How Can We Integrate Mental Health & Holistic Wellness? 8/16/2023

Written by Jill Clingan

There are multiple internet posts, magazine articles, and self-help books written about integrating mental health with our overall holistic wellness. It’s a wonder we are not all walking poster children for mental health since we have multiple tips and ideas and answers right at our fingertips. Yet…many of us still struggle with aligning wellness and our mental health.

One reason we may struggle is that so many of the posts and articles and books claim that if we just do these five things, take these five supplements, or eat these five foods…we will be happy, peaceful, and whole. It is not that simple, though. We are all unique beings with unique struggles and strengths. If a mental health guru promises you that all your anxiety will melt away if you just drink her special recipe for a spinach smoothie, yet you utterly hate spinach…I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t feel less anxiety after choking down that concoction. Even psychiatric medications respond to different people differently, and whatever medication your best friend takes that has helped relieve her depression may not (although it might!) help yours.

I think the task, and it can be a difficult one, is to find the path that works for YOU. It can be an arduous task, for sure, and you will likely try some things that don’t help you one bit, but if you just keep trying, some things I will, I promise, stick. For example, I read one time that vigorous aerobic exercise could help my intense anxiety, so for a long time I got up at 5:00 am and tried to sweat away my anxiety. Turns out, that doesn’t work for me. I need something gentler for my anxiety, and for me, that thing is walking in nature and practicing yoga.

While of course experts are beneficial (and sometimes absolutely necessary) to help align our wellness and mental health, I want to encourage you to also listen to yourself. What, deep in your soul, do you think might help you? If something seems compelling to you and draws you in, give it a try. There’s also a good chance you might not want to do something, even though your instincts are telling you that that very thing might help! I knew for years, deep in my soul, that yoga would help me with anxiety, and yet I resisted it. Finally, I started practicing yoga, and finally, some of my anxiety started to untangle itself. So pay attention to any resistance you feel to any ideas that you have, but don’t necessarily dismiss those ideas. You can always tell yourself you will try something for a week or two weeks or a month and then, if there’s still resistance, it’s okay to stop and try something new.

I came up with a list of things that help me with my mental health. Keep in mind, as noted all throughout this post, that we are all different! What works for me could very well not work for you, and that’s okay! But perhaps something from this list will spark interest or, even better, help you come up with new ideas on your own:

  • Yoga

  • Walks in nature

  • Journaling

  • Reading

  • Eating healthy food

  • Anti-anxiety medication

  • Therapy

  • Spending time with my animals

  • Maintaining meaningful relationships and having meaningful conversations

What about you? What is your soul telling you might help you integrate mental health and wellness? 

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