How to Embrace the 5 Pillars of Holistic Living : In recent years, the idea of holistic living has been gaining more and more popularity in the Western world. It’s a buzzword used to sell skincare items and eating fads, and it’s often incorporated with conversations around mental health and physical wellbeing, too.
All of this talk about holistic living can make it hard to understand what it actually is. You don’t have to sell all of your possessions or completely cut out french fries from your diet to live a holistic life. You just have to look within and start aligning your thoughts, words, and actions with the five pillars of holistic living.
The following is a closer look at each of the pillars and how to start being more mindful about these areas of your life.
Take a moment to think about everything you’ve eaten in the past 24 hours. Ask yourself when your last workout was and how well you’ve been sleeping lately. Consider the amount of time you spend sitting or standing for extended periods, and any/all drugs you may be using.
How are these things serving your body?
Are they improving your physical state or causing it harm?
If the majority of the actions you do to take care of your body are improving it, you’re already well on your way to a holistic life. Now, you may want to add in other mindful ways to take care of your body such as holistic dentistry or taking up yoga.
But if there are many areas in which you could do better by your physical self, pick one or two to start prioritizing more. Then start incorporating additional good habits once you have the first ones down.
Also, remember that life is a balance. As you grow in your understanding of physical well-being from a holistic perspective, don’t force yourself to completely cut out your favorite indulgent foods or to never have a lazy day on the couch again. Just try not to make that your norm!
Some consider the physical aspect of holistic living to be the easiest because it’s tangible. It’s easy to see and feel results after a workout or from choosing a healthy meal over a not-so-healthy choice. It’s much harder to dive in the emotional pillar and work through years of various experiences – good and bad – all over again.
This is the best place to start working on your emotional self. By reflecting on the past and the reactions you had to certain things that have happened before, you can start to better understand your current emotional state and the way you react to things now.
You can work on being more patient or more compassionate. You can chip away at resentment or anger you may be holding onto. You can practice forgiveness of others and of yourself and start to create a better sense of peace of mind for yourself.
Speaking of peace of mind – how is your mental health? Are you constantly stressed from things in your work life or in your personal situations? Do you find yourself always on “go”, but rarely ever taking a step back to enjoy the here and now?
If so, the mental aspect of holistic living could be a great area to explore more of when taking on this lifestyle. This pillar is a bit complex because it ties into all the others deeply. After all, your thoughts from your actions in terms of everything you do – from choosing to go to the gym or not to choosing forgiveness over anger.
However, sometimes it’s best to let the mind rest and not think about anything at all. With things like guided meditation or thoughtful rest and relaxation, you can take care of the mind by letting it unwind from time to time. On the other hand, it’s also good to work on keeping this pillar sharp with things like books, intelligent conversations or forms of entertainment, and personal reflection.
As you learn more about the emotional and mental pillars of holistic living, the spiritual becomes easier to understand and incorporate into your life. Note that being more spiritual doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become a super religious person – and it’s not pointing you toward one certain religion over another, either.
To be spiritual, in the most basic sense, means to live with an understanding that there is a greater force at work in the world. One that is guiding you and working in your favor, even when certain experiences may try to say otherwise.
This force may be Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, or the stars to you. It may be a mix of different traditional religions that you embrace. Or, it may be none of them at all, just a simple, optimistic understanding that life is beyond your control.
This force is also working for everyone else around you and wants the best for them too. So, part of being spiritual is to recognize the spirit in others and acting kindly towards them.
The fifth pillar of holistic living is all about interactions with other people. Family members, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners are all intimately mixed into our lives. They affect our mental and emotional health, and sometimes our physical and spiritual as well. This is for the better at times and for the worse at others.
You have the same effect on everyone around you. Just as it pays to be mindful of those who you have close to you in your life and the good they bring into it, the social aspect of holistic living is also about making sure you bring good to others’ lives.
The Journey to Holistic Living
You can’t suddenly have super healthy physical habits and a regular meditation practice and no more bad influences in your life overnight. Holistic living has to be carefully introduced to your life in every way. It’s something you have to work on consistently, be patient with, and continue to encourage.
The journey is actually never over – it’s one that will always teach you more and more about yourself and the world around you.
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