The 5 Elements of Holistic Health
Our physical health is what most people think about when they think of health. This is mostly because it is the physical body that often shows us physical signs and symptoms of either optimal or sub-optimal health. These physical signs and symptoms are also easier to identify and measure, versus other non-physical signs and symptoms that can feel more abstract.
When it comes to supporting your physical health there are few key practices that everyone can benefit from and can make a huge difference on your overall well-being:
- Sleep for between 6-8 hours each night. This will allow your body to truly rest and repair for the next day.
- Follow a balanced nutritional diet.
- Drink water. As little as 4 glasses a day is healthier than no water at all.
- Move your body for 30 minutes each day. While every person’s exercise routine will be different, everyone can benefit from at least 30 minutes of movement each day.
- Limit processed foods and hydrogenated oils which are highly inflammatory and can increase the risk of chronic disease.
- Limit fizzy, sugary drinks, and sugary foods.
- Do not smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
While often overlooked, our emotional health is just as important as our physical health — especially because our emotional health can affect our physical health if it is not prioritized.
Ways you can support your emotional health:
- Seek out therapy when needed. Therapy is an essential part of supporting our emotional health and should be utilized whenever necessary.
- Practice mindfulness and stress reduction habits that can help you better manage life’s daily stressors.
- When you are feeling low, which is completely natural, try and think of things that make you happy or that you are grateful for. Our minds are powerful in helping us cope with stress and maintain a positive outlook.
Research has shown that the happiest people on earth have balanced connections with their friends, family, and community.
This is often why religion is connected, with happiness as it can provide a deep sense of community and support, no matter what faith a person chooses.
Ways that you can support your social health:
- Make time to connect with friends and family. While technology has allowed for us to feel connected more, research has shown that virtual connection still is not and can not replace true connections to other humans and people close to us that we all have a natural built-in need for.
- Set boundaries with people in your life that may increase stress or bring about toxic energy. Also do not be afraid to walk away from friendships and relationships that are negatively affecting your health.
- Join a club or take up a hobby or activity that you will enjoy and can share in doing with other people. The key here is something that you will truly enjoy.
Spiritual wellness does not necessarily mean that you need to become religious, although the two often have overlapping practices and principles. Instead, your spiritual health should focus on how you are connecting with your inner soul and the greater world around you.
Ways you can support your spiritual health:
- Spend time in nature.
- Spend a few minutes each day meditating.
- If you are religious, take the time to practice your faith.
- Play and engage with your children.
The final element of holistic health is our mental health, which often overlaps with both our emotional and physical health. The big distinction between our mental and emotional health though is that while our emotional health refers mostly to our daily mood and emotions, our mental health refers to our cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions.
Ways that you can support your mental health:
- Always keep your mind active by seeking out learning opportunities and problem-solving practices that challenge your brain.
- Read good books: Light-hearted stories, uplifting or inspirational, educating.
- Choose to watch wholesome television shows, uplifting or intriguing movies. Let’s face it there is a lot of detrimental reading and viewing available if we choose to go there.