I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again…
What is health to you?
To me, health is a resource that allows one to live a happier, more vibrant life with loved ones. This should be in alignment with one’s values and purpose, not based on external pressures for a perfect body or flawless nutritional protocol.
Over the preceding several articles, I’ve focused on a whole person approach to wellness that integrates the mind, body, spirit, and promotes social connections. Several techniques and resources have been discussed.
- a holistic health framework which consists of relationships, engagement, vitality, accomplishment, meaning, and positive emotions
- joyful movement to nurture the mind and boost brain function
- EFT and HeartMath for emotional and social wellbeing
- the Health at Every Size philosophy of staying healthy in one’s body through nourishing and nurturing it, not obsessing on body size and participating in body shaming
- providing resources for staying healthy in a chemical world through clean food, safe and non-toxic personal care and household products, and quality water
Now, I will complete our wellness series with more information on the vital role of the mind, emotions, and spirituality for mind-body balance. Topics include:
- Mindset as medicine
- Spirituality in healthcare
- The benefits of laughter on health
- Essential oils for mental health and addiction
- The healing power of love
We’ve got a lot to cover…
Let’s start with the power of the mind…
The Importance of Mindset as Medicine
I believe that it is possible to have healthcare that truly empowers the patient and allows all individuals to flourish. To me, this would be through an integrative model that incorporates a broad vision of health and personalized wellness goals.
This is in stark contrast to what our current sick care system provides. America’s expensive and ineffective medical model is mostly focused on symptom suppression and disease management. The results have been dismal.
We shouldn’t have to settle for a type of medicine that extends lifespan but only results in more chronic diseases to manage. Rather, we can strive for a longer health span and become more vibrant and happier as we gracefully move through life.
In my previous two-part series, I reviewed how the body has an innate and prevailing healing potential that you can tap into, at any time. It lies within the power of your mind.
In part I, I explored the twists and turns of traveling from being a passive patient to a participant in whole-body healing. In a follow-up video, I discussed how your mindset and beliefs can help you achieve the optimal health you deserve.
- The placebo effect
- The scientific evidence of the efficacy of the placebo effect
- The healing trio of belief, therapeutic partnerships, and mindset
- Changing your mindset with essential oils
- Spontaneous remission studies and commentaries
Be sure to watch this video with fully referenced notes if you missed it.
You may also want to rewatch it to reinforce your beliefs in the body’s capacity to heal.
Integrating Spirituality and Religion into Healthcare
Can your spiritual and religious beliefs impact your mental and physical health?
If you’ve caught my previous articles on the connection between these topics, you probably won’t be surprised by the answer.
They most certainly do!
At the end of 2021 and into 2022, I explored how religion and spirituality are important factors in many people’s lives. These beliefs also play a powerful role in treatment and wellness outcomes.
In the conclusion to my series on this subject, I explored in more detail how spirituality and religion literally impact our mind and body.
- The mind-body-spirit connection
- How religion impacts mental health
- Using integrative psychiatry to support one’s brain for better emotional and spiritual outcomes
- How spirituality impacts coping skills, stress management, and optimization of health
- The connection between integrative modalities, such as essential oils, and spiritual and religious practices
After reading this article, you will feel hopeful that a healthcare system that incorporates the whole person and integrates modalities that support mind-body-spirit wellness is becoming more mainstream.
Click here to read more.
Enhancing Your Health with Laughter
Wouldn’t it be great if one of our health goals was to laugh more?
There’s been so much trauma, grief, and loss through the past few years.
It’s been hard to stay upbeat; however, there’s power in allowing for a little levity as times.
In fact, sometimes humor can be “the spoonful of sugar” to help ease the body and help the stress levels go down!
Thorne Research provided an amazing review of the science-backed reasons why we should laugh.
I have listed them out below.
The Short-term Benefits of Laughter
- Stimulates your body organs by enhancing intake of oxygen.
- Activates and relieves the stress response. Laugher increases then decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. It may also engage the relaxation response of your nervous system in the following ways:
– It soothes tension by accelerating circulation and relaxing muscles.
– Laughter increases serotonin, which is a key chemical that supports mood, well-being, happiness, and other bodily processes.
– It increases endorphins which relieves pain and stress.
The Long-term Effects of Laughter
- Relieves pain through the release of endorphins.
- Reduces stress hormones.
- Improves defense and repair in the body- “feelings of joy, laughter, and positive thoughts can release chemical messengers called neuropeptides that fight stress and aid the immune system in preventing or fighting illnesses. “
- Improves relationships through a feeling of connectedness and shared experience. However, it can cause issues if it is at another’s expense.
- Protects the heart – research shows laughter has been linked to many heart-protective benefits.
- Improves mood.
