What is Holistic Health?

Updated: Jul 11, 2018

What do you think of when you hear the word "health"?

Physical fitness? The Doctor? Green food?

What about when you hear the phrase "holistic health" ?

Natural? Alternative Medicine? Hippy dippy non-sense?

Adding the word "holistic" to just about anything tends to give it a different connotation... something a bit out there or odd, perhaps. What if I made the statement that holistic health is not weird or even different but that, in fact,

All health is holistic health

When we consider the facets of health, we typically include:

Social, emotional, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and financial

Yet, we have a tendency to consider them individually, as unique and separate streams under the health umbrella. Aspects that are "fixed" and addressed one by one based on different goals and values.

This is where the holistic part comes in. Holistic is defined by Google as:

characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

In other words, holistic health indicates that the various health facets are not separate entities but interwoven and inextricable- they are part of a whole health puzzle that is not complete unless considered together.

Take these examples into consideration:

>When we have poor emotional health, we often experience physical manifestations: digestion issues, headaches, sweaty palms, "butterflies in our stomach"

> When we feel bad physically, we feel down emotionally, avoid social outlets, perhaps miss work which impacts us financially

>Maybe we have been spending a lot of time going out with friends socially which feels great emotionally but, in the process, we've spent a little too much money, drank and ate a little too much, or ignored our physical fitness routines

In short- if one facet of our health is not, well, healthy then it is quite likely another is getting off kilter too.

So what does this mean for our (holistic) health? Well it means a lot of things, but for the sake of time and convenience the big message is:

Health is a fine balance, that includes a lot of parts, to maintain. The balance of our holistic health impacts our daily lives, our future goals, and even our perspective on the world.

This statement may seem overwhelming but, really, this makes the "work" easier for us. It means that the effort we put into creating and maintaining health in one sphere will inevitably positively impact another.

--> With this view, the benefit we receive from putting time and energy into one area of health in our life will provide us motivation in another aspect.


From another lens, take this story into consideration: maybe thinking of one health facet is a bit too overwhelming right now... it just feels too overwhelming to focus on those few extra pounds our doctor said was bad for our health... so instead, we focus on environmental health because that seems more doable and joy-inducing (good for emotional health too!). We head outside, find a community garden, and decide to plant some bushes that will help the bee population. We find joy in getting our hands dirty and contributing to the environment so next we plant some veggies. Soon enough, we've contributed (in small but meaningful ways) to not only environmental health but physical health (eating veggies we planted, breaking a sweat while gardening). Maybe we even made some friends while in the community garden- adding to our social health! All because we made a small, enjoyable effort towards environmental health.

We may create goals or seek professional support from a Life Coach, therapist, doctor, etc... in order to "fix" one aspect of our health that we think needs improvement. To not consider how this "problem aspect" is just a portion of our holistic health, that it all needs to be reflected on intentionally, is a disservice to your health and to your deserved success. As a Coach and client partnership, we will work together to find a more holistically healthy balance that will help you reach your natural potential.

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