In this episode Joanne discusses the seven elements of holistic wellness, holistic nutrition, holistic healing for pain relief and shares seven holistic lifestyle habits that you may want to incorporate into your own life to improve your holistic wellness.
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*This podcast does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and its contents are intended for informational purposes only.
Welcome to Episode Eighteen of our Full Spectrum Wellness Podcast. I'm so happy and excited to be back here with you for our Eighteenth episode.
Achieving overall health and wellness does not start and stop at eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise. Physical health is just one element out of seven elements of holistic wellness.
Better health can be achieved, and diseases prevented if all seven elements of holistic wellness are addressed. The seven elements are:
1. Emotional wellness
2. Physical wellness
3. Spiritual wellness
4. Occupational wellness
5. Social wellness
6. Environmental wellness
7. Intellectual wellness.
If you can feel happy and smile at the day, rather than wallow in negativity, it will help reduce your stress and make you feel more positive. You will be better able to deal with your emotions, and the people and events that trigger them. Instead of overloading yourself with tasks, seek balance by setting time aside for yourself. If you can do this, it will help you stop feeling overwhelmed with life and improve your emotional wellness.
Physical wellness can be achieved by adhering to the basic requirements of physical health, such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy, nutritious diet. It is also important to have quality sleep every night. Make sure you drink plenty of water too!
Spiritual wellness goes deeper than your religious beliefs. It also includes your values in life. For example, a big part of achieving spiritual wellness can be found in practicing gratitude. Being grateful allows you to become more positive in life and makes you look at life differently.
There’s a wise old saying, “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” Start learning to be grateful for what you have in life. This can greatly reduce your risk of developing depression and feelings of worthlessness.
The majority of the population worldwide are workers. That doesn’t only mean employees, or those that engage in physical labor. Business owners and anyone in the managerial chain is still a worker. Most of us will have to work in our lifetime. What’s important for your occupational wellness is that you evaluate whether the work you do makes you miserable or happy.
Don’t waste too much time in a career that can cause your health to suffer. Yes, this can be difficult if you think you don’t have a choice. However, you need to make changes if you want change. If your job causes you stress and anxiety, then only you can do something about it. Waiting for someone else to make changes is disempowering, and usually glacially slow.
To better understand yourself and your social needs, first identify your own needs and values. Knowing ‘your self’ is paramount in your ability to set your own boundaries. This will help you to establish positive relationships with only the people you want in your life. It will help you connect with like-minded individuals, which are those people who share the same values as you.
Surround yourself with positive people and keep in contact with your family. However, let go of toxic people that make your life miserable, even if they are family members. Negative or vindictive people can easily drain your energy and emotional wellness, while contributing to your anxiety and stress.
Getting involved in the community where you live is another way you can boost your social wellness. You may not be a ‘people person’, so this may not be something you would like to do. However, if it is, it will help develop your sense of social consciousness as you become more in touch with the needs of your society and the people living around you.
Our environment has a huge impact on our overall health. We can’t be healthy if we live in an unhealthy environment. Just look at fish in a dirty pond, our fate is the same. Therefore, live in a place that not only promotes your own health, but make sure your own personal environment is healthy too. You can start by maintaining cleanliness in your own home and by removing harmful substances. Even if you feel that some things are beyond your control, take charge of the areas where you can influence the outcome.
When we stop learning, we stop living. Make it a point to keep learning new skills! Read books, play music, learn a language, or two or three, just don’t stop. If you keep learning, you are not only becoming more educated by the day, but you are also opening your mind to more opportunities and possibilities. You’ll be expanding your knowledge and values in life. You’ll be exploring a world full of wonder if you allow yourself to.
There are so many things you can do to improve your intellectual wellness. If you don’t like reading or playing music, don’t let that stop you. Play intellectually stimulating games that sharpen your brain and/or play against other people and sharpen your wit.
As you can see you can make many changes in your life to develop complete holistic wellness. It all starts with you. Why not start working on one element or all seven elements today, right now? It’s your decision.
Depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and heart disease are just few health problems that a woman may face. Her gender can predispose her to issues that have a psychological root, whereby her mental health affects her physical health. This sets off a vicious cycle causing further impacts on her emotional and mental health.
The best way to achieve optimal health in all areas of life is to strive for holistic wellness. Here are two of the elements she can address.
Physical health is one element of holistic wellness. Without it, even if a person has taken care of all the other elements, holistic wellness will not be achieved.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for one third of women’s deaths all over the world, and diabetes afflicts more than 70 million women worldwide. This is a sad state of affairs, considering that cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can be prevented, if a healthy lifestyle is adhered to; one which includes regular physical activity.
