A Holistic Approach to Health Includes:
Well-being of mind, body, emotions and spirit
Developing healthy relationships: family, colleagues, friends and social interactions
A healthy lifestyle; nutrition, exercise, life balance, happiness
Development of personal and spiritual awareness
Learning life skills to make life flow well; finances, communication, alignment with life purpose
Respecting yourself and other people as equals
Using products, remedies, and therapies which support natural healing
Learning life skills, behaviours and actions which support your well-being
The Impact of Mind-Body Interaction on Health
The view that we hold toward mind-body interaction is fundamental in how we approach health. When mind and body are seen as separate substances, material and immaterial, the result is a division of interventions into different categories. So, on one hand we have people who help the health of the mind; psychologists, psychiatrists. On the other hand we have people who deal with physical substances, which are usually further divided into smaller categories; cells, nerves, organs, body systems etc. Whilst a purely physical approach works very well for acute illness, biological issues and infections, it is limited for chronic illness or complex conditions, which have multi-dimensional causality.
We begin to see the limitations of attempting categorisation of symptoms into mind or body when we consider issues like chronic pain or fatigue. If we think about the experience of these symptoms, we realise that they are neither wholly physical nor entirely psychological in nature.
The same principle applies to emotions; most stress that we experience in modern life is closely linked to emotion. But emotion is neither purely physical, nor mental in nature. When we examine this more closely we find that emotions are comprised of sensations or feelings in the body, associated cellular changes, and usually a thought which is directly attached to the emotion. In turn, this thought often correlates to a belief which hold about an experience we are having.
When we consider chronic illnesses we notice a similar pattern. Chronic illness contains elements of physical changes, mental thoughts and emotions. These are influenced by our beliefs. And our beliefs are influenced by our family, culture and conditioning.
So if we want to improve our health and well-being it is imperative to consider all these aspects: mind, emotions, social conditioning, physical symptoms, plus our thoughts and beliefs. This is a holistic approach to health.
- Person viewed as a unified being who contains inextricably linked aspects; mind, body, emotions and spirit
- Individual is also linked to their environment and shares a two-way, constant, interaction with it through thoughts, emotions, and actions
- Relationships with other people and situations hold great importance because of the inter-dependent nature of existence, and it's effects upon wellness
- It is not viable to experience thoughts, emotions, or actions, without also involving other body systems
- Lifestyle factors like nutrition, exercise and relaxation hold greater significance because of their impact upon the entire person, and their preventative actions on developing ill health
- Higher value on subjective experience and spiritual component, with less requirement for external validation
- Person viewed as comprising of separate substances: mind, body, and systems, which are treated as individual speciality areas for healthcare
- Less value placed upon the extent to which body systems are part of an entire, whole, human being, resulting in a reductionist approach to health
- Materialist-based system which views people as separate physical individuals, living within a dualist world
- Since physical health is deemed as existing independently, experiences like thought, interaction with environment, and emotional have lower value rating
- Excellent at resolving physical-based acute health issues, but lower success with recovery from chronic illness
- Priority on scientific theory and empirical data collection, with lower value on self responsibility, subjective experience, personal and spiritual connection
Aspects of Well-Being:
Troublesome thoughts are perhaps the most common source of problems when it comes to well-being. Fear-based thinking may arise from an overactive mind, or can be triggered by certain life situations and previous trauma. If we lack clarity of mind we can find ourselves in unhelpful behaviour patterns. Our thoughts influence our happiness and success in life, and the extent to which we can overcome limiting beliefs. Mindful awareness or meditation can be highly beneficial for understanding and calming the mind.
Physical ailments like pain, fatigue, digestive or cardiovascular problems can cause a great deal of suffering for anyone who experiences them. If symptoms are severe, they can affect mobility, work, relationships, mental and emotional wellness as well. Fortunately, there are multiple ways of controlling symptoms; the use of therapies such as massage or acupuncture can help with pain and mobility. Nutritional therapies can calm inflammatory disorders, IBS, pain and fatigue. Yoga or similar therapies can help with relaxation, mobility, and energy levels.
Emotions can seem uncontrollable when we are in the midst of a particularly challenging life situation, or dealing with a difficult person. We can begin to change our relationship and understanding of our emotions by examining them in more detail, learning to recognise why reactions occur, and allowing stored emotional tension to be fully released over a period of time. The nature of emotions is that they contain sensations or feelings in the body, combined with specific thought patterns. With this insight comes emotional freedom.
There is no single definition of spirituality; each one of us creates our own interpretation of meaning according to our life experience, beliefs and values. So when we discuss spiritual development, it is important to focus on what this means for you, rather than attempting to find a particular external experience. Spiritual wellness includes a wide range of things for different people; it can refer to understanding the deeper nature of life, who we are, our life purpose, and connection to the world around us.
Steps to Improving Health
So, considering that health and well-being is influenced by all of our life experiences, not only physical issues, here are a few areas which can improve your personal well-being:
- How you interpret and react to the experiences of your life
- Developing healthy relationships: partner, family, friends, work colleagues
- Fully releasing past trauma or stress, and establishing new coping skills
- Developing your level of self-awareness and insight
- Aligning your work and career with your life purpose
- Practising healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise, social activity, health-promoting behaviours
- Authenticity which is congruent with your core beliefs and values
- Developing ability to deal with difficult situations; conflict, assertiveness, life skills
- Resolving spiritual seeking: insight, wisdom and awakening
- Living your life to its fullest potential
For each of these areas, and any others that you identify as problematic, it can be helpful to reflect upon their origins, how they are impacting your life, and to identify what steps you need to take in order to improve your current experience. One one the most common problems in developing self-awareness is that as we grow up, whatever we experience in life is completely normal to us. Whilst we know theoretically what we would like to improve in our lives, we don't quite manage to achieve it. This is usually because we have hidden patterns of thoughts or behaviour which are preventing our success. Coaching can be particularly helpful with this. Coaching also provides personal support, clarity, insight, focus and practical guidance.
Health and Well-Being Coaching
One-to-one coaching provides:
- Objective, non-judgemental, insight into your situation
- Professional support, expertise, plus step-by-step guidance specifically designed for you
- Exercises and actions for you to complete to help you reach your well-being goals
- Personal action plan to help you move beyond your current experience
- Insight, clarity, and practical solutions for your specific circumstances