What is Holistic Mental Health?

Although holistic health is a fairly common term in the global wellbeing community, a related phrase is starting to get more and more people talking. Holistic mental health takes a wider stance on mental health with a predominant focus on all-round maintenance, rather than just trying to fix specific symptoms as they pop up. Today, I’d like to touch a little bit on this interesting term, looking at how it links to the general idea of holistic health and the ways it can be used to find mental health health “shortcuts” in your own life. I’d also like to mention a few tools that can help build sustainable holistic mental health going into the future.

General Holistic Health

Although definitions vary across countries and cultures, a typical explanation of holistic health touches on five key aspects of wellbeing, namely physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health. Leading a lifestyle driven with holistic health will typically try to address each of these areas as part of finding more balance in life. Instead of trying to “tick the boxes” for each individual part, the right approach to holistic health goes about achieving it in more of a gentle way. This often involves carefully nudging yourself in a different direction when you feel that a specific part within the five different areas is starting to drift a little bit.

Delving into Holistic Mental Health

Keeping the general definition of holistic health in mind, it’s possible to apply a similar principle to holistic mental health, which considers a broader spectrum of both the good, bad and everything in between pointing directly to your experience with mental health. Rather than just focusing on the “bad” symptoms, and trying to plug holes and gaps, holistic mental health encourages embracing things that contribute to and those that take away from good mental health. By doing so, you’re able to reach a level of self-awareness that will soon trickle into the way you approach your daily tasks, general routine and how you prioritise self care across your week. Holistic mental health embraces the fluidity and state of flux associated with mental health, keeping in mind that there are many things that can tip the scales in different directions.

Finding “Shortcuts” to Improved Mental Health

With the right attitude towards holistic mental health, and understanding which activities and thought patterns contribute towards both good and bad mental states, it’s possible to find a couple of your own “shortcuts” related to making improvements to your mental health. This may be as simple as researching the foods that help to curb anxiety (apples are great for this!), which many people experience as a symptom leading towards a dip in mental health. Another good example is drinking alcohol. If you believe that doing so is an activity that numbs a bigger symptom (instead of you just enjoying the taste of alcohol, or the social aspect of having a celebratory glass of champagne), prioritising holistic mental health will help you to dig a bit deeper, healing the core issues in order to move beyond the things that are holding you back in a way.

Additional Support for the Holistic Mental Health Journey

Going about tackling these core issues can be a daunting prospect, which is why a realistic view of holistic mental health should always involve working with a professional of some sorts. Trained counsellors and therapists are two “tools” that can help get the process started. Although there may be a stigma attached to seeing either, it's worth looking at them as investments in your self care, the way you show up in the world, and the way you connect with others. If it’s easier for you to get started with a familiar face, you can also work directly with me during a holistic health coaching session. Together, we’ll discover the key areas affecting your holistic mental health, explore some additional tips for how to deal with your specific situation, and ultimately collaborate in order for you to find a more joyful way of showing up in the world.