Mental health refers to a person’s psychological well-being. It may not always be given the same effort as physical health, but remember: There’s no overall health without mental health. Take a quick search through medical journals online, and you may be surprised to find out how the number of individuals suffering from poor mental health is rising. Many factors contribute to this, but the good news is there are many ways to address this concern.
Anyone can suffer emotional and mental health concerns at some point in life, so it pays to know what you can do when you find yourself in this situation. Encountering a mental health issue isn’t the end of the world, as there’s always light at the end of the tunnel through a holistic approach to mental health.
The whole premise of the holistic approach is to check through all sectors of one’s life, identify the problem areas, and see how each can be worked on for overall and deeper recovery. This comprehensive guide gives you insights.
What A Holistic Approach Means
A holistic approach to mental health means focusing on the whole person socially, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This is the best way to improve one’s mental health, given how it covers all facets of overall health. With this approach, the medical practitioner doesn’t just focus on the disease symptoms but goes as far as to check and run through the patient’s overall health profile.
How To Achieve Holistic Improvement In Mental Health
As you begin your sessions with the counselor or therapist, they can work with you to identify the changes and steps you can take to improve your mental health. An individual approach will be taken as you asses how each facet of your life currently affects your mental health.
Despite the personal differences in strategies individuals can do, there are tried-and-tested holistic ways to re-balance yourself and work toward a better state of mind. If you’re interested in starting, here are a few worth doing:
Start By Learning To Value Yourself
Nowadays, it’s often hard to value yourself when there’s so much need for social validation. It takes time to get used to it but treating yourself with respect, and kindness doesn’t hurt. Make it a habit to look at yourself in the mirror and speak nice words about yourself. Feed your mind with positive thoughts so you can eventually learn to block out all the negative criticisms from society.
Most importantly, avoid self-criticism. When you value yourself, you’ll no longer find the need for social validation. You’re confident in what you can do and how you are, flaws and all.
Make Social Connections A Priority
An individual’s social life can easily suffer the most when an individual goes through mental health problems. This is expected, given how you may start to feel the need to distance yourself from those around you. It’s a coping strategy for many, while others could feel like they no longer have the energy to face people and foster social connections.
Staying away is alright as long as it doesn’t bring an individual to complete isolation from their family and friends. It can be good also to let go of those who have nothing better to do for your mental health. Examples are friends who are always complaining, those who always have something negative to say, and especially those you know are talking behind your back, gossiping about your condition.
However, there are also friends, colleagues, and relatives who are good for your mental health. Identify who those are and keep in touch with them. Those are individuals worth fostering good relationships with.
Nothing beats the power of being face-to-face with individuals dear to you who positively energize you and give you bursts of hope. No matter how stressful or busy your days are, make time for those social relationships at least once every so often. You may notice a shift in your mood and outlook when in the company of the right people.
Look After Your Physical Health
What’s a holistic approach to health if physical health is left behind? Taking care of your physical health wonders for your well-being and mental health. It only takes half an hour of being active every day to make a difference. Think of any physical activity you enjoy, be it swimming, running, hiking, dancing, yoga, or gardening, to name a few.
Think of the time you do physical exercises as your release from all the tension and stress you experience. Let this be your outlet. Engaging in physical activity can also foster the release of endorphins or happy hormones. Your body and mind need these to cope with and mask the negative stressors you could face.
Couple this with eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep; your health will soon thank you if only it could speak.
Along with physical exercise, eating a healthy diet is also very important. The food you eat fuels your body, mind, and soul. Feed your body with healthy food, and you’ll enjoy its benefits, too. Take in junk food, and your body and mind are also set to suffer its ill effects.
Start with a diet rich in antioxidants. These can lower the free radicals in the body, resulting in good mental and physical health. There’s no need to over-complicate this. A good rule of thumb to apply is to aim to have a colorful meal. This means you have a balance of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, beans, and whole grains to set your body and mind off toward a better condition.
Learn New Skills
Is there something you’ve long wanted to try out doing but have always been afraid to do so? Now’s a good time, more than ever, to step out of your comfort zone and try it. Learning new skills can do wonders for your mental health. Not only are you feeding your brain new information, but you’re also enjoying benefits like:
- Connecting with others, like classmates and new friends in a group class
- Boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem
- Helping you build a sense of purpose
Even if you don’t have enough time, there are many ways to insert such activities into your schedule. Start by reducing the time spent on social media, as lingering too long isn’t doing you any good. Replace that instead with better activities like:
- Signing up for a certification, training, program, or course at a local college
- Learning to cook or bake
- Trying out new hobbies that can challenge you, like starting a blog (or vlog), learning to paint, or doing a new sport
- Taking in new responsibilities at work as long as doing so won’t tie you up in the office beyond working hours
Those mentioned above are only a few examples. Think of what you want to do, and look for opportunities to make that desire a reality.
Get Some Rest
When an individual is extremely busy and stressed out, one of the fundamental needs that can suffer the most is sleep or rest. Pulling all-nighters frequently may help you get everything done, but it risks your mental health and overall well-being. Sleep is just as vital as eating well, so consider this a matter of priority.
Once you start seeing a doctor or a therapist, they may also tell you that even a few days without resting or sleeping well can already have detrimental effects on your health. Give yourself that if you must take a day or weekend off to rest. There’s no need to be constantly available, especially if your mental health isn’t at its best.
Keep a journal or diary where you write down at least one to three things you’re grateful for the day. It’ll make an immense difference in how you start seeing your life. Your mental health can improve drastically when you’re grateful and happy. You’ll no longer have to feel so sorry about yourself, no matter what challenge you’re bound to face.
Remember: No matter how big or small, there’s always something to be grateful for in life or a situation. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way in seeing the good in everything and realizing that the life you have now is precisely where you need to be, challenges and all.
In Closing, for the Holistic Approach
Your whole self is essential if you still need further affirmation than what you’ve already read. This means not just your physical state but also your mental and emotional condition. These aspects of your well-being are all involved in taking a holistic approach to overall better health.
Occasional stress and anxiety are expected and normal. Still, when they get out of hand, you’ll have to take the necessary steps to prevent these negativities from affecting your quality of life. Help is out there, so you can move beyond these dark days of your life. Start today with holistically caring for yourself, and don’t be afraid to get help.