Holistic Living – Can It Improve Your Mental Health?
Have you ever heard of holistic living? Most of our clients haven’t which is why we love to educate them on how living a holistic lifestyle can have a profound impact on their physical and their mental health. When we first get a call or an email from someone with a psychological problem they spend ages talking about what they think is their presenting problem. This might be having panic attacks, feeling anxiety or experiencing problems sleeping. What they don’t initially think to tell us about is everything else going on in their life.
People really just want us to deal with the one area which is causing them the problem. What they don’t understand it that how we feel will depend on a multitude of factors. If these are off balance then it can cause psychological problems. Our job is to show them that by looking at the bigger picture they can make a profound positive impact on their well-being.
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What exactly does holistic mean? Well in psychological terms it means looking at the whole rather than just the individual parts. Where your psychological health is concerned yes we need to look at mental health issues but we also have to look at social factors as well. Treating just the symptoms is often not enough to see a significant change without looking at everything else going on as well.
To illustrate this imagine that a person came into our clinics and asked for help with anxiety. If we didn’t ask them about what else was going on in the life we would probably work on stress reduction and hope that was sufficient to reduce the problem. If there was no change we would assume that therapy hadn’t worked and so we would send them elsewhere for help.
Now let’s look at what we do in reality. We ask extensive questions in our intake assessment and find out that they have been having problems sleeping, they have also been working 14 hours a day and like to go out late at the weekend and drink too much. This questioning and looking at the whole starts to give us the bigger picture. Stress reduction won’t solve anxiety if the person still chooses to work 14 hour days and drinks. We need to help our client embrace holistic living and start to change other parts of their life as well as working on stress reduction. When a holistic lifestyle is adopted the anxiety starts to melt away.
If you want to look after your mental and physical health then it is so important to live a holistic lifestyle. That means breaking down aspects of your life and creating a better balance in all the constituent parts. You don’t have to aim for perfectionism but you should try and make sure that all areas of your life are operating in the top say 80% of where they should be. If one area does get out of balance it can be easy for it to knock all the others out of place as well.
For example, if your sleep is not working well then this can cause knock-on problems elsewhere. You start to become irritable and tired, your anxiety and stress levels rise and you don’t perform at your best. As you are lacking energy you may start to eat more sugary foods and put on weight. Then at night, you might start drinking more to try and switch off your mind. This gives you the worst kind of sleep which causes more problems and on and on it goes. That one issue with your sleep has now caused a big problem in four or five other areas of your life.
Holistic Approach to Health
If you want to embrace holistic living then where should you start? Here are some areas which you need to look at if you are going to take a holistic approach to your physical and mental health.
Exercise – In order to keep your body in the best condition it can be in you need to make sure you move it regularly. That means taking walks, going on bike rides, heading to the gym, swimming, dancing and so on. You don’t need to overdo it but you do need to try and keep your body working as well as you can. Exercise is a proven way of reducing mental health problems.
Food – Feed your body feed your mind as the saying goes. Fill yourself with fatty, processed junk food and it is going to have an impact on how you feel. You are going to put on weight, feel tired and sluggish and generally not feel at your best. If you eat fresh ingredients and cook your meals from scratch you are going to feel more energetic and the weight won’t go on so easily.
Stress Levels – Too much of the wrong kinds of stress isn’t good for you full stop. Making sure you find time to down tools and relax is essential for your mental well-being. The easiest way to switch off is with our self-hypnosis for relaxation and stress reduction download.
Sleep – An average adult needs somewhere between 7 to 9 hours sleep a night but many people try to survive on much less than that especially during their working week. Getting a good nights sleep is essential for holistic living as when you are not sleeping well it can impact so many other areas in your life.
Social Media Usage – Although a relatively recent phenomenon more and more people are spending way too much time on social media. Apart from issues with screens creating problems with our sleep patterns, it can also have an impact on your mental well-being. When we look at others supposedly glamourous lifestyles ours may not seem to match up causing feelings of jealousy, anxiety and depression. Then there are the trolls who make vicious comments deliberately designed to hurt you. Limiting social media usage is important in a holistic lifestyle.
Work – Work plays a huge part in our lives so it is important to find a job that you love otherwise every day heading to your job is going to make you feel miserable. Work is important of course but never allow it to take up every waking hour of your day. You need to have a work/life balance.
Social Life – Meeting good friends and having a laugh can do wonders for your mental health. Having people who are supportive, caring and make you smile makes a big difference in how you feel.
Emotions – Holistic living means that you need to listen to your emotional needs. If you are feeling angry then you need to find a way to resolve the feeling. If you are feeling sad then what can you do to help yourself feel happier. When you choose to ignore the emotional side of your character it causes anxiety, depression and mental health issues.
Alcohol and Drugs – If you are drinking too much or using drugs to make yourself feel better then you are simply putting a sticking plaster over your problems. These are used as a coping mechanism for deeper emotional issues. Seek help if you find it difficult to curb a lifestyle where you are using these regularly. They never help in the long term whereas therapy or psychological support can make a big difference.
Finding a Purpose – Don’t ignore your spiritual side. Finding a purpose in life can make a big difference in how you feel. This doesn’t have to be related to religion just simply finding a way in life that makes your spirit soar. Giving back to your local community, helping save the planet, looking after animals. Find something that hits the spot to make yourself feel better.
Holistic Wellness and Therapy
As you can see holistic wellness does not have to be about living a new age hippy lifestyle. It simply means taking care of all parts of your lifestyle to make sure that you are working at your absolute best. Now, of course, that is easier said than done for many people. We all struggle with certain areas in our lives and might need help to bring back that wonderful feeling of balance. This is where a good therapist can be worth their weight in gold. They don’t just help you with the symptoms they look at every aspect of your life and ask you whether it is working for you or not. If it isn’t then they help you to facilitate positive change.
At Rewire the Mind we help our clients to see the bigger picture. When you can see how your life is impacted by so many other factors it becomes easier to work on yourself. The amazing thing is that when you do this the symptoms from your original problem start to disappear and other changes might start to happen as well. Many of our clients have discovered that changing one small thing created big changes in other areas.
Do you need help to embrace holistic living or want to make changes in your life? If so we work with clients to help them address the problems that are having been bothering them for far too long. Simply contact us at the form below for details of our bespoke programs to help get the most out of life.
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