What Is This Holistic Approach Thing I Keep Hearing About?

Ok let’s admit it to ourselves, we like to use these millennial words because it makes us sound like we know what the heck we are talking about, right? Well, maybe not. What does holistic mean and why do I hear about it and see it everywhere I go? I am going to try and shed some light on this for you. Holistic at its very core means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. For therapeutic purposes, it means looking at the person as a whole, taking into account mental, physical, and emotional health, while taking social factors into consideration. Here is an example: You go into the doctor’s office because you have a migraine. Typically you would walk out with some medications and check back in with your doctor. The holistic approach would be to look at all the potential factors that could be causing the migraines. Factors such as, health, diet, sleep habits, personal problems, stress, and spiritual practices. You may still leave treatment with medication, but also with a plan to modify your lifestyle in order to prevent the migraines from recurring. Make sense? Basically, the belief that medication will solve the issue is not the belief of being holistic. We need to look at all possible factors that could be affecting your health. So you may be asking yourself, what can I do now to be more holistic in my life? Great question! Here are some things you can do:

1.     Look at your diet. I know, I know, easier said than done. This does not mean you need to go on a diet, it just means to look at the food choices you are making and see if you can make some healthier choices. Maybe you start with drinking more water and trying to incorporate a new vegetable per week into your diet.

2.     What is you level of activity? Yes, exercise (that dreaded word). Are you a sit on the couch and Netflix marathon person or are you a must be at the gym 24-7 person? The important thing is that you are doing something, find a balance. Walking, riding a bike, skating, jogging, whatever you enjoy, try to do it a few times a week.

3.     Look at those you surround yourself with. Friends, family, and romantic partners. Do they add to your life in a positive way or do you feel your energy being sucked away by them. Evaluate those relationships and balance your time between those who make you feel good and those who are the energy vampires.

4.     Spirituality. Do you have a spiritual practice? Do you attend religious services, meditate, light candles, or spend time in nature? If you do not have a spiritual practice explore your options and find something that lifts you up. If you have one, then kudos to you, keep doing what you are doing.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of this holistic approach thing. Remember we are the sum of our parts. So if one of our parts is out of balance, it will cause the whole to be out of balance.