Physical health doesn’t just include exercise. Physical health also includes eating a healthy diet.
Many women have been found to be deficient in iron, riboflavin, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. If you want to spare yourself from the adverse effects of a nutritional deficiency, it’s time to evaluate your diet.
A healthy diet for you may not suit another woman. Every woman has a different chemical makeup, medical history and level of physical activity. Therefore, if you need to modify your diet, make sure it suits your own body’s unique needs. Your carbohydrate intake, proteins and fats, must be suited to you. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider, if you need to change your diet.
A woman’s nutritional needs varies at different stages of her life. It changes during menstruation, pregnancy or reproductive years, menopause and postmenopausal years.
If we look at emotional health if a woman feels good about herself and her life it makes it easier for her to cope with all the things she has to be and do in a day. One minute she may need to be a wife, then a mother, a daughter, a friend, or an employee or employer.
Having to deal with all these different roles in a day can cause emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can lead to further problems within these relationships.
A woman’s emotional health can also affect her physically. For example, she may experience chest pain, high blood pressure or ulcers, which have an emotional cause.
Therefore, it is important for her to be able to express, cope and appropriately deal with these emotions for the sake of her own emotional wellness. She has to critically evaluate what makes her sad, angry or frustrated and then find a way to address these emotions. She can’t just continue to bottle everything up as this is damaging for overall health.
If you think you or someone else needs help to get emotionally healthy, seek help from a qualified therapist or counselor.
These two elements are a great place to start in order to achieve holistic ‘all-encompassing’ wellness. However, although a great place to start, you don’t have to wait to achieve physical and emotional wellness before you address the other five elements.
You may have even targeted some of the other elements already, without even knowing it. If so, that’s even better!
Many people have taken a positive step in choosing holistic living and using alternative therapies for their health and wellness. In line with the concept of holism, if a person practices alternative therapies, that person is much more treated as a whole, to provide overall health and wellness.
It is becoming increasingly recognized that one of the limitations of traditional western medicine is its tendency to only focus on treating the specific and apparent symptoms of any condition (often only temporary pain alleviation).
This is vastly different from the holistic approach of taking into account the total mind and body complex, as well as the environment. Holism and alternative therapies appreciate that the true cause of symptoms, including pain, may be far removed from where the symptoms are expressed. All aspects of the person are taken into consideration, not just the (perceived) affected part.
Therefore, bringing the two together provides natural and more enduring healing to the person as a whole, that is in mind, body and spirit.
Living a holistic lifestyle means to live your life without physical, mental, or spiritual barriers. You keep all elements strong and healthy, not just one part. Taking care of all holistic elements may prove to be challenging, but once you learn to master the basic principles, you are on the path to achieving total wellness.
This ‘wellness’ is not only limited to physical health. As it also includes emotional and mental wellbeing, being holistically healthy means greater happiness and personal fulfillment.
The first step is to look at your life as a whole, that is, everything around you, not just the physical ‘you’ and see how you can improve it. The goal is to achieve overall wellness, where everything is functioning optimally.
To look deeper, Holism, in philosophy, is the concept that parts of a whole are interconnected and cannot exist without each other. Moreover, the whole itself is greater than the sum of its parts. These different parts or elements include the physical, mental, spiritual, social and environmental aspects of your life, which make up the whole you.
Having a holistic lifestyle means recognizing that these different parts of your life are linked and cannot be separated. What happens in your personal life may affect how you perform at work, or how you interact with your social circle, or how you see your environment.
Another example is when a person is ‘mentally’ stressed. Their stress may trigger other ‘physical’ illnesses and disease. This is because a person’s emotional health has a large and often underappreciated impact on their physical health.
Alternative therapies are treatments outside of conventional medicine and just like holism, these natural therapies consider the whole person in all aspects, such as physical, mental, emotional, environmental etc.
If a patient suffering from migraine approached a holistic doctor, the doctor would not immediately prescribe the patient with headache pain killers as many traditional doctors would do. Instead, the doctor would take into account other aspects of the patient’s life, such as work, family, and nutrition.
Part of the treatment may include drug intervention, but will be limited to that, as the entirety of the treatment may involve lifestyle changes or other related actions.
A holistic lifestyle can therefore be complemented by alternative therapies and practitioners of holistic medicine. Health self management is the main key motivator for choosing to live a holistic lifestyle, and alternative therapies go perfectly with living holistically.
