Holistic health and wellness are often described as a way of life that includes taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
Many forms of holistic wellness include yoga, meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy, chiropractic care, homeopathy, naturopathy, nutrition, health coaching, and more.
Modern healthcare tends to focus on treatments such as surgery, medication, and even traditional medicine.
These approaches tend to address the physical aspects of illness and chronic disease, including the use of medicines, procedures, injections, surgeries, and hospital stays.
But, a more holistic approach to health treats the whole person – mind, body, and soul.
It focuses on looking at the root causes of our problems rather than just focusing on treating the symptoms. This might involve addressing lifestyle factors, emotional issues, cognitive abilities, environmental influences, spiritual beliefs, and social interactions.
Holistic Health Dimensions
Holistic health isn’t just about taking care of our bodies; it’s about tending to our minds, emotions, relationships, spirituality, financials, and selves.
We’re talking about living life to the fullest. And while many people talk about holistic health as though it’s a fad, there’s good science behind why it works.
When you look at the whole picture, addressing our health and any health concerns holistically makes sense because it addresses all aspects of human existence. Let’s take a closer look at what each element entails for a healthy lifestyle.
Physical Health – Physical health encompasses everything related to our bodies. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and avoiding dangerous substances such as alcohol and drugs.
Emotional Wellness – Emotional health involves managing stress effectively and dealing with feelings such as anxiety, anger, and depression without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Social Health – Social well being refers to how we treat others and interact with those around us. It’s about having strong friendships, family ties, and supportive communities.
Spiritual Health – Spiritual wellness is about finding meaning and purpose in life. There are many ways to achieve this, including making positive environmental changes, volunteering, and practicing mindfulness.
Intellectual Wellbeing – Intellectual wellbeing is about learning and developing skills to improve yourself. It could mean reading books, attending online classes, or joining a mastermind group.
Financial Wellness – Financial wellness is about managing your money well so you can live comfortably and avoid debt. It also means having a plan for retirement and saving for future goals.
Why Is Holistic Wellness Important?
Holistic wellness is an essential component of living a long, healthy life.
In fact, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “holistic medicine is defined as the practice of medicine that takes into account the mind, body, emotions, spirit, and environment.”
This type of care focuses on treating the entire person rather than just focusing on the physical body alone.
The goal of holistic wellness is to promote overall well being by simultaneously addressing mental health and physical issues.
For example, stress management techniques are often included in holistic wellness programs.
Stress affects our bodies physically and mentally, causing problems such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive disorders. By incorporating stress management techniques into holistic wellness plans, we can help prevent those adverse effects.
Another aspect of holistic wellness involves proper nutrition.
Eating a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein provides us with the necessary nutrients to keep our bodies functioning properly.
Additionally, eating foods that contain antioxidants can reduce free radical damage and protect against diseases like cancer.
Healthy relationships play a significant role in social wellness and holistic health. A supportive network of family members and friends can provide encouragement during times of struggle.
Furthermore, maintaining strong connections with loved ones promotes happiness and positive feelings.
Conversely, unhealthy relationships can cause depression and anxiety.
The holistic wellness approach also incorporates exercise and movement throughout the day. Regular exercise keeps our bodies fit and healthy, helping us avoid chronic illnesses.
Activity also improves our daily mood, reduces stress levels, and helps boost our quality of life.
Finding ways to make movement enjoyable and convenient can encourage participation in physical activity.
For financial health, holistic wellness includes living for today while saving for tomorrow and planning retirement.
We need to know how much money we earn and spend each month and live within our means. Stashing money away will allow us to invest in things that will benefit us later in life.
Finally, holistic wellness includes taking time out of our busy schedules to relax and enjoy ourselves. Taking breaks from work helps us recharge and refocus on what’s essential in life. Spending quality time with family and friends also contributes to a sense of fulfillment.
Practicing holistic wellness
Holistic wellness encompasses many different aspects of our lives. We’re busy, leading complex lives where we juggle work, family, friends, health, fitness, finances, relationships, spirituality, and much more.
With so many moving parts, knowing how each piece affects the rest can become challenging.
And while some people thrive on being overwhelmed, others feel lost and confused about what to do next.
There are countless ways to create holistic wellness — and there’s no “right” answer. So, if you notice yourself feeling stressed or anxious, try taking a break from the situation and try a different approach.
As you become more aware and conscious of the way multiple areas interact, you may find that certain activities, solutions, or forms of healing become more critical than others.
For example, maybe you’re trying to eat healthier by adding exercise into your daily routine. Or perhaps you want to stop eating junk food because it makes you gain weight.
But if you don’t plan and make space for nourishing meals throughout the day, you may end up overeating at dinner.
If you’re struggling to not spend money, set aside a portion of each paycheck toward savings goals. This small amount can help you avoid spending too much during the month.
And if you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, try going to bed earlier or any of these other tips for better sleep.
These little changes might seem insignificant along your wellness journey, but over time, they’ll add up to vast improvements in your wellbeing.
A holistic approach to physical and mental health has helped people find greater balance in life, overcome aggravating health issues, improve mental well being, adhere to exercise routines, strengthen personal relationships, and meet other wellness goals in pursuit of optimal health.