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Holistic Approach to Wellness

Body and Mind: The Holistic Approach to Wellness

We humans have powerful minds, and powerful bodies, and the relationship between the two is stronger than many people think. Having a healthy mind will help keep your body healthy, and vice-versa. Many of us lead stressful, busy lives, and find it difficult to keep our minds and bodies healthy. We often lead sedentary lives, going from desk, to car, to couch every day. Lack of time, cooking skills and knowledge can mean that we eat a damaging diet. Urban life exposes us to toxic chemicals everywhere we go. All these things can help contribute to both physical and mental health problems, and they in turn contribute to each other.

If you tend to find that you are tired, grumpy and lacking in energy, and prone to minor illnesses and aches and pains, then you probably already know that you need to change your lifestyle. How do you do this? You make body and mind wellness your goal.

Wellness

Wellness is about more than just not being ill: it is about managing your body and mind so that they work for you, not against you. A key part of the wellness concept is recognition that the body and mind are not separate, and that healthiness in one can help promote healthiness in the other. This is partly a general connection: if you feel physically ill, your emotional health will be affected, and that in turn may make you feel more ill.

However, there are also some very specific connections between physical and mental functioning. For example, scientists know that half of the neurotransmitter function in the brain is actually made in the gut: so eating the right food has a direct link with cognitive function. Poor emotional health could even be a risk factor for developing cancer: a study carried out by Israeli researchers showed that women who had suffered two ‘severe life events’ were 62% more likely than other women to develop breast cancer.

It seems clear that if you do not keep your body and your mind healthy, you will not struggle to keep either of them healthy.

Taking Action

Often, it is difficult or impossible to do anything about some of the things in our lives that are causing us stress and damaging our health. Things like having to commute in busy traffic every day, working with difficult people, or having financial worries are hard to do anything about. While we cannot always change our lives easily, we can make sure that we have resilience, and resilience leads to wellness. Resilience is being physically and mentally strong and able to deal with everything life throws at us. If you are finding that even running simple errands (having to collect parcels or do some last-minute shopping) feels stressful, then you need more resilience.

Follow these practical tips to help you build your Resilience:

–          Keep active.

Our bodies are not designed to be inactive, and when we do not use our bodies enough, they begin to deteriorate. When we are sedentary, our minds are more prone to stress and depression, as we are not using our bodies as we should. Exercise sends an instant hit of glucose and oxygen into the brain, both of which it needs to function properly.

–          Understand nutrition.

Eating the right foods gives your body and brain the fuel they need to function. Having the right diet can sometimes mean being able to stop taking drugs for chronic illnesses and allergies. The best food to eat is the food that is closest to our ‘natural’ diet: plenty of fresh unprocessed whole foods, mainly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you have particular allergies or concerns about your diet, see if you can find a good nutritionist who can advise you on natural supplements.

–          Focus your mind.

Have life-goals and a sense of purpose. What is it that you feel you were put on the planet to do? If you do not know, develop your interests and find out. Taking part in yoga, meditation or tai chi can help you focus both body and mind on your goals.

–          Make social connections.

We are designed to live with and among each other: the modern pattern of living alone or in small nuclear families is not our natural state. Make time for friends and family and for your community, and you will find you feel happier and more grounded.

–          Accept change.

Life is unpredictable, so stop fighting it. Build your inner core of strength so that you can deal with change, both good and bad. Do this by regularly re-evaluating your life and understanding your own emotional responses. Change always brings loss of some kind, even when it is positive (such as having a child leading to loss of independence). It often also brings opportunity, so learn to focus on that.

No-one can guarantee that they will always be happy and healthy, but you can give yourself the best possible chance.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Excellent article Imogen! Our physical health has a large impact on our emotional, mental, and spiritual health. It is sad to read my friends posts on social media everyday as it seems that many people are losing loved ones to cancer. That is why removing toxins from the body is so important.

