Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ten Tips to Holistic Wellness - Part 1

Holistic therapy for disease prevention or healing is essentially self treatment focused on all the holistic wellness dimensions. The first five tips below focus on internal actions that people can take to achieve wellness through attention to the emotions and spirit.

  1. Decrease Stress by Managing Emotions
  2. Get Rid of Addictions
  3. Reach Out for Support
  4. Become Your Own Best Friend
  5. Find Meaning in Your Life

Decrease Stress by Managing Emotions
Stress is not caused by an event itself, but by the emotional response to the event. All emotions produce chemical messengers that affect body cells. Love and gratitude produce a chemical that is good for the cells, but chemicals produced by stress-producing emotions like anger, resentment, or fear can be harmful in excess. In chronic stress, the constant production of these substances can lead to illness.

Too often an emotion triggers an automatic habitual stress-producing response, which may cause you to either alienate others or abandon yourself. Managing an emotion means becoming aware of what the emotion is, paying attention to what it is saying, and deciding on the best response. Learning to manage emotions is an important step in preventing or healing chronic degenerative disease and achieving the wellbeing that comes from holistic wellness.

Get Rid of Addictions
An addiction is any repeated behaviour that people feel compelled to carry out despite its negative impact on their lives or the lives of others. The addiction is not to the substance or behaviour but to the chemical released in the brain when compulsively taking alcohol or drugs, spending, exercising, or engaging in other addictive behaviour.

Holistic wellness requires a commitment to conscious awareness. Addicts are not acting consciously, but are generally responding to subconscious feelings that arise from a belief that they are flawed. Addictive behaviour can change in response to conscious mental effort and new behaviours. The addict must want to change and must pay attention to changing the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions that help maintain the addiction. A holistic practitioner or a 12-step group can provide support and guidance.

Reach Out for Support
Support systems can help you through difficult times in life. Support may be formal, such as that from support groups or a holistic practitioner, or informal from friends and family, colleagues, clubs or other groups.

Sharing fears and feelings can be helpful and reassuring. Knowing you are not alone is in itself very comforting, and others who have been through a similar experience may help by modeling the process of holistic wellness..

Become Your Own Best Friend
Good friends listen calmly and try to understand without judging or blaming. Like good parents they are tolerant and kind and provide unfailing love and support. Everyone needs to be loved and nurtured, and learning how to do this for yourself should be part of your commitment to holistic wellness.

Become aware of how you treat yourself. Do you berate or put yourself down when you do something you don’t like? Frequent negative thoughts about yourself can lead to low self-esteem, while positive regard builds self-esteem. Learn to control negative self-talk by immediately switching to a more supportive loving statement. A holistic practitioner may be helpful in this process.

Find Meaning in Your Life
There is likely no overall meaning to life – each person must find their own. Victor Frankl, holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning believed that every person is a being in search of meaning, a being that is transcending himself, a being capable of acting in love for others. Finding meaning that goes beyond the exterior trappings of life will enable you to feel whole and transcend suffering if these are taken away, and is an important step to holistic wellness.

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