By: Jana Perkins
Not Scientifically Reviewed by Dr. Eeks
Personal well-being is, of course, highly relevant and valuable for everyone – as there isn’t a person out there, in all likelihood, who doesn’t want to live the best life they can, and to enjoy the feeling of thriving and being happy and content on a day-to-day basis.
At the same time, though, many of the practises that people habitually engage in, in order to help to support a sense of well-being, are misplaced or end up at least being unsustainable.
When people habitually and obsessively post to social media they are, in a sense, seeking the validation of others in the form of likes, shares, comments, and so on, in order to boost their sense of wellbeing.
On the other hand, there are a variety of different well-being-supporting tips that tend to have a much deeper, more significant, and more sustainable positive impact – and that everyone should consider looking into, at least to some degree.
These practises are “holistic,” in the sense that they help to promote a positive balance between different elements of the self – mind, body, and spirit. Many of these holistic practises are also innately appealing, because they emphasise and support a degree of balance with regards to overall life.
Here are a handful of holistic well-being tips that everyone should try out.
Support stress reduction with a nourishing diet and herbal supplements
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but the degree of stress you experience – and the length of time that you experience any given form of stress – can vary dramatically, and is always subject to a wide range of different lifestyle factors.
Being under chronic stress is extremely detrimental for all sorts of different reasons, and in all sorts of different ways.
When you are chronically stressed, the elevated levels of stress hormones in your body make it significantly more difficult for you to focus. They cause you to judge other people’s intent as more hostile than it actually is. They make it difficult for you to think, and they impair your memory recall. And, of course, they negatively impact your immune system, and can contribute to the development of all sorts of serious health conditions.
At the same time, stress obviously just feels bad and can significantly undermine your sense of well-being by robbing you of the peace, joy, and presence that contributes to making life so much more fulfilling and upbeat.
While stress is, in many cases, a result of external factors in your life such as a personal tragedy, or insecurity in your job, things like your diet also play a major role in how activated your stress response becomes, and how effectively you are able to manage stress as a whole.
Certain diets that have been popular in recent times may significantly contribute to elevated stress levels. In particular, low-carb diets can be a real culprit here. These kinds of diets are also often deficient in essential nutrients that help to mitigate stress – such as the mineral magnesium. And it doesn’t seem to be the case that just supplementing with pills and powders has anywhere near the same effect as having a well balanced diet.
To more effectively manage your stress levels, eat a nutritious diet high in whole food carbohydrate sources and whole plant foods in general.
In addition to this, you may benefit significantly from taking certain herbal remedies that have been used for centuries if not millennia around the world, to help combat stress.That said, it’s important to get those supplements from reliable suppliers, as it is a completely unregulated field. The adaptogenic maca herb, for example, may help balance the body’s stress hormone levels, and many people find it helpful for maintaining a greater overall sense of calm, peace, and well-being. The more you can remain in a state of calm and balance your stress levels in this way, the better chance you have of thriving across the various different domains of your life, on a day-to-day basis.
Fix your circadian rhythm and change your relationship with caffeinated beverages
All around the world today, many people are chronically sleep deprived, and end up trying to compensate for this fact by consuming vast quantities of caffeinated beverages. Of course, those caffeinated beverages then lead to less restful sleep, and a vicious cycle gets established.
Sleep is undeniably one of the fundamental pillars of well-being.
Researchers have found that when individuals are sleep deprived, even just moderately, their blood sugar control becomes so poor after about a week that they would be classified as pre-diabetic if they were tested at that point.
Sleep deprivation also causes elevated stress, a significant increase in rumination, and slowed reaction time, in addition to being extremely detrimental for health.
Changing your relationship with caffeinated beverages, and improving your sleep, should be a priority for absolutely everyone.
Begin by setting a regular sleep and wake schedule to the best of your ability, where you allow enough time for yourself to get the recommended eight hours of slumber.
While it might not work to completely cut caffeine out of your life, you may nonetheless want to consider swapping out your coffee for tea or Yerba Mate, because some research seems to show that coffee has a worse effect on sleep than some other caffeinated beverages.
Anecdotally, many people do report that they feel less anxious and “jangled” after drinking caffeinated tea, than they do after drinking a cup of coffee.
Take up a physical mindfulness practises such as yoga or Tai Chi
“Mindfulness” refers to a state of mind and attention where you are present with your experience, and where your awareness occupies the present moment, instead of being distracted by the cycle of your thoughts, ruminations, and so on.
Mindfulness is said by many advocates to be one of the most beneficial ways of encountering and interacting with the world on an everyday basis. It unlocks the magic of the world to you in a direct and present way, and allows you to truly savour life moment by moment, instead of being trapped in your own wandering thoughts.
Some research also seems to show that mindfulness can have real health benefits.
Meditation is one practice that people engage in to get into a state of mindfulness. But many other people find that physical mindfulness practises such as yoga and tai chi are more appropriate for their temperaments, and these practises come with additional benefits as well.
Yoga, in particular, is a great low impact exercise methodology that can improve flexibility, reduce chronic pain, improve posture and increase muscle balance, strength, and more.
Engage in activities that put you into a flow state as often as possible
A “flow state” is a state of being that is one of the most beneficial and holistic states that a human being can find themselves in.
In psychology, the term refers to a state where an individual is so deeply engaged with a particular activity, and is so thoroughly immersed in it, that their sense of time, and of self, disappears. It is if they become “one” with the activity.
Through research and vast numbers of anecdotal stories and accounts, flow states are thought to be extremely beneficial for the individual sense of well-being, and can even contribute significantly to stress reduction, and to enhanced overall quality of life.
So, how do you get yourself into flow states on a regular basis?
Well, it seems that the way to achieve this is to engage in activities that you find meaningful and interesting, that are difficult enough to keep you focused and engaged, but not difficult enough to frustrate and thwart you. It’s also essential that you shut out distractions while striving to enter into a state of flow.
It’s simply impossible to be in a flow state – or at least to stay in one – if you’re checking your emails or chatting to someone every few minutes.
There are hypothetically a more or less limitless number of different activities that may help you to get into a flow state, but many people find that some of the most rewarding flow state experiences come from engaging in creative hobbies and pastimes, such as creating music, painting, writing, et cetera.
Certain holistic wellness practises like yoga and tai chi are also intimately associated with flow states.
Connect with loved ones on a regular basis and nurture those connections
As human beings, we all need other people in order to truly thrive in this journey we call life.
The modern world often seems almost determined to distract us and to make it more difficult to connect with people directly. But when you can spend more time nurturing connections with your loved ones, and spending more time with them in general, your quality of life will almost certainly improve.
Wherever possible, aim for the most direct forms of contact and communication you can manage with your loved ones, your family, your friends, and even with coworkers and members of the general public.
Living a life of isolation is known to be one of the worst things for individual health and well-being alike.