses.
WAYS THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR SOCIAL HEALTH:
Make time for in-person connection (when it is safe to do so because of COVID-19). While technology has allowed for us to feel connected more, research has shown that virtual connection still does not provide us with the same level of happiness as in-person connection does.
Get involved in your local community. Whether this is through your church, local volunteer organizations, clubs, or programs at your kids’ school — getting involved in your local community is one of the best ways you can support your social health and improve happiness.
Set boundaries with people in your life that may increase stress or bring about toxic energy. Also do not be afraid to walk away from friendships and relationships that are negatively affecting your health.
Spiritual wellness does not necessarily mean that you need to become religious, although the two often have overlapping practices and principles. Instead your spiritual health should focus on how you are connecting with your inner soul, and the greater world around you.
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH:
Spend time in nature.
Spend a few minutes or more each day meditating.
If you are religious, take the time to practice your faith
The last aspect of holistic health is our mental health, which often overlaps with both our emotional and physical health. The big distinction between our mental and emotional health though is that while our emotional health refers mostly to our daily mood and emotions, our mental health refers to our cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions.
WAYS THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH:
Always keep your mind active by seeking out learning opportunities and problem-solving practices that challenge your brain.
Consume nutrient dense foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that will help reduce overall inflammation and support cognitive function.
Avoid excessive drinking, smoking, and consuming recreational drugs.
Improve gut health with gut healing foods like bone broth and prebiotic and probiotic rich foods. Since the brain is directly connected to the gut, a healthy gut is essential for a healthy mind.
At the end of the day, holistic healthis a product of the interplay between the various factors described above. A good balance of all aspects of wellness is essential for an overall well-being and leading a healthy life. Always take a holistic approach and remember that balance is key!