  • Amanda Atkinson

    I learned a lot reading this article. We have to take action now so as to not suffer in the future. Health is wealth and taking care of ourselves mean we have longer time to enjoy and continue doing the things we love the most.

    • Hello Amanda,
      Health is our greatest asset. If you have financial wealth but cannot get outside to enjoy it due to poor health, what good is the wealth doing for you?

  • Lance

    Exercise is more important to mental health than most people believe. There’s actually scientific research out there suggesting being physically active can do more for your brainpower than mind-stimulating games. Neurogenesis – the process of creating new brain cells – is shown to get a boost from exercising. Couple that with learning new things and the newly formed brain cells will join into already existing neural networks. Just toying with memory apps on your iphone won’t produce the desired effects you want if you’re not already physically active. Do a search for Justin S. Rhodes in Google News to learn more about the research. It’s very interesting.

    • Thanks for sharing this information about Neurogenesis Lance. I know from my own experience that I feel better, sleep better and have a much better appearance ever since I started working out after quitting cigarette smoking in 1998.

  • Neil

    Well thought out post. I do not necessarily agree that it is difficult or impossible to change certain aspects of our lives. It can sometimes be more difficult to make the decision to make certain changes. I refer in particular to your comment regarding commuting to and from work. Many people have made this transition and today live happy and fruitful lives.
    Neil recently posted…How chromium benefits all over healthMy Profile

  • Joy

    FYI … Sending some major blog love your way. I just passed on the Kreativ Blogger and Sunshine Award to you. You can read about it and see your site mentioned at Healthy Eating For Healthy Living Tips 🙂

    • Hello Joy,

      Will go read your blog tonight. I actually enjoy being in the kitchen and you can fix healthy meals in just a few minutes. All it takes is some planning and recipes. Thanks for coming by and please come back again!

  • Lou

    Dear Daniel

    Thanks for this post, the connection between the body and mind is something I am very aware of, but you’ve put these points in a very actionable way. I particularly like the paragraph about accepting change and examining your mental responses to things. Lou
    Lou recently posted…Maclaren Volo Baby StrollersMy Profile

  • Kora Wilis

    I agree with you, if we have a healthy body we also have a healthy mind.

  • Pete Goumas

    Hi Daniel,
    Excellent post. Our health is the essential thing for success. I believe that to enjoy good health and to bring true happiness to our family it is necessary to control our own mind focus and keeping ourself active. If we can control our mind focus then we can find the way to achieve our goal, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to us. Accepting the change is also very important to relief us from stress.
    Pete Goumas recently posted…What Is MythologyMy Profile

  • Wade

    Good post. Everything begins with a thought and nothing is impossible. Approaching your life holistically, you will be better placed to achieve all your goals.

    • Hello Wade,
      I don’t know who first said it but I believe these words: “We are what we think about”. “If I think I can or if I think I cannot, I am right.”

  • Wade

    It was Henry Ford of Ford Motors who said “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right on both occasions. 🙂

  • Pete

    Daniel, I have to say that this is a great post!

    I also believe that health is far more important than monetary gain, as cash can only prevent you from getting sicker, not promote future health. All of that comes from the drive inside.
    Pete recently posted…My First Blog Post!My Profile

    • Yes Pete. The desire to seek wellness and not just treat disease must come from within. If someone has cancer and the only thing they do is get chemotherapy for the cancer, it is only a matter of time before cancer comes roaring back stronger than ever. If the patient learns why the cancer came on in the first place, they can start to make adjustments to their lifestyle and prevent further disease and illness from setting into their system. Case in point is sugar is a fuel that cancer feeds on. If someone continues eating sugar, their cancer will return. If someone sits on the couch and drinks soft drinks all day instead of pure water, their body will become very acidic and cancer will thrive. I am not a licensed medical provider. I AM a student of a Doctor that has helped people that were told by their orthodox medical doctor that there was nothing else the orthodox medical community could do for the cancer patient.

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