To practice holistic health is to appreciate that the different aspects of your being are all interconnected and hold equal weights with respect to the health of the whole. As a human being we operate on different levels: spirit/emotional, mental and physical; and to nourish ourselves wholly we need to maintain equilibrium between these three things and feed each aspect equally.
We feed our minds with challenges, stepping outside our comfort zone, facing fears, learning, and developing new skills.
We feed our spirit/emotional being with love, appreciation, acceptance, relationships and meditation/practicing a low-stress lifestyle.
And we feed our body‘s with the right nutrition, exercise, practicing good posture, awareness and care.
To practice holistic health is logical, sensible and completely rational. A lot of people rely too heavily on a quick fix in the form of medication or an operation and believe that they can take a back seat with regards to improving their own health, however there is an increasing body of research which gives evidence in favour of the holistic approach and confirms the power and influence of the mind and the thoughts you choose.
Anyone heard of the Placebo Effect?
An example of this is the placebo effect. Joe Dispenza’s new book is a compilation of amazing research that has been done, proving the effects of mind over matter. Still don’t believe? Give it a read. The take home message is that if your brain perceives something as true, that will set in motion a domino effect of physiological changes within the body that creates that particular outcome, basically, anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Maintain the health of your mind and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Stress feels emotional, but it actually causes damage within your body and changes gene transcription.
Did you know that stress is a carcinogen? The hormone cortisol which, when released in excess in response to stress, can have serious detrimental effects on your brain and body. It has the power to alter gene expression and can lead to mental illness and cancer. Practice, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercise… pretty much anything that will provide a physical release of cortisol, and work on your thought patterns to lower your initial stress reaction.
Preventative medicine is the best form of medicine.
The obvious one is of course your physical health: eat your 7 a day, get 2 and a half hours exercise a week, sounds pretty government issue doesn’t it? But actually there’s so much more we don’t know. My uncle has pancreatic cancer and his surgeon told him that endocrine (hormone) cancer is hugely on the rise and it’s because of all the hormones in the meat and dairy that we eat! There are so many foods that you’ve been tricked into thinking are good for you when they’re not. Take ‘low fat’ for example; this is pretty much code for ‘replaced with even more unhealthy sugar’ or ‘pumped full of artificial sugars/chemicals’. Company’s are legally allowed to bump up the price of their product for every health benefit they list on their packet when half of the time they don’t make a difference because the vitamin isn’t in the right form to allow it to be absorbed by the body or it’s missing a vital ingredient the body needs in order to metabolise it. Sugar has been proven to be almost as addictive as cocaine! Our body isn’t designed to process Westernised fake food.
In order to live a healthy lifestyle you must practice mindfulness, and in being aware of the health of these different parts of you, you can nourish each one equally. Become mindful of your thoughts, choose the positive perspective. It’s hard because we’ve spent a lifetime being conditioned to see the negative and view ourselves badly, but positive thinking is a habit that you can form, and the more you practice it the easier it gets. Become mindful of your body and pay attention when it’s trying to tell you something! Aches and pains, diarrhoea, headaches… there’s a reason for it all and it’s unique to each of us. Does it happen when you eat a particular food? Face a stressful situation? Talk to a certain person?
Once you understand the language of your body you can tweak your lifestyle to become the best version of you there is. And finally, your spirit. Love and appreciation are the biggest gifts you can give to this world and those around you.