WHOLE HEALTH WELLESS
And Why It’s Important
You know that mind/body connection people talk about? There’s more to it than you may think. It goes beyond taking a yoga class and becoming one with the universe. It’s actually directly tied to your overall health and your body’s ability to heal itself.
If you listen, your body will tell you what it needs. At first it’s a very gentle nudge that comes in the form of minor discomforts. However, if those nudges are ignored for too long, your body will start to scream at you. Chronic pain, depression, and other issues may become a part of your life and you may think you just have to deal with them, but those things are the result of a larger issue within the body. While most doctors tend to treat the symptoms with prescriptions, there has been a distinctive shift toward whole health wellness to both prevent illness and treat the entire human rather than just the symptom.
What is Whole Health Wellness?
Simply put, whole health wellness focuses on mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. The belief is that when these are aligned, you are living your truth and your body is able to function the way it’s meant to. Conventional medicine tends to ignore the whole health aspect and focuses more on the physical symptoms offering medication to manage your discomfort, but the holistic approach encourages you to focus on your entire life and find the root of the issue.
To quote doctor turned whole health educator, Lissa Rankin, M.D., “When your life choices align with the soul’s truth and integrity, your body exits the “fight or flight” state that results from betraying the soul’s truth, and the nervous system reverts to the homeostatic parasympathetic state, or the “relaxation response,” and the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms are optimized, facilitating self-repair.”
In other words, whole health encompasses not only holistic health but also mental, emotional and spiritual health. All areas of your life should be in alignment. This is a prerequisite for optimal health.
The Pillars of Whole Health Wellness
It’s time to get your mind right! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the mind is linked to the heart and it controls the Shen (spirit/mind). If your Shen is healthy, it is said that your eyes will be bright and clear, but if it’s not, your eyes will be dull and cloudy. So, there’s no hiding it if your Shen is off balance.
Keeping the mind in a healthy state can be challenging at times. Especially on the days where every outfit looks terrible and Starbucks somehow lost your mobile order. A solid approach to managing stress is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Instead of scrolling through Insta while lying in bed in the am, take five minutes to think about what you’re thankful for. We often spend so much time figuring out how to deal with the negative, we forget to be thankful for the positive. If you start your day by focusing on being present and quieting your mind, your stress can and will decrease. With numerous apps, mobile meditation units, and meet up groups in almost every city, try out a few options to see what meditation type and style works best for you.
I’m sure we’d all love to do a job that we can’t wait to get to each day. While some people really are that lucky, for others work might be a source of frustration. If you find you’re dreading going to work each day, look for ways in which you can derive personal benefit. Mentor a younger teammate, organize a company volunteer day, or if it’s really bad, you contribute to “company morale” by setting up a weekly cocktail hour. Whatever you do, take a positive perspective, try to leave your work at the office, and make sure you leave time and mental energy for your friends, family, and hobbies.
Have you ever heard of the term “shadow artist?” It’s when someone has believed that they aren’t creative enough for the career they really want, so they choose a career that is close to the life they would like to have themselves, but are afraid to actually pursue. Essentially, they sell themselves short and live in the shadows rather than delving deeply into their creative self.
Creativity is a need most of us feel, and while our daily lives might get in the way of exploring that, a great place to start is to journaling each morning. If that doesn’t jive with your version of creativity, other options are sculpting, sketching, and painting. The good news is, even if it’s terrible, it will likely be fun and you’ll get a good laugh out of it. The likelihood is, however, if you try enough, you’ll find something you’d like to do more of and those creative juices will be flowing in no time.
Oooh la la! Let’s talk about sexy time! Relationships are a lot of fun (when they’re with the right person). Especially the sex part (also, once again with the right person). Oh and let’s not forget about the health benefits. Sex releases the feel good hormone oxytocin along with stress busting endorphins. Now that’s a cocktail for good health!
On the other hand, sometimes low libido can literally be killing the vibe.This is not only uber-frustrating for both partners, it can challenge intimacy and be demoralizing. Needless to say, this can have a really negative impact on your life. Good news though, if you’re struggling with a low libido, acupuncture has been shown to increase your blood flow and qi which can get you back up to speed in no time.
Staying physically active doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to give your body some physical exertion each day. That can be as simple as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood, hopping into a dance class or doing something more focused like Tai Chi.
If you’re finding it difficult to motivate yourself, start small. Pick a new coffee shop a bit further away and walk to it. If walking up the stairs seems like a stretch, start with just walking down them. You’ll find that one day, you’ll be walking up the stairs, too.
Getting in tune with yourself and the “universe” can prove to be one of the most calming gifts you can give yourself. It expands your belief that good things are meant for you and can reduce stress. It’s an act of trust. When you get focused on finding yourself on a deep level, you can more easily tune out unwanted noise. Distracting opinions are easier to let go of, while like minded individuals will amplify your shared interest. That community creates a sense of belonging which can drastically improve the quality of your life. It also offers support that you may or may not find within your family unit.
Did you know that 30% of Americans are constantly worried about finances and 43% say that “unexpected expenses” is their biggest concern? Ouch! That’s a lot of people concerned about money. When your financial house is in order, stress over how you’re going to keep your rent or your light bill paid doesn’t exist. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Being financially sound won’t solve all of life’s challenges, but it sure does help to create a sense of security and peace that gives you a better night of sleep.
Whatever lifestyle you choose, it’s important to do work that allows you to maintain it so you aren’t over extending yourself. Don’t be afraid to cut back on frivolous spending or non essentials until you can save up 3 to 6 months of living expenses. You’d be amazed at just how calming it is to have enough money in the bank to cover life’s little hiccups.
The environment in which you surround yourself has an impact on your overall health.. Depending on the area you live in, smog, traffic, and other environmental conditions can play a big role in your health and wellness. Noisy neighbors may keep you up at night or you could be dealing with a roommate that just doesn’t understand what privacy means.
Take a look around and note what is less than ideal. Work towards eliminating what you can and accepting that which you can’t. Prioritize the positives, take some time for yourself, and aim for balance above all.