How to Revitalize Your Sense of Humor
- Spend time with funny friends.
- Find humor in your day – two words “cat videos!” Other options include photos that make you smile, a humorous podcast, a comedy show, or just being silly with friends, family, and pets.
- Practice laughing – it may be forced at first, but then can turn into a giggle fest! Once you get the process going, you’ll receive many benefits.
Now that’s funny!
When have you last had a good belly laugh?
Now’s as good a time as any!
Essential Oils for Mental Health and Addictions
During this moment in history there is a surge in mental health issues. Addictions can rear their heads as people seek ways to cope with overwhelm.
In a previous series, I explored how essential oils and spirituality can support addiction recovery and help one cope. I also discussed how essential oils specifically can address addiction. Below are specific posts on these topics.
- The Science of Essential Oils for Addiction – this post reviews various rodent and small human trials that show support for using essential oils to help release dependence on nicotine, benzodiazepines, opioids, and alcohol. Some studies also report their utilization with “food abuse.” (CW)
- Dealing with Addictions During the Holidays and How Essential Oils and Spirituality Can Help One Cope
- “Addictions” and Essential Oils: Introduction and How Essential Oils Can Support Healthier Habits
- Can Essential Oils Help Change Unwanted Behavior and Balance the Brain? Case Studies
- Essential Oils for Back-to-School Stress and Emotional Health: 2021– this offers a compilation of my previous posts specific to emotional and mental health and how essential oils promote brain health.
- How a Combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Integrative, Natural, and Naturopathic Medicine Techniques Can Help to Rewire the Brain and Address Anxiety and Mental Wellness
Essential oils modulate our neurochemistry, emotions, and biochemistry which are all aspects that impact addictions. Please consider incorporating them into your treatment plan if you or someone you know is struggling with emotional or mental health imbalances. (Always check with your prescriber first!)
How Love is Medicine
Finally, I want to conclude this discussion on wellness with a message that is often not expressed in medicine…the healing power of love.
Although I am in no way an authority on faith, religion, sociology, or politics, I do consider myself well-versed in the language of the human body. This ability to explore the mysteries of the universe and human body is a form of love to me.
Because love is medicine.
1. Love promotes cognitive and physical health. Proposed mechanisms include stimulating brain areas related to focus and attention and decreasing the stress response.
2. Love is a biological process that is dynamic and bidirectional based on social relationships and brain signaling. Social interactions trigger changes in mood and cognitive state through changes in neurochemistry. Oxytocin, “the bonding hormone,” interacts with many bodily systems and mediators that further influences emotions.
3. Love has been found in the brain! It is likely related to cognitive behavior, not just emotion. According to a 2006 article:
…localization of romantic love within subcortico-cortical reward, motivation and emotion systems in the human brain has suggested that love is a goal-directed drive with predictable facilitation effects on cognitive behavior, rather than a pure emotion.
4. Love is complex neurobiology. It activates activities in the limbic brain. This can result in effecting the release of oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, endogenous morphine, and nitric oxide.
In a 2005 article the authors stated how this relates to healing in medicine:
Yet, a broad basis of common signaling and beneficial neurobiological features exists with connection to the love concept, thereby combining physiological aspects related to maternal, romantic or sexual love and attachment with other healthy activities or neurobiological states. Medical practice can make use of this concept, i.e., mind/body or integrative medicine. Thus, love, pleasure, and lust have a stress-reducing and health-promoting potential, since they carry the ability to heal or facilitate beneficial motivation and behavior. In addition, love and pleasure ensure the survival of individuals and their species. After all, love is a joyful and useful activity that encompasses wellness and feelings of well-being.
Click on this link to read more on how love is medicine.
Concluding Remarks On Mindful Medicine
Obtaining wellness in all areas of your life can be a lifelong pursuit. The intention and reason for accomplishing it can be your leading force to achieve it.
I hope this series has helped you understand that health and wellness is more than exercise and diet and has expanded it into subjects that have a lot more to do with well-being, emotional health, and social connections.
Another factor we need to consider is the socioeconomic impact on health, and this will likely only be accomplished at the community and sociological levels. I explored this previously when I highlighted how naturopathic medicine is aiming to transform healthcare on the global and national level.
I’d love to hear from you about how your viewpoint on health and wellness has shifted, or not, throughout the years and within this series.
I encourage you to think about how you can take the tools and concepts here to create more wellness and enhance your life.
Please share your thoughts below and let me know what topics you’d like me to explore more deeply to help you in achieving your highest state of wellness!
Soon, I will have an invitation for you that truly incorporates all these aspects of health.
I’d love for you to join me and allow me to guide you in the process of becoming a more vibrant, healthier, happier person! Stay tuned!
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.