What is a holistic lifestyle? It is defined as a “characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” In the case of health, think of a triangle with three legs: 1) the state of your body; 2) your mental outlook; and 3) your feelings. Each leg of the triangle influences the other two, and vice versa.
Just think of how your feelings may affect your ability to get to the gym and exercise. If you’re depressed, it may be very difficult to get out of bed and hit the treadmill. The lack of exercise makes you feel lethargic. Because you feel lethargic, your outlook becomes less positive. You feel less capable of taking steps toward your dreams. The interplay between body, outlook and feels becomes a negative cycle.
But you can turn it to a positive cycle by focusing on just one leg of the triangle. The health of your body affects both your feelings and outlook. Here’s how.
Exercise: Well-Being and Strength
People need at least 150 minutes of exercise each week — two and a half hours. Why? Well, a good 30-minute workout releases endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Runners, for example, often feel incredibly good after a hard run? Sure, they’re proud of themselves and have had a good time. But the underlying biological reason is that their endorphins were released.
The steady release of endorphins in a regular exercise program will make you feel better. Your mental outlook will improve. As a result, it will become easier and easier to put aside the time to exercise. Holistic health in action.
In addition, of course, 150 minutes of exercise will make you stronger than if you don’t exercise! Your increased muscle tone and agility will make physical activity seem easier. You will have more energy – which again, affects feelings and mental outlook.
Nutrition: Eat Well
Good nutrition also affects mood and state of mind. If you daily food intake is heavy on sugar — candy, cake, or alcohol — you may feel lethargic. Same with a diet heavy in fried foods like French fries and hamburgers. They sit heavily on the stomach and may make you feel very sleepy. Many fried foods are heavily salted. Ultimately, the extra calories and sodium will make you feel tired.
Plus, of course, they simply aren’t healthy. A diet heavy in complex sugars and fried foods can ultimately lead to heart disease (stroke, heart attack), high blood pressure, and diabetes. If it leads to overweight, it can cause arthritis due to the extra stress on joints.
For maximum health, it is wise to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables along with lean meat. Eat bread and pasta sparingly. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables prevents chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also lets you be more alert. The improvement in mood will carry over to your mental outlook.
Sleep: Essential for Overall Health
Sleep is often overlooked as a component of health. But in fact chronic lack of adequate sleep has been proven to be a factor in the development of high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes, as well as depression. Your body needs at least 8 hours per night to repair. When you sleep, your breathing slows down. It relaxes your entire body and you recuperate.
That’s just the health leg of the triangle. We all know how just a few hours of sleep during the night makes us feel: irritable and out of sorts. It has a major effect on how we feel. Getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference between being ruled by irritable emotions and feeling ready to take on the world.
One’s overall mental outlook is also profoundly affected by lack of sleep. Poor sleep causes impaired performance and poor judgement. It has a measurable effect on ability to respond. If your performance on the job suffers as a result of poor sleep habits, it may lead to you developing a sense that all your efforts are futile. As a result, you may stop trying, become depressed…and stop healthy habits.
Sleep is an essential cornerstone to all healthy efforts, as well as a buttress of feeling good and having a positive mental outlook.
If you want to create a holistic lifestyle, it’s important to start with your body’s health. Get enough exercise, eat the right kind of foods, and plan to get sufficient sleep every night.
About the Author
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for "The Drifter Collective." Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.