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What Is A Holistic Approach to Mental Health, and Is It for You?

Dr. Laura Tanzini

Holistic mental health refers to a comprehensive treatment strategy that seeks to address all aspects of an individual’s well-being—mental, physical, and spiritual—rather than merely alleviating symptoms of illness. It is grounded in the philosophy that each aspect of a person’s life is interconnected, and achieving balance among these elements is crucial for true healing and health. It’s an integrative method that leverages the mind-body connection and combines conventional medical therapies and alternative treatments to support overall health and prevent future issues.

Components of a Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Mental Illness

The popularity of holistic treatments has been growing, reflecting a broader acceptance of their many benefits. More people are looking to weave various health practices into a unified approach to address everything from coping skills to pain reduction and management.

Psychological Therapies

Psychological therapies can include traditional treatment options like psychotherapy and counseling, along with modern strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat mental health conditions. These therapies help improve mental health by tackling behavioral patterns, thought processes, and emotional responses, equipping individuals with tools to effectively manage stress and their mental well-being.

Physical Health and Nutrition

Engaging in regular physical activity helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and bolsters overall cognitive function; it can also lead to quicker mental health recovery. Similarly, nutrition plays a significant role; the foods we eat directly impact brain function and, in turn, our mood and mental health. A nutrient-rich diet supports brain health during depression treatment and aids the effectiveness of other self-care and mental health care approaches. These healthy lifestyle habits can boost your immune system and mental health.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

This component embraces practices like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and aromatherapy, which have deep roots in many cultures and have been embraced for their mental health benefits. For example, meditation and yoga have been shown to lower stress and improve emotional regulation, while acupuncture can be effective in helping overcome depression and/or anxiety.

Social and Spiritual Elements

Connecting with others through social factors and engaging in spiritual practices are also integral to holistic mental health. Social interactions help alleviate loneliness and lift our spirits, while spiritual or religious practices can offer a sense of purpose and belonging. For a ready-made social scene designed around holistic mental health, consider a rehabilitation center as a treatment option.

Who Is It For? Assessing If Holistic Mental Health Treatment Is Right for You and Your Mental Health Disorder

Personal Preferences and Beliefs

If you’re considering a holistic approach to mental health, it’s important to reflect on your openness to diverse healing methods. Holistic health incorporates traditional and alternative therapies, so being willing to explore beyond conventional medical treatments is essential. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable integrating practices like meditation, yoga, or herbal supplements into your health routine.

Specific Mental Health Needs

Holistic methods can be particularly beneficial for those dealing with conditions that affect multiple areas of life. For instance, anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders might respond well to a holistic treatment because it addresses not just the mind but also the body and spirit of the whole person.

Gender and socioeconomic status can also have an impact; for instance, women’s mental health needs are often quite different from those of men. Plus, a more integrated treatment plan can also improve conditions that are exacerbated by lifestyle factors, such as poor diet or lack of exercise.

Lifestyle and Practicality

Adopting holistic practices often requires changes to daily routines and possibly even shifts in lifestyle. Consider whether you have the time, resources, and commitment to engage fully with these practices. For some, incorporating regular yoga sessions or preparing nutritionally balanced meals is easily feasible, while for others, such adjustments require more significant planning and effort.

How to Get Started with a Holistic Approach to Mental Health Disorders

Finding the Right Professionals and Services

Look for qualified practitioners who specialize in these holistic medicine approaches—these could be therapists, counselors, or holistic health doctors. There are also residential mental health facilities that focus on holistic health. Exploring their programs could provide a deep dive into what such treatments entail and how they could benefit your specific situation.

Integrating Holistic Practices into Your Daily Life

Start small: You might begin your day with a short meditation or mindfulness exercise. Regular physical activity—which doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership—simple walks in nature can suffice—and a balanced diet rich in nutrients are also foundational. Top inpatient depression treatment centers like Kinder in the Keys can guide you in structuring these routines through their expert programs and professional advice, helping you seamlessly integrate these practices into your life.

Get Holistic Treatment from a Professional for Your Mental Health Issues

Before making significant changes to your treatment plans, consult your doctor for professional medical advice. Discuss your interest in holistic therapies with your doctor or therapist before trying new methods to complement or replace your existing treatments. Remember, holistic methods can range from a daily meditation at home to time at an upscale rehabilitation center. Whichever way you’re leaning, make sure to safely and effectively explore holistic mental health options with guidance from a professional.



Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.