In life, we have to look at the bigger picture. We often get blindsided because we focus too much on what’s right in front of us, not seeing the bigger picture.
When it comes to your mental wellness, looking at the bigger picture means taking a holistic approach to mental health. It’s not just about what you’re thinking or feeling, but physical, social, and spiritual health must also be prioritized.
In mental health, putting together these small puzzle pieces into one big picture is taking care of your mind, body, and soul. These three are connected and should be prioritized for one goal: to become a whole person.
Therapy, counseling, and medication are essential for mental health recovery, but it doesn’t end here. A healthy lifestyle, sound mind, and spiritual health are imperative as well.
The Mind, Body, and Soul
The holistic approach to mental health integrates the mind, body, and soul. Mental health is a complex process to understand. You can’t sit in one therapy session with a counselor and expect to have it all figured out. It takes many factors of the mind, body, and soul to explore a pathway to recovery.
A key indicator of a sound mind is having calm, positive, and worry-free thoughts. A sound mind does not just happen overnight; it’s an ongoing process. Today you may be happy, but tomorrow it may be different because something terrible happens.
When you have a sound mind, everything falls into place. You have the motivation to stay fit, you’re in a good mood to socialize, and you can concentrate well at work.
The mind and body function in symbiosis, which means they always affect each other. Most mental health problems have risk factors related to biological factors.
For example, hormone imbalances can cause postpartum depression, or chemical imbalances in the brain may lead to schizophrenia. Even substance abuse, which leads to a euphoric state, can affect a person’s mental well-being.
A person who does not feel confident about their body image may develop eating disorders or feel depressed. Not having that voluptuous body may affect their self-esteem, which may affect their mental health.
Also, any physical abuse can significantly affect the mental health of any person. The state of the body and mind will always go hand in hand.
Spirituality is a concept that goes beyond a person’s religious and spiritual beliefs. It’s the sense of connection to something bigger, having faith even during the darkest days.
It’s all about finding your life’s purpose. It’s the search for the purpose of your existence and your journey toward self-actualization.
The holistic approach to spiritual wellness includes loving yourself even with your flaws. Spirituality is about finding emotional peace despite all the negative energy around you. These are crucial to having optimum mental well-being.
How a Holistic Approach Positively Impacts Mental Health
There is evidence that taking a more holistic approach to mental health is effective in reducing stress. We all know that stress is one of the worst culprits behind mental illness. But by learning how to take control of distress with a holistic approach, you will reap the benefits of a calm and relaxed mindset and overall improved mental health.
When the holistic approach is combined with therapy, improved mental well-being is guaranteed. This type of approach fosters the mind, body, and soul connection.
The Benefits of a Holistic Approach to Mental Wellness
The holistic approach to mental health is a pathway to healing. If you prepare your mind, body, and soul for whatever difficult circumstance life may throw at you, you will heal faster and be healthier than others.
You can train your mind to avoid negative thoughts that may cause you distress. Having holistic health is a better healing process to have a strong mind, body, and soul than just taking drugs to improve mental health.
2. Detection and Prevention of Mental Health Issues
You can easily detect and avoid mental health issues if you have trained your mind, body, and soul to be in sync with each other.
Are you feeling too tired for many days now for no apparent reason? Maybe you’re feeling blue. Do you have problems concentrating on school work? Maybe something is bothering you. Do you feel like not hanging out with your friends? Then you could be suffering from burnout.
If you know how to take care of your health holistically, you will know there’s something wrong with you’re feeling. This is because you are aware of your feelings and actions, which means you can avoid and detect mental illness at its outset.
3. Stress Reduction
The holistic approach to mental health can be beneficial in reducing stress. When you can handle stress on your own, you can handle any kind of stress with methods you can do at home or wherever you may be.
For instance, if you’re getting too stressed at work, you already know what you can do to cope with it, like going out for a bike ride or taking a break to watch a funny or uplifting video.
4. Postive Lifestyle Modification
When you practice a holistic approach to mental health, you do this as a part of your lifestyle. You know that exercising is good for your mental health, so you do it. You know that eating healthy foods can improve your mood, so you take the time to plan and prepare your meals.
If you feel good with these holistic practices, you make it your lifestyle. As a result, you will live a productive and happy life.
Holistic Activities and Their Advantages
Now that you know the benefits of a holistic approach to mental health, what do you do? What are the steps you should take?
Along with mental health treatment or therapy, there are other alternatives you can do to improve your mental health. The first step to achieving holistic health is increasing your awareness of practices to incorporate into your routine, such as:
Exercise is a great way to avoid mental health conditions. Besides taking care of your physical health through exercise, you can also avoid mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and negative mood. Regular exercise can improve self-esteem, boost confidence, and improve sleeping patterns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults should exercise regularly. The goal is to complete 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise in one week. That is equivalent to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Examples of moderate-intensity activities are brisk walking, swimming, riding a bike, dancing, hiking, or even mowing the lawn.
Yoga is an excellent activity to care for your holistic health. Yoga is combined with physical activity, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness meditations that aim for mind, body, and soul health. Incorporating yoga poses, meditation, breathwork, and guided imagery increases self-awareness, strengthens the mind-body connection, improves physical flexibility, and even promotes mental healing.
There are many types of yoga techniques, each with a different purpose. For example. Hatha yoga targets physical and mental wellness. Karma yoga aims to free a person from negative emotions and thoughts. Jnana yoga’s objective is to increase intellectual wellness and wisdom.
Meditation is a popular holistic approach to emotional, spiritual, and mental health. Meditation is seen to lower stress levels, increase a person’s self-awareness, improve concentration, fight mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and prevent substance abuse.
You can listen to guided meditations, sit n a quiet corner at home, and not think about anything but focus on your breathing and positive affirmations.
When you stick to a healthy diet, you take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.
They say you are what you eat and drink. Have you ever gone binge eating junk foods the whole day and suddenly felt very crappy? You have the oxidants and chemicals in junk food to thank for this.
But when you eat nutritious foods, you look and feel good. Healthy foods can help improve your focus and mood. Eat foods that can enhance your mental health like nuts, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, pasta, whole grain bread, and seeds.
5. Nature Therapy
Spending more time outdoors and in nature is proven to be beneficial for holistic health. Ecotherapy, which involves doing activities in nature, helps alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Biking outdoors, for instance, is a good form of exercise. Breathing the fresh air and appreciating the view is like a reset for your mind. One study shows that 120 minutes of nature exposure per week is great for overall health.
6. Music Therapy
Music therapy for holistic health uses music to express creativity, heal from traumas, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Research shows that music is a medium to process trauma, emotions, and grief.
Learn the Holistic Approach to Mental Health with the Help of a Therapist
If you want to start your path to finding holistic health to mental health, you can benefit from talking to a therapist or counselor. Sometimes it’s hard to jumpstart this journey without the proper guidance. If your schedule is too busy to visit a therapist, there are online therapists you can talk to.
If you’re from Kentucky or Ohio and would like to talk to a mental health professional, Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) is here to help you. With just a few clicks, you can schedule an online therapy session. KCC can help you jumpstart your journey in attaining holistic health.