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Published On: Wed, May 13th, 2015

Healing Comes In Many Forms

Healthy, believe it or not, is a subjective term for the most part. It doesn’t seem like it should be. Most of us have been taught that health is more like math than it is like art. You take some very specific things and apply them in very specific ways and boom! You’re healthy and happy forever.

In some ways, this is still true. In others, you have a little bit more freedom. So how do you figure out what’s healthy and what isn’t? How do you stay physically and mentally fit?

 photo Brandon L. Saunders

photo Brandon L. Saunders

The Universal Building Blocks of Health

Our bodies need very specific things to stay alive. We have to take in certain amounts of protein, vitamins and other nutrients. We have to, for example, drink enough water. When we don’t meet these needs, we get sick or even die.

We need to be active. We need to move around. Our bodies are built for walking, climbing, running, jumping and staying active. It is true that the human body does not have to move to stay alive. One need only to look at someone suffering from spinal injuries to know that. When we spend too much time being sedentary, though, our bodies get sick, our brains get bored and our hormones fluctuate and cause emotional issues.

We need to be engaged. Not in the matrimonial sense (though that’s helpful and we’ll get to that in a minute). We need to find ways to keep our brains active and interested. We need to challenge our brains so that they are always thinking. When we don’t challenge our brains we get bored and the disinterest can cause mental health and physical health issues.

We need to be connected. Humans are herd mammals. We form communities in spite of ourselves and we depend on our interpersonal connections to survive. It is important to connect with other people. Friendships and family connections; they are important and need to be fostered and nurtured.

mcfarland-usa-scenic shot running into the oceanTraditional Approaches

Most of us are already familiar with the traditional approach to these ideas. We started to be taught them at young ages. Following the food pyramid (back when it was a pyramid), for example, was how we made sure we were getting the right nutrients. Running and lifting weights three times a week was how we stayed physically healthy. We did crossword puzzles and formed clubs to keep our brains engaged and our communities intact.

All of these things are good. And, hey, if they work for you, that’s great! It’s also good to know that you have a lot more options available. For example, you might get all of your nutrients via a vegan diet and feel great whereas someone else is more traditionally omniverous. Your best friend might be a pilates superfan while you prefer spinning and tai chi. It’s good to find a way to fit in something from each of the traditional building blocks of health.

Newer (Holistic) Approaches

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a real shift from thinking that holistic practices like mindfulness, meditation, and other natural ways of approaching health are “weird hippie voodoo” to understanding just how important they are to our overall health and wellbeing.

Mindfulness, says Beckett Franklin-Gray, a therapist and blogger for TherapyTribe, is rooted in the teachings of Buddha but has proven quite effective as a therapeutic tool for dealing with stress and anxiety.

Massage is another type of holistic treatment that has helped improve people’s health. Studies have shown that people who regularly work with massage therapists have lower rates of anxiety, depression, and have fewer headaches and other physical issues as well.

Why The Shift?

Over the last few years there has been a distinctive shift away from the traditional approaches to health and toward a more holistic-based approach. This is even true for health practitioners whose specialties and focus have been in traditional western approaches to health. Why are so many choosing a holistic approach over the more segregated approach we learned as kids?

The truth is that, as time goes on, we learn more and more about how the different areas of health truly are connected. Stress and depression, for example, can cause physical symptoms. Physical issues can manifest as mental health problems. We’re learning that our health is not actually an equation with separate parts and values. Our health is more like a painting where everything blends together. And, when we treat just one part that one part might improve slightly. When we treat our whole selves, though, all areas of our health improve significantly.

 

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About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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