As emerging science shows how interconnected all of our body systems are, holistic health is proving to be a more utilized alternative to traditional medicine ever before. Holistic health is a way of approaching overall wellness with an understanding of the interplay between our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Western medicine is beginning to incorporate more of a holistic approach to health and wellness, but it may not be changing quickly enough. Taking your health into your own hands can be empowering. For me, I have found that living a holistic lifestyle is an important and lifelong journey - not a destination.
For most of my life, I trusted my primary care physicians to know what was best for me. However, when I endured traumatic events in my own life, I had to search for answers my primary care physicians could not provide. This search was the beginning of my journey into learning more about how I could take a holistic approach to my physical, mental, and even spiritual health.
Pursuing a lifestyle committed to holistic health has given me a newfound peace of mind. Through my own journey I have found that when we seek perfection, we can damage our mental health, and that balance we search for can be knocked off kilter. I am careful to be patient and gentle with myself as I make changes that I know will benefit me in the long term.
Personal experience often motivates us to learn more about our bodies and how we can heal from illness or stress and trauma. For myself, I wanted to uncover ways to evolve beyond my negative habits and patterns that were causing me stress and burnout.
Holistic health encompasses not only good nutrition, but a balanced way of living that includes our mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Spiritual wellness needn’t be tied to religion, or even God, although it can be. Spiritual wellness from this perspective can be seen by some authors and researchers as a way to derive meaning from life’s inherent struggles.
As Richard Dawkins puts it in his book Unweaving the Rainbow
, humans have an "appetite for wonder," an appetite for evoking the positive emotional states that are linked to our deepest existential questions.
Spirituality means feeling significance as a human, a unity with nature and others. It signifies awe in our existence, the right to feel joy, acceptance. This lends itself to a sense of consolation in hard times.
I found that developing a spiritual practice strengthened my mental health, which in turn gave me the strength and self-belief I needed to improve my physical health.