One of the areas I specialize in is pain. I work with a lot of clients that have chronic pain conditions. If you are feeling pain, any sort of pain, it is hard to be in a good mood, smile at the world, or even be civil to family and friends. Regardless of whether a person suffers from chronic pain or temporary pain, finding relief goes a long way toward making a day much brighter and more bearable.
In most cases, getting rid of the pain is not just simply treating the supposed affected part. Quite often (and usually) the pain is referred pain, which is where it comes from another source somewhere inside the body.
For example, you may have muscle pain in your neck, but the source may be deep down inside your shoulder. Therefore, massaging the neck isn’t going to make the pain completely go away, although it may still feel good in the short term.
If a patient is diagnosed with a medical condition that makes them suffer from chronic pain, holistic healing would prove to be beneficial. Holistic healing not only treats the pain, it also improves all aspects of their health and wellbeing.
Here are some holistic ways used to treat pain.
One of the first things you can do when treating chronic pain is to pay attention to your diet. There are certain foods that contain substances that may increase pain and inflammation. Increased inflammation can increase pain, therefore following an anti-inflammatory diet is certainly beneficial and recommended for people who are suffering from any type of pain.
An anti-inflammatory diet consists of whole foods; foods that contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients.
This diet will have a focus on consumption of low GI foods. Lean protein foods, healthy fats such as olive oil and salmon, are some of the important foods you can add to your anti-inflammatory diet. This diet does not promise instant relief from pain; however, the benefits are gradual and long-lasting, and that’s a good thing.
Acupuncture has long been known to work well in providing pain relief. Sufferers of neck pain, tension headaches, muscular pain, low-back pain, migraine and osteoarthritic pain etc., have given positive feedback on the healing, holistic benefits. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that pain relief can only be achieved once the patient’s balance in their energy pathways is regained.
Naturally, acupuncture can help do this. When treating pain, acupuncturists will insert tiny, thin needles into the body, and not necessarily in the actual pain location! The area where the needles are inserted will be related to the ‘source’ of the discomfort and pain, rather than the referred pain site.
Experts counsel that people suffering from chronic pain should include regular exercise into their healing program. This is because exercise has the power to boost the body’s production of endorphins and hormones that function as natural painkillers.
As a result, the increase in endorphin production gives an improvement in a patient’s pain threshold.
Endorphins are capable of interacting with the pain receptors in the brain, so that a person’s perception of pain is reduced. Consult your doctor first before starting any intensive exercise regimen, to ensure that you will benefit and not cause any harm to yourself. It is important to make sure your exercise regimen is tailored to your own medical and health status.
Numerous studies have proven that meditation can help relieve pain, by changing a person’s perception of pain. Regular practice of meditation will help cultivate equilibrium and inner peace, and when in pain, being able to calm the mind and emotional state.
Grounding therapy is based on the premise that the Earth's surface has negatively charged free electrons. These electrons work to neutralize the free radicals in the body that have been positively charged.
Spending time walking barefoot on any natural surface, such as the grass, will allow your body to absorb the negatively charged free electrons. This results in a reduction of pain, as levels of inflammation in the body are also lowered.
Walk on any natural surface for at least 20 minutes a day, so that your body will have the chance to connect to the Earth’s healing energy. If you do you are helping your body heal holistically!
Holistic nutrition is one of the fundamentals of living a holistic lifestyle and is a natural way to approach diet and nutrition. Evidence-based studies are used to improve health with proper nutrition.
A holistic nutritionist will take a look at your medical history, lifestyle habits and emotional health and factor these aspects into your specific diet plan. The goal of a holistic nutritionist is to educate and empower their patient towards better all-round health through the benefits of healthy nutrition.
Holistic nutrition helps the body function at its best by feeding it with ‘SOUL’ foods. The acronym ‘SOUL’ stands for Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed and Local. Therefore, if you want to adhere to holistic nutrition, and reap its many benefits, you can expect to be eating more whole, unprocessed, organic and locally sourced foods.
The reason there is an importance on eating whole and organic foods is because they are heftier in terms of nutritional content, and they are less likely to (or ideally shouldn’t) contain any chemicals and/or preservatives.
This is one of the reasons why sourcing local is an important part of holistic nutrition. You can personally ask the growers or sellers if the purchased goods, such as fruits and vegetables, have come fresh off the farm, and if they have been grown organically.
If they have been grown organically, it means there haven’t been any health-inhibiting chemicals applied at any time.
The nutrients obtained from eating whole and unprocessed foods helps ensure the optimal processing of vital body functions. Holistic nutrition puts greater emphasis on the consumption of foods that are excellent sources of the macronutrients which include fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Foods rich in micronutrients are also an important part of holistic nutrition. These micronutrients play a crucial role in the body’s ability to produce and synthesize proteins, enzymes and hormones.
