According to the World Health Organization, 60-80% of the world’s population uses a holistic lifestyle as the primary method of health care. Holistic health care can be defined as combined and harmonious wellness of body, mind, and soul. This is a different and ancient approach to life. This approach believes that the parts of any whole cannot be considered independently from the others. If there is an imbalance in life (physical, mental or spiritual), it may negatively affect the overall health.
Let us understand what are the aspects of a holistic approach and its importance:
Our physical health is easier to track because the signs and symptoms are visible. When it comes to supporting our physical health, there are a few key practices that should be kept in mind and which can only benefit the person. They are :
1. Allow your body to rest and repair. For this, a person requires a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
2. Maintain a balanced diet. Eating healthy food full of nutrition is very important.
3. Do not leave your body idol for very long. Engage in a little amount of physical activity every few hours.
4. Avoid smoking and excessive intake of alcohol.
Mental health overlaps physical health. It refers to mental activities and how they affect our brain and its functions. Ways to support our mental health are:
1. Always keep your mind active by looking for new opportunities to learn and acquire knowledge.
2. Eat nutritious food filled with antioxidants to support cognitive functions.
Spiritual health does not mean becoming religious. Spiritual health is focusing on your inner body, connecting with your soul and the greater world around us. Some ways to maintain spiritual health are:
1. Connect with your natural surrounding by spending more time in nature.
2. Spend little time on meditation and clear your mind for a refreshing start.
Some holistic activities that can be used to our advantage are:
Yoga is not only a set of physical exercises, it is a form of holistic science that is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It is a science that has its origins in India but has been used by the whole world as a means of connecting with their spirit. This practice promotes self-awareness while also connecting the mind. It gives a sense of calmness and relaxation and is a great way of improving mind-body interconnectivity.
Meditation helps a great deal in altering the psychological response of the body by creating self-control of the mind and annulling the negative influences. It enables a sense of calm and empowers a person to deal with stressful challenges daily with a sense of positivity. Meditation also secretes healthy hormones such as endorphins in the body which help in disconnecting from the pain.
When thinking about health, what comes to mind first, is physical health. This is because more often than not, it is the body that clearly shows signs and symptoms that feel more abstract. Working out daily can offer many health benefits, both mental and physical. It boosts concentration, thus improving sleep quality and keeps you distracted from negative thoughts and worries.
Eating fresh, healthy, and nutritional food often contributes to improved brain health and mood. It is important to eat whole grain food and vegetables to keep a balanced body and mind. Some supplements like vitamins, herbs, and enzymes are commonly used.
Each person has a path of healing that is different from the others because it depends on their experiences which are influenced by their age, gender, culture, location, and beliefs. Let us understand the importance of a holistic lifestyle with the help of an example.
Recently I came across a woman in her 30’s who was suffering from diabetes. The other aspects of her health were fine but because of stress at work, her condition wasn’t improving she was suffering from borderline depression and anxiety. Taking medication was not a solution for her. This is where she came across a holistic wellness center. Here, instead of allotting medication to her, they advised her to do something completely different. They told her to take a break from her work life and move to an area where she will be closer to nature that will help her relax her mind. They organized for her to attend a yogic retreat. In the few days of the retreat, she practiced yoga, ate a balanced diet that yogis follow, and spent her idol time taking long walks. At the end of the retreat, she learned that her sugar levels were close to normal and her depression and anxiety were almost gone. She connected with her soul and got a sense of calmness.
In the last few years, 5-7% of the general population has been seen to suffer from psychosomatic disorders. People with this condition do not report overt symptoms of distress and believe that the reason behind their illness is a medical condition. Their problems are usually caused by chaotic lifestyles or other psychological problems like depression or anxiety. Holistic health care is the perfect solution to their problems. Once the mind, body, and soul are connected, they will feel more relaxed and stress-free.
Over the years, holistic health care has become the center of several kinds of research as a therapeutic and non-pharmaceutical approach for modern diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Yoga and nutrition have played a very important role in this. The yogic lifestyle and practices are meant to help humans strengthen themselves and to enable them to withstand stressful situations with positivity. Physical activities or yogic asanas like Surya Namaskar, kriyas, and mudras are an integral part of adapting to the yogic lifestyle.
Integrating a holistic approach to your lifestyle for the long term will focus on your wellness and bring positivity to your life. Without the balance of mental and physical state, the body will not be able to run at its full potential. The holistic lifestyle ensures that all aspects of your body are at their optimum level which will lead to better functionality, a happier mindset, and fuller life.