Holistic Approach to Health and Wellbeing
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that takes the entire person into account. Wellness simply means to be optimum health. It is a well-balanced blend of physical, mental, and even spiritual health and wellbeing that results in living the highest quality of life possible.
Holism is based on the idea of the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts, so that all the elements that makeup up a human being are considered to promote optimal health and wellness. Healing is promoted by treating the entirety of the person based on the principal that when one part is out of balance, it causes the entire system to become imbalanced.
Before getting into how you can improve your health, take a moment to think about the impact of holistic approaches to enhancing your physical and mental health. Consider how addressing your overall wellbeing with the purpose of promoting good health, is much more effective than waiting to get sick and treating the condition.
Unique and Functional Approach
The holistic approach is both unique and highly functional because instead of targeting the symptoms of a certain disease, as conventional medicine does, it focuses on the whole person, and the root causes of illness and unwellness targeting the three key areas of a person’s being – body, mind and spirit.
Holistic approaches use natural methods in promoting good health, and when the goal is overall wellness, lifestyle choices and habit changes focus on prevention and proliferation of good health of mind, body and spirit rather than the treatment of disease after a diagnosis has been made.
Holistic Approaches to Lifestyle and Illness
Lifestyle illnesses, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease cost billions of dollars in healthcare costs every year. They not only take up a great deal of your time but also pose risks for premature death and at the very least decrease your ability to enjoy the things you love to do. Instead of living with disability and sickness, there are several holistic ways to improve your health and avoid the hardships that come with chronic disease.
The European Prospective Study
A study was done as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition in 2009. They looked at participants who used healthy and natural ways to improve their health. Not only was the quality of their lives better but it decreased the chances of suffering from a chronic illness by 80%. Here is how you can go about doing what the above participants did in order to improve your health in the most holistic ways possible:
Regular Physical Activity
There are many healthful benefits to exercise. Exercise can involve aerobic exercises like walking, running, swimming, or cycling, or anaerobic exercises, like lifting weights and using weight machines at the gym. Research has consistently shown that, by engaging in regular exercise, you can decrease your chances of suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and lung cancer.
Exercise is not only something you do for your body’s health and wellbeing. Exercise can easily help your mental health as well. Exercise is known to increase the brain’s endogenous endorphins so you feel better and have a decreased perception of pain. It also decreases your chances of suffering from an early death. One study from the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital revealed that those people who engaged in a regular exercise program had a decreased risk of premature death by nearly a third.
Keep A Healthy Weight
It has been well established that people with a normal weight for their height have better health and function better in daily activities. Unfortunately, obesity is on the rise and this means an increase in chronic illnesses. There are many ways you can keep your weight within the normal range.
Exercising on a daily basis can go a long way toward improving your weight and eating a low calorie healthy diet is also essential in avoiding weight gain and the medical problems that go along with being overweight. You don’t have to drastically change your weight. Losing just a few pounds can make the difference between poor health and good health.
Get Vaccinated and Screened for Chronic Illnesses
While getting a vaccine against the flu or pneumonia isn’t technically holistic, they are important things you will want to do, especially as you age. In addition, you need to see your doctor on a regular basis to be screened for many of the chronic illnesses that go on to having a poor quality of life.
Screening for diabetes alone can identify your risk for the disease and can help you stave off the complications that go along with having this chronic illness. Cholesterol screening, too, can identify your risk for heart diseases and can lead you toward better eating habits that will lower your cholesterol and improve your overall health and wellness.
If you are not a smoker, do not start. Smoking is a highly addictive behavior that traps those that partake in it in a whirlwind of addiction and poor health. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Smoking not only causes lung cancer but also it is the leading risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease.
If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, you definitely need to quit smoking as the combination of smoking and these conditions only adds to your risk of heart disease.
People who isolate themselves have worse health than those who spend time with friends and loved ones. It can involve taking out time to eat together as a family, going out periodically with your spouse, or engaging in an exercise program with a close friend. Your social network is just as important to your health as any other healthful activity you can engage in.
Social activity keeps the brain healthy and promotes emotional wellbeing, and when you feel good your body thrives, it’s really as simple as that.
In the modern world, self-care has become at best something of an after-thought and at worse a completely neglected consideration. Busy schedules, an astounding amount of time spent on social media and smartphones, the hustle, the bustle, it all takes time, and attention from what should be our first priority: health self-care.
Stop and think for a moment, can you identify what your true needs are right at this moment? Perhaps, you are so exhausted that you need a nap? Maybe your body aches from tension and too much work and you could use a massage?
Were your last few meals eaten from a paper bag from some greasy take out that you wolfed down while rushing from one errand to another? Are you really taking care of yourself, as you should? Self-care and learning to listen to your body to identify what you really need and doing everything possible to fulfill those needs is the core of a holistic approach to good health and wellbeing. Make yourself a priority!
Holistic health practitioners understand that many ailments and ill health in general can be traced back to stress. In fact, a prolonged state of chronic stress is the root cause of many chronic medical conditions that afflict the body, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety that affect the mind and emotional health.
Taking care of your emotional wellbeing is considered of utmost importance in holistic medicine and the body is greatly affected by what goes on in the mind.
Mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation unite the mind, body, and spirit to promote overall wellness and a unique connection between physical and mental wellbeing. These activities and others, like simply taking a walk in nature calm the mind, and detract it from the very hectic and overly stimulating modern world.
A calm mind, supports a healthy body, it’s really that simple. Taking the time to relax, and deep breathing exercises further support wellbeing and help to decrease the impact that stress has on our health.
Everything we do in life affects our wellbeing and relationships are no small consideration. Do your relationships fulfill you, uplift you, and support you?
If not, help is available to identify the problems and resolve them so that familial, romantic, and platonic relationships support you to thrive.
Nutrition for Health and Wellbeing
Yes, you have heard it all before…
A healthy diet is necessary for good health and wellbeing. Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women and is mainly tied to lifestyle choices such as diet.
Junk food kills…etc. etc. etc.
But, there is so much more…
All of these things and the many more benefits that solid nutrition offers you, ensure your overall wellbeing on a day-to-day basis, so you can thrive! This is a very real benefit, that can be enjoyed in the here and the now without having to wait for the ‘in case” of heart disease.
A holistic approach to your health and wellness emphasizes the significance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. It involves a mindful recognition and respect of the fact that anything that affects one part of the body also affects the whole body. A holistic approach to health means having respect for the consequences of our habits and actions. Take charge of your health and wellness today!