A Peer’s Perspective: 4 Tips for Holistic Wellness
Spring has sprung, and with the ever-changing pandemic landscape there is a renewed focus on mental health and wellness. The sun is out, allergies are high, caution and care are still at the forefront of interactions and relationships, and the shadow of anxiety and depression continue to be present as we learn how to find our footing on tenuous terrain that makes up the map of our daily lives.
“The part can’t be well unless the whole is well” – Plato
To do this it’s important to remember that we are comprised of many parts that make a whole person, including emotional, physical and mental parts. In balance and harmony, these parts all need attention and maintenance in order for the whole you to function well.
Creating Holistic Wellness
#1 – The Mind-Body Connection
The mind-body connection refers to how our emotions affect physical health and well-being. Science shows a direct correlation between how we manage stress and emotions, and how we feel physically. Noted motivational speaker Wayne Dyer shares that “you can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” This is so powerful in a world where so many times we can easily feel out of control. What are a few areas where you could increase your 360° wellness?
#2 – Eating Healthy Helps Mental Health
Recall the bon mot “you are what you eat”. Eating as healthy as you are able to and monitoring diet has a direct effect on how we feel. While tastes and budgets vary, the overall takeaway is that just making a simple change or two can really make the difference. Science shows that adding items to enhance the function of your gastrointestinal tract and nourishing it with things like whole grains, fiber, magnesium (yay, this includes dark chocolate!), nuts, leafy greens and the like, can truly affect your mood. The GI tract turns out to contain an incredible amount of bacteria that have an effect on the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine!
#3 – Your Attitude Affects Your Health
There are myriads of articles that talk about how your attitude affects your physical well-being. What I’ve come to learn is that negative emotions and never-ending hopelessness can lead to hormone imbalance, chronic pain and stress, and loss of the chemicals that promote happiness and even harm to our immunity. This is so impactful, isn’t it? While it’s no surprise that life has challenges that can sometimes cause pandemic-proportion stressors and challenges, it’s amazing to know that our attitude is something that we can use as a tool to propel us into a healthier way of fostering health and wellness through it all.
#4 – Your Environment Influences You
Have you taken inventory lately of what you surround yourself with? Some like to have inspirational sayings around their house (I’m reminded of the latest series of commercials for an insurance company that spoof the Live, Laugh and Love saying trend). Others may live in sparse surrounding with minimal availability or interest for décor. I know people who live amongst chaos and noise and stressful surroundings as well. While crafting your environment to look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, simple additions like a quiet time to decompress after a rough day; favorite music in the background; bright colors and good circulation can have a huge impact on how you feel.
I’ve found that in my own life, the addition of beneficial items such as these have had measurable benefits and have added invaluable depth to how I feel. I hope you’ll take the time to add a few to your routine and let me know what amazing dimensions they add to your life…and they will!
Mental Health Services
Jill Davis, CPFS is Peer Services Coordinator for Mind Springs Health and is here to support her readers.
Drop her a line at Peers@MindSpringsHealth.org