By understanding the role of a holistic nutritionist, people can understand what to expect if they follow holistic nutrition principles.
Holistic nutrition is not about engaging in treating disease or illness, and it’s not where holistic nutritionists make unproven health claims or use techniques that are unproven.
The focus is on utilizing nutrition to make the mind and body stronger, more vital, and more resistant to illness and disease. This helps the person overcome any existing conditions and their symptoms and buffers them against future health problems.
A holistic nutritionist is a professional who advises and teaches their patient to consume fresh, natural foods for optimal health through nutrition. There is always an emphasis on educating the patient on the role of better nutrition and the modification of certain lifestyle habits that inhibit optimum health. The nutrition plan is based on the particular needs of the patient and not based on other method.
So we have delved deep in to holistic wellness and lifestyle so I want to leave you with seven holistic lifestyle habits. If you want to develop holistic lifestyle habits, then you need to consider all parts of your physical, mental and emotional being, while also taking into consideration your spiritual wellness and your environment. A person living holistically makes sure all their actions contribute towards making their lifestyle healthy and productive. The following are some holistic lifestyle habits that you may want to incorporate into your own life.
1. Start ‘Eating Clean’
Preparing your own meals at home will help ensure that your food is devoid of unwanted chemicals and preservatives. Your meals should consist of fresh produce, lean meat and/or other whole foods. To eat clean, simply start by reading all the labels. You probably are already aware of how many foods are not ‘clean’. However, being label conscious is a great start.
If you walk around the ‘real’ food shopping aisles you are doing yourself a huge favor. Skipping the fast food, pre-packed processed foods is a wise step. You won’t find too many clean foods in those aisles.
2. Build Positive Relationships
Negative relationships can be, and are, toxic. These types of relationships have the potential to ruin your emotional and psychological health, which can in turn affect your physical wellbeing.
It is completely normal to experience a quarrel or difference of opinion with someone. If things are happily resolved, that is what is considered normal. However, if their negativity towards you is always there, and is emotionally upsetting, then these types of relationships are toxic. Therefore, steer clear from people who do nothing but bring you down, and for your own health, it would be better to remove yourself from their life.
If you don’t, your health will suffer, and they will suck your happiness and energy away from you. Instead, focus on building positive relationships with positive people and watch your happiness and success in life grow.
3. Protect Your Environment - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reducing waste and recycling has been the lifestyle principle of environmentally conscious individuals for years. They take care of their environment. They are not wasteful. Start by reusing plastic bags, if you aren’t already, and buy goods that are in environmentally friendly packaging. Wherever possible, reduce waste, reuse an item, and recycle.
4. Allow Yourself to Grow Intellectually
You may be allowing yourself to grow in some areas of your life, but are you allowing yourself to grow intellectually? For example, are you staying in an unsatisfying, boring job where you don’t have to think? If so, enroll in courses and take your skills and knowledge to a higher level. If you do, you can open doors you never thought possible.
5. Connect with Like-Minded People
Life wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t connect with other people. It’s what we humans do. Therefore, take the time to connect with like-minded individuals and make sure they have a positive influence on your life.
6. Be Physically Active
Staying active is an essential part of being healthy. It is one of those things that you should not take for granted, no matter how busy you are. Holistic health cannot be achieved if you’re missing one vital part - your physical health. Regardless of your activity choice, just do it. You need to give your muscles, bones and other body parts a chance to move.
7. Relax Your Mind for Mental Health - Meditate
Everyone appears to have stress in their life. Many people claim they thrive on stress and drama, and/or if you are a workaholic, you don’t give your mind a chance to wind down. This is not good for you. You have to take the time to slow your mind down.
Many people are not aware of how powerful and beneficial meditation can be, and many people feel they don’t ‘fit into the meditating niche’. However, it is not just for eccentric individuals or the baby-boomer hippy. It is for anyone and everyone.
Being still, in mind and body, allows your entire being to harness the power of silence. Do you want to be a better decision-maker? Meditate. Do you want to be better in your career? Meditate. Do you want to improve your relationships with others? Meditate. Yes, all these things can be achieved through meditation, and these are just a few of the benefits.
Practice meditation and you will never be the same person again. As with all these habits you will improve your life no end!
Bu the important thing is to get started. So I’ve given you lots and lots of ideas and inspirations, now it’s up to you to make those changes. But remember don’t try to make them all at once, just choose one element, introduce it into your daily routine and then move onto the next one.