Achieving holistic health and wellness is quite a different concept when compared to the current healthcare system’s approach of managing diseases by treating symptoms. At best, this conventional approach offers a temporary respite from annoying or even painful symptoms.
Yet relieving symptoms usually does not address their cause, and most importantly, the absence of symptoms does not mean the absence of disease. Knowing how to achieve holistic health and wellness first requires having an understanding of what holistic health and wellness mean.
Holistic health is about how the physical characteristics of the body and your lifestyle habits are used together to create a pathway towards good health. Their sum is much greater than their respective parts in promoting lasting health.
A basic component of holistic health is to begin by giving your body the nourishment that it needs. Good nutrition, allowing rest, and getting quality sleep are integral to a holistic program of care that makes use of your body’s innate mechanisms for healing and repair.
Wellness is synonymous with well-being since it includes the mental, spiritual, and physical components to living and being well. Intangibles like emotional resilience, self-compassion, gratitude, and purpose are important ingredients in any wellness recipe.
The key to how to achieve holistic health and wellness lies in a balance between the physical you, the mental you, and the spiritual you. It is about how to live a long and quality life in spite of or maybe because of the difficult challenges along the way.
Addressing your thoughts, your diet and lifestyle, and your connections to others is the how-to or the process to achieve balance.
Focusing on holistic health means questioning your current diet and lifestyle habits. Are you overweight? Do you take medicine for a chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension or heart disease?
Does joint or back pain limit your physical ability to stand, to walk, or to dance? Do you smoke or drink too much or too often? Are you getting good quantity and quality sleep or are you struggling with brain fog and chronic fatigue?
Wellbeing has objective and measurable components that, according to Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, can be separated into 5 elements or PERMA:
- Positive emotion
- good Relationships
- positive Accomplishments
In Seligman’s Well-Being Theory he notes that your strengths and virtues are the foundation for each PERMA element. He notes that strengths, like kindness, social intelligence, courage, faith, humility, and integrity, when used to meet life’s challenges leads to enhancement of these same elements. What you focus on expands creating more positive influence in your life.
Well-being is not a singular entity. It is a combination of feeling good physically and having all of PERMA working maximally for you.
Balancing your diet and lifestyle habits with the 5 elements for well-being or PERMA is how you achieve holistic health and wellness. It is about looking within and choosing to use your innate strengths to face life’s challenges and experiences.
It’s about cultivating awareness of the interrelatedness of your own mind, body, and spirit while simultaneously connecting to others to create meaning and purpose in your life.
The recipe for happiness and optimal aging has 3 ingredients:
- Choosing positive emotions such as compassion and gratitude
- Avoiding isolation while seeking friendships
- Seeking meaning and purpose by striving to accomplish goals
Following this recipe is how you achieve holistic health and wellness.
As long as life’s basic needs of food, shelter and safety are satisfied, you get to choose your perspective. Will you choose the glass is half-full versus half-empty? You need a healthy physical body to perform in this world. You also need a positive mindset. And you need a heart filled with compassion and gratitude to instill happiness in your life.
Being aware of your virtues or strengths and then using them to cultivate more PERMA is how you can achieve holistic health and wellness in your life.
I’m Dr. Sy Powell a board-certified OBGYN gone rogue! I now work from a holistic functional medicine perspective. I know that a functional medicine approach can completely change your life for the better. It’s done so for me. For a FREE e-book about taking back control of your health, visit this page. And to learn more about my work, visit my services page. Yours In Health