In American culture, we may simply get a prescription from a psychiatrist when we are struggling with our mental health. Medication may help an individual cope and numb their symptoms, but it will not address the root cause. The term “Holistic” means to treat the whole of something or somebody; Not just a part. Instead of using psychiatric drugs to alter your central nervous system, you can try science backed, holistic practices to better manage your mental health. Here are some holistic practices you should incorporate in to your life, to improve and heal your mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Mental illness and trauma manifest in the body. Physical symptoms can include constant fatigue from a sedentary lifestyle, insomnia and nightmares, or body aches and pains from being in an anxious state. A holistic practice you can incorporate in your life to better your mental health is exercise.
Exercise helps boost your self-esteem, motivation, energy, and cognitive function. A simple 30-minute aerobic exercise like walking, dancing, cycling, or swimming will induce blood circulation in your brain, releasing feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Exercise helps to regulate and improve your sleep and mental alertness. Overtime, after regularly engaging in consistent exercise, you will notice the following changes:
– Your body’s reaction to stress and fear is reduced;
– Feelings of depression and anxiety are more manageable,
– Your self-esteem is better than ever before.
However, consistency is key to produce more serotonin and dopamine. The more you stay active, the better you will feel.
2. Herbal Medicine
After the Global Pandemic hit, it was recorded that 1 in 5 American’s take some form of psychiatric medicine. Medication is not for everyone, whether that be for personal or financial reasons. Herbal medicine is an alternative tool that has been used to heal people for hundreds and thousands of years. Here are some examples of herbal remedies for anxiety and depression.
To help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, try Ashwagandha. This herb has been growing in popularity over recent years and can be taken in many different forms like capsules, gummies, or in a cup of tea. Studies prove that Ashwagandha lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and improves cognitive function and memory over time.
Another known herbal medicine for anxiety and depression is tinctures. Tinctures are powerful remedies extracted from herbs and taken orally. A commonly used herb/tincture used to help manage feelings of anxiety and depression is Chamomile. Instead of taking Lexapro for example, try digesting Chamomile regularly for about 6 weeks. Your results may be just as effective, if not more.
As described by doctors, yoga is preventative medicine. The practice of yoga has different benefits on your mental health than exercise because it is more spiritual and meditative. It is about aligning your mind, body, soul, and spirit in a restorative way. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression, yoga is a great holistic practice to release negative and damaging feelings.
A 2021 Harvard Health study looked at the MRI scans of people who practiced yoga regularly and found that they had a thicker cerebral cortex, the part of your brain that processes information, than those who didn’t practice yoga at all. Deep, slow breathing is used in yoga, activating your parasympathetic nervous system. This puts your mind and body in a relaxed state which is different from the sympathetic nervous system, associated with fight or flight. Yoga encourages mindfulness, body awareness, calmness, presence, and a positive outlook on life. Yoga is more accessible than you may assume. You can search YouTube for free classes, practice on your own, or find a studio in your community to join.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been healing people for hundreds and thousands of years. The purpose of acupuncture therapy is to harmonize your body’s energy and to prevent illness. Common uses of acupuncture are for migraines, back pain, arthritis, and now for addiction and mental health.
Acupuncture for mental health works by stimulating areas of the body that are responsible for producing emotion-managing hormones. It was found that acupuncture increases the production of serotonin and noradrenaline, which are two hormones that run low in patients with anxiety and depression. The World Health Organization even recommends acupuncture therapy to treat depression and anxiety, finding that it deactivates the analytical brain and alters the brain’s mood chemistry to combat negative states. Acupuncture can work on its own, or in combination with other holistic practices to better your mental health,
5. Working with a Holistic Therapist
The best thing we can do for our mental health is to ask for help when we need it. In recent years, therapy and mental health counseling has become a much larger conversation. More Americans are in therapy than ever before, as Telehealth virtual therapy has created so much accessibility. When choosing a virtual therapist, you should make sure that they use holistic practices and approaches.
Holistic therapists use a whole-person approach, combining scientific and alternative therapies to better the mental health and wellbeing of their client. For example, the combination of weekly therapy, exercise, and acupuncture. Holistic therapy achieves long-term results and recovery, as it builds healthy habits that a person can continue with after their treatment. A holistic therapist can be spiritually informed, helping you find purpose and peace within yourself. To speak with a holistic therapist, check out healedandeducated.com and begin your journey to a happier and healthier life today.
Crawford, L., & Wire, N. M. (2021, April 14). 1 in 5 Americans on prescribed mental health meds amid covid-19, study finds. WFXRtv. https://www.wfxrtv.com/news/health/coronavirus/1-in-5-americans-on-prescribed-mental-health-meds-amid-covid-19-study-finds/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20study%20from,health%20medication%20during%20the%20pandemic.
Holistic therapy: Definition, types, & benefits: Oxford treatment. Oxford Treatment Center. (2023, June 9). https://oxfordtreatment.com/addiction-treatment/therapy/holistic/#:~:text=Holistic%20therapists%20focus%20on%20a,%2C%20and%20spiritual%20well%2Dbeing.&text=They%20might%20use%20expressive%20arts,as%20yoga%20or%20Tai%20Chi.
Holistic. HOLISTIC | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/holistic
M;, S. N. C. S. (n.d.). Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: A literature review. Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18682338/
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
Yoga for better mental health. Harvard Health. (2021, June 12). https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-for-better-mental-health
1. NC Holistic Therapist
If you are interested in working with a holistic therapist, and you are a resident of NC, feel free to consider checking out one of our therapists: Timisha
If you are interested in holistic tinctures, made with natural herbs, please check out our herbal shop on healedandeducated.com
3. Spiritual Coaching
Sometimes we do not need therapy because there isn’t any trauma, or mental health diagnoses that need to be addressed. However, we may still need support, and possibly a coach to assist you through your holistic and/or spiritual journey. Consider working with spiritual life coach.
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The Author: Amanda Morgan
This article was written by Amanda Morgan. Any questions concerning the article should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Site Owner
Timisha is a Therapist, Life Coach, Educator, and strong Mental Health and Social Justic Advocate. As the Founder & Owner of Healed and Educated, her goal is to raise awareness about mental health, empower those who are struggling, and provide valuable access to multiple levels of care. This platform is a place where you can find information as well as services. If you are interested in working with Timisha as a therapy or Life Coach Client follow the link below