ZEN TIP TUESDAY #23
Welcome to Mia Johnson, our next contributor to the Zen Tip Tuesday (ZTT) series. Mia shares with us her thoughts on holistic health and the 3 pillars that make up holistic health that help you to achieve optimised well-being, and the flow-on effect of course being – an enhanced sense of zen. You can find out more about Mia and how to connect with her in her Bio at the end of this post.
This is the first ZTT post after a mid-year break. The ZTT series is now ad hoc (not every Tuesday). If you would like to contribute please go here to find out how (you might also like visit all the Gems of Zen we have so far). I would love to hear from you!
Holistic Health is usually defined as an approach to life. Instead of spending time focusing on sickness or specific parts of the body, this approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with the environment. It accentuates the connection of body, mind, and spirit. The goal being to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is working at the highest level possible. This concept encourages people to accept responsibility for their wellbeing and everyday decisions that affect their health.
These are three pillars of Holistic Health that will help you achieve overall well-being:
1. Physical Health
Physical wellness is made out of several smaller components, such as body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure, the functioning of organ systems, musculature of the body, and the overall strength, stamina, and endurance. These physical components of well-being are various lifestyle factors and behaviours that either promote or decrease your wellness. Among them are alcohol or tobacco use, sleep patterns, exercise habits, diet and nutrition, and lifestyle factors such as extreme stress or lack of work-life balance.
You have to know and respect your limits when it comes to exercise. Start with something you know you can accomplish. It can be just a 30-minute walk every day, or a yoga workout or simply start by eliminating sugar from your diet. Whatever you choose to improve your physical health, discuss your plans with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you to do so.
2. Mental Health
“A typical adult has over 100 billion brain cells, each with an average of 1000 synaptic connections. Every thought, action, and emotion you feel involves complex interactions between your brain cells which involve neuro transmitters. These are chemicals that help your brain cells communicate. Most mental disorders involve an imbalance or some form of dysfunction at these communication points and alteration of these key brain chemicals.” by Evergreen Doctors.
Emotional wellness is the ability to engage in emotional self-regulation and separate your emotions. It is often more useful to focus on one emotion at a time than letting conflicting emotions get all mixed up. Mixed up emotions will lead to conflict with your romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues and cause chaos in your personal life.
One of the best things you can do to work on your mental health is to quiet your mind. Spend around 15 minutes per day learning how to meditate. Choose one day during the week when you unplug from the outside world and be with yourself.
3. Spiritual Health
Discovering your spiritual side does not always have to mean attending a structured worship service unless that is what you want. You can spend time alone, contemplating the common good. You can volunteer with a group or some kind of organisation that supports a cause that you are interested in. You can practice gratitude or develop a pay-it-forward attitude.
As with any change in life, you shouldn’t rush it or start too big, because if you do you are running the risk of burning out quickly. It is better to choose one area of your life and one thing that you would like to change. After some time add to another area of your life. After that, add that third component. Making changes slowly and surely will help you to ensure that you will stick to your new plan and enjoy yourself. Establish how you choose to nurture your spirituality, and devote time to it regularly. Doing that will make you feel grounded.
Stress control is very important for physical and mental health, and it is overlooked in most cases. Trying to avoid unnecessary obligations is important. Simplify your life as much as possible and you will experience a lot of relief.
If you feel pressured to do certain things, ask yourself if they are something you need to be doing. Writing down a list of things you need to do each day is a great thing to ease your mind.
Well-being is made by physical health, mental stimulation, focus, clarity, and spiritual nourishment. Thus, to feel at your very best you need a special approach that meets your needs in each of these areas.
The best way to start a holistic self-care path is to create your well-being plan. Categorise the physical, mental and spiritual parts and then choose one activity that will help you in each of those areas, in the most gratifying and meaningful way.
Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.