It is not a matter of just preventing disease – you have to learn to Thrive!
When you start throwing around words like holistic and wellness some people back off thinking things are going to get a little weird or that maybe some extra-terrestrial being is going to enter their body and change them forever.
Don’t worry…..it is nothing sinister like that at all.
Let me explain…………..
Wellness (dictionary.com): noun.
1. The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort and
2. An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
It is a well-balanced blend of physical, mental, and even spiritual well-being that results in living the highest quality of life possible.
For a more in-depth study why not take a look at these 5 Basic Critical Daily Wellness Habits.
So What Is a Holistic Approach to Health?
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that takes the entire person into account.
Holism is based on the idea of the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts, so that all the elements that make 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 unbalanced.
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 well-being with the purpose of promoting good health, is much more effective than waiting to get sick and treating the condition.
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 un-wellness by 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 Health and Wellness
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 huge amount of your precious 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 fitness 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:
1. Regular Physical Activity
There are many health giving benefits from engaging in regular moderate exercise.
This can be derived from cardiovascular type exercises like walking, running, swimming, or cycling or weight-bearing exercises like lifting free weights and using pin-weighted machines at your local gym.
Research has consistently shown that, by engaging in regular exercise, you can decrease your chances of suffering from many lifestyle diseases such as 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.
It is well documented that exercise can also 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.
And here is something else about exercise you will be interested to find out about: Evidence Reveals 5 Easy Ways You Can Gain an Extra 7.2 Years in Life Expectancy.
2. 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 worldwide 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. It is just another reason why exercise is vital in preventing serious health issues in old age.
3. 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 with 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.
4. Quit Smoking (I am amazed some people still choose to smoke)
If you are not a smoker, then don’t start.
Smoking is a highly addictive behavior that traps those who 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.
I often look around at others and ask myself this question; why does it take a heart attack to change your lifestyle habits?
5. Stay Social – especially as you Age
People who isolate themselves have worse health than those who spend time with friends and loved ones.
It can be as simple as taking some time out 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 well-being, and when you feel good your body thrives, it’s really as simple as that.
Your Everyday Activities are Important.
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: self-care.
So make some time to look after yourself……..some good old me-time! In other words, how is your work – life balance going for you?
7. Stop and think for a moment, can you identify what your true needs are right at this moment?
Perhaps, you are so exhausted 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-away that you wolfed down while rushing from job 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 well-being.
Need a bit of help with that? Here’s 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Wellness.
The Time is NOW – 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 affect the body, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety that upset the mind and your emotional health.
Taking care of your emotional well-being 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 well-being.
These activities and others, like simply taking a walk in nature or sitting on a quiet beach watching the waves roll in calm the mind, and detract it from the very hectic and overly stimulating modern world of flashing lights, loud noise and the ever present smartphone.
8. A calm mind supports a healthy body; it’s really that simple.
It’s time for some emotional first-aid.
Taking time to relax, and deep breathing exercises further support well-being helping to decrease the impact stress has on our health.
This might also help: 4 Easy Ways to Listen to Your Body for Better Health.
9. Positive Relationships
Everything we do in life affects our well-being and relationships are no small consideration. Do your relationships fulfill you, uplift you, and support you? Or, is your life filled with toxic friends?
Help is always available to identify the problems and resolve them so that family, romantic, and platonic relationships support you to thrive. If you think you need some help then ask. Don’t let things get out of hand as it then much harder to get back on track.
Good luck with your journey…..and remember…..everyone deserves to have good health so please Like and Share.
Here’s to your future good health – John – your active ageing advocate.