Chiropractors are what’s known as “holistic” healthcare providers. If you look up the definition of holistic, you’ll get two slightly different answers. The definition that applies to medicine is:
“Characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.”
While this definition is an accurate description of holistic healthcare, the other more general definition of the word holistic might be even better:
“Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”
How often have you heard mental health or mental illness referred to as if it occupied a completely different space than your physical body? This way of speaking is relatively modern. For thousands of years, most cultures recognized that the body and mind are intricately linked. Now modern science has uncovered how our immune systems, nutrition, and genes affect our brains and how our attitudes and behaviors affect our overall health. Unfortunately, our culture has been slow to catch up to science.
The growing recognition of the connection between mental and physical health (otherwise known as health) has led many to prioritize their mental wellbeing and strive to find peace amid the turmoil of modern life. January 3rd is International Mind-Body Wellness Day. It was established by best-selling author and TEDx speaker Jaya Jaya Myra, who healed herself of fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression through holistic healthcare.
Here’s how you can practice Mind-Body Wellness all year long:
Manage Stress (It is Possible)
Chronic stress is toxic to both body and mind. Whenever someone says that stress should be avoided or managed, it’s easy to roll your eyes and think, yeah, right. The truth is, it’s not possible to entirely avoid stressful situations; life is full of them. There are some moments when it is appropriate and healthy to feel stress or other negative emotions like grief or anger.
When stress occurs nearly every day and is allowed to build up, it can cause significant health problems. Our cardiovascular health, neurological health, and immune system can break down under the weight of months or years of chronic stress. It’s important to realize that our stress is caused by things that happen to us and by our reactions to stressful events. Two people can have the same experience, and one may feel overwhelmed and angry, while the other shrugs it off and moves on with their day.
When your boss is breathing down your neck, or someone cuts you off in traffic, you get to decide how you react. We also get to decide how long to hang on to our stress. Maybe work is always stressful, but you don’t have to bring that home with you. You could use your transit time to listen to music or a podcast you enjoy, or think about how much you will enjoy spending time with your family when you get home.
Even though our phones have put the internet at our fingertips, we can and should still set limits for ourselves. If the news stresses you out, resolve to only look at it once a week. After you look at it, take a deep breath and remember that bad things have always gone on in the world, but you can still control your behavior and many aspects of your own life.
Listen To Your Body
Our bodies always communicate with us, but we often get too busy to listen. If you feel down, anxious or tired, don’t deny or ignore these signals. Your body may be telling you that you need to take a break, get more sleep or talk to your doctor. Many serious health conditions begin with vague symptoms that people ignore. Take a few minutes each day to think about how you are feeling. You could write a short journal entry each night or morning to track your physical and emotional health. This practice can help you spot patterns and recognize significant changes from your status quo.
Journaling also reduces stress and can help you make better decisions about what you need in life. For instance, if you notice you typically feel more anxious or tired on the last day of your weekend, you may need to improve your work-life balance. If you always feel off after a certain type of meal, you may have a food allergy or intolerance. When you pay attention to how you feel, you can take action quickly and avoid needless suffering.
Find a Way to Meditate
Hundreds of studies back the health benefits of meditation. Meditation has been used for thousands of years to calm the body and mind and find spiritual connection. People seeking relief from depression, anxiety, digestive problems, and other systemic health issues can benefit from a daily meditative practice. When you meditate, your heart rate slows, blood pressure drops, and stress hormones decrease. Regular meditation trains your brain to react to stress more healthily and can help you feel more grounded.
There is no one correct way to meditate. Traditional meditation practices that involve sitting still, with your eyes closed and focusing on a sound or on clearing your mind are helpful for some. Other people find physical movement to be more relaxing. Try doing a gentle yoga routine that focuses and relaxes your mind. Any repetitive, soothing task, such as hand washing dishes, ironing, crocheting, or gardening, can also become a form of meditation. The key to meditation of any kind is to allow your thoughts to come and go as they will, without holding or judging them. This acts as an antidote to the cyclical overthinking that is often responsible for stress.
Mind-Body Healthcare in Florence, KY
At All Star Chiropractic, we embody the spirit of holistic healthcare. We offer safe and effective treatments for pain, as well as preventative care and lifestyle advice. Schedule a consultation today and make us part of your wellness journey.