Just as cogs and gears all work together to help a machine function effectively, numerous portions of ourselves work together to allow us to flourish as healthy human beings. The purpose of holistic health is just this—to maintain the health of each of these portions in order to strengthen the whole person. Just as one gear malfunctioning in a machine will disrupt its ability to function, neglecting one portion of your being will cause your whole system to crash and break down.
Holistic health focuses on five aspects of well-being to keep your body healthy and functioning properly in your day-to-day life. Although the ranking of the importance of each component differs from person to person, all of these elements are generally important for an individual to thrive in their life. Read ahead to learn about each of these five aspects and how they interact with each other to contribute to your overall well-being.
Generally, when people think of health, they automatically think of taking care of their bodies. We have been taught about the importance of physical health since we were children in school physical education classes, and continue to be educated on its importance throughout our lifetimes. This is for good reason—physical health is important not only for your body but for your overall well-being! Making sure you are giving your body enough physical activity, rest, and nutrition are all vital in taking care of it and, in turn, positively affecting your mood and social life. If you feel as though you need to improve this aspect under holistic health, try creating a fitness routine, making a stricter sleep schedule, and/or healthy meal-prepping.
We can surely all agree that if you break your leg, you should see a doctor and get immediate care to heal it. Why should mental ailments, like depression or anxiety, be treated any differently? When you are experiencing persistent mental health issues, both your mind and your body won’t be functioning to their best abilities. This will eventually negatively impact all other areas of your life. Seeking mental health support is so important, whether it’s simply confiding in a friend for support, or trying therapy with a trained mental health professional.
Although often lumped together with mental health, emotional health focuses primarily on your ability to manage emotions healthily more than it focuses on your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. Your emotional health may be affected greatly by past traumas or emotional disturbances, both of which are likely to lead individuals to cope in emotionally numbing or damaging ways. For example, someone who is dealing with grief or trauma may find themselves denying that they are struggling with their emotions and ignore them as a way to cope. Emotional health means first being open to feeling your emotions fully, and then learning how to understand, analyze, and accept them. This can be accomplished through self-reflective activities like journaling or “daily self check-ins”.
Although many individuals develop their spiritual health through the practice of religion, you certainly don’t have to be religious to develop this aspect of holistic health. The “spiritual” aspect can pertain to anything larger than what is happening in your life at face value. Contemplating the meaning or purpose of life, thinking about important moral values, meditation, and/or spending time connecting with nature are all ways to practice spiritual health. Of course, if you are religious, studying your religion is also a great way to strengthen spiritual health. Feeling connected to something larger than yourself often gives individuals a sense of purpose and belonging, which strengthens the other aspects of holistic health.
Humans are inherently social beings. We naturally wish to make connections and share our personal experiences with others. These social interactions contribute back to our emotional states and often have a large determinant in how we view ourselves. Social health also affects our sense of belonging and self-esteem. To strengthen social health, keep making those connections and make sure they are healthy and happy! Reach out to old family and friends you may have unintentionally become distant with, join clubs and organizations that will help you meet new people, and be true to yourself in your social connections.
As you can see, holistic health doesn’t just focus on the physical body, but on the combination of many different aspects of health. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health must all be considered and cared for in order for them to work together in maintaining your overall well-being. When all of these components are combined and strengthened, one has the potential to live their life to the fullest!
Eleanor Health is here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.