When it comes to our well-being we all know the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle; living longer, feeling physically and mentally stronger, and becoming ill less often. What we often don’t think about is the financial impact our health can have – you only have to look at the much higher life and health insurance premiums paid by smokers to see being unhealthy comes at a price in more ways than one! Holistic Health offers another direction.
The incredible advances in modern-day western medicine mean that the recovery and survival rates from our ailments are at an all-time high. So where does holistic health come in, and why is it becoming increasingly popular with those who want to keep their health in tip-top condition?
Fans of holistic health believe that its importance stems from its philosophy of treating the body as a whole system in order to really achieve optimal wellness in mind, body and spirit, rather than focusing on individual symptoms and just the section of the body affected.
All sounding a bit new-age airy-fairy for your liking? Well, read on…you might be surprised at what holistic healing can do for you….
What Exactly Is Holistic Health?
Often involving complementary medicines and alternative therapies overlapping with modern medicines, holistic healing goes beyond the singular treatment of symptoms in order to support not just the physical, but the mental and spiritual as well.
There are many healthcare practices, some of which you may have undergone yourself, that you might not be aware fall under the holistic health umbrella, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Personal training
See, not as beardy-weirdy as you thought…so why are these types of therapies as important to our health as prescribed medications?
The Importance Of Holistic Health
In today’s fast-paced society, you’d be hard pressed to get through a day without hearing, or indeed declaring yourself; “I’m so stressed”. ‘Stress’ is definitely one of the buzzwords of the modern age, and that, along with fatigue are often thought to be exacerbated by a nutrient-deficient diet of convenience foods, alcohol, and the chemicals we might be exposed to within our environment. Modern healthcare might not be able to offer much in the way of treatment for ailments caused by our modern lifestyles, and this is why so many of us are turning to holistic methods to help us cope.
The 5 Aspects Of Holistic Health
Holistic health looks beyond just the physical, and also addresses our mental, emotional, spiritual and social health – the theory being that if one of these areas is compromised, the others will suffer also. So, according to the practices of holistic health, what can we do to boost our health in these areas?
Physical health is what most people think of when they think of their health – largely because physical signs are often visible, and are much easier to track and measure. There are many things we can do that will make a big difference to your overall well-being, such as:
- Getting 8 Hours Sleep A Night – being well rested is important and allows your body to repair itself.
- Eating Well – Ensure that you eat a diet packed with nutrients; ideally high in plant-based foods and organic produce.
- Maintain Balanced Blood Sugar – You can do this by eating little and often, ideally every 3 to 4 hours. Make sure your meals and snacks contain fat, carbohydrates and protein.
- Move Your Body – The benefits of physical exercise are well-known and researched, and just 30 minutes of movement a day will improve overall health.
- No Smoking – We all know the dangers of smoking, so if you are a smoker, quitting will bring all sorts of physical health benefits.
- Cut Your Alcohol Consumption – You don’t necessarily have to go tea-total, but reducing your alcohol intake will have a positive impact on your health.
Our emotional health is an easy one to overlook – afterall, the stresses and strains we all feel every day are just a part of life, aren’t they? While that’s certainly true, emotional upheaval can affect our physical health if it goes unchecked, so how can we make sure that doesn’t happen?
- Therapy – Therapy can be a great support to our emotional health, and so it should always be sought out where needed
- Stress Reduction Habits – This can involve things such as meditation or breathing techniques. Try and add just five minutes of ‘quiet’ or ‘me’ time to your daily routine and you’ll soon feel the benefits.
- Keep A Journal – Putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper can be cathartic, and is a great way of confronting issues you might not be able to say out loud. Keeping a gratitude journal can also be very therapeutic and can help bring some positivity during times of stress.
Your social health might not be something you’ve ever thought about before – you might not even be sure what it is….(hint: it’s got nothing to do with how many parties you get invited to) Studies show us that those who have strong connections with their family, friends, and communities are healthier and happier than those who don’t….
- In-Person Connections – it’s true that modern technology means that we are better connected to our friends and loved ones than ever before, and wonderful though it is, it can’t compare to connecting with those people in person.
- Get Involved In The Community – Whether it’s through volunteer work or getting involved with local clubs etc, finding ways to help out within your community is a great way to support your social health.
- Walk Away From Toxic Relationships – Being surrounded by toxic energy is a fasttrack way to ill social health, and if you’ve ever found yourself in a toxic relationship you’ll know quickly it can take its toll on other areas of your health too, including emotionally and physically. Setting boundaries with those people, or having the strength to walk away from the friendships and relationships that are impacting negatively on your health.
Despite what you might think, spiritual health doesn’t necessarily have to have any grounding in religion, although the principles and practices overlap. Holistically speaking, your spiritual health should focus on connecting with the world around you and your inner soul. How?
- Spend Time In Nature – Take time to feel the sun and the air on your skin, listen to the birds, breathe in the fresh air…you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
- Meditate – Spend a few minutes everyday meditating; close your eyes, focus on your breathings and relax, maybe while listening to some soothing music. There’s no denying that relaxation techniques can relieve stress and tension, so why not give it a try and see what other areas of your health improve.
Often linked to both our emotional and physical health, the importance of mental health has been very well documented in recent times, and it is an area of health that can be greatly improved with a combination of both western medicine and holistic healing. What are some of the holistic ways that we can support our mental health?
- Keep Your Mind Active – Challenge your brain by learning something new or doing brain-training puzzles to keep your mind sharp!
- Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods – A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are essential for supporting cognitive function
- Just Say No! – Avoid smoking, recreational drugs, and excessive drinking
- Improve Gut Health – Holistic health teaches us that the gut and brain are linked, and so eating gut-healthy foods like those rich in prebiotics and probiotics are important to maintain a healthy mind.
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