Mindset and Holistic Health: What’s serving you, and what isn’t?
Dr. Eric Viegas, ND
I often have people with chronic illnesses approach me for treatment. Sometimes, they do quite well with just minor lifestyle and nutritional changes. These treatments can be thought of as addressing an underlying, physical, cause.
However, I have also treated cases that require healing of a deeper underlying cause.
Our minds and bodies are very closely connected to one another, and their influence on each other should not be overlooked.
There are numerous clinical studies emphasizing the importance of diet, exercise, and stress management when it comes to a healthy mood balance, but what about the other way around?
What about your mindset? What do you focus on in your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours?
Can the connection between your physical health and your mindset (that is, your emotional health) be the underlying cause of your distress?
A good example of this is insomnia.
Chronic insomnia is a common problem for many Canadians. Since supplements are easy to get over the counter, I find most people self-prescribe remedies to help themselves sleep. In some cases, the self-prescription may work, but it will not deal directly with the underlying cause of insomnia if you don’t do the work of asking “why?”.
When you are trying to fall asleep how do you feel? Anxious? Frustrated? Scared?
Your individual emotional response to your insomnia is an important factor in assessing and treating it.
Taking a melatonin supplement recommended by a supplement store employee for insomnia may initially help you, but it does not address your underlying emotional health and mindset.
What makes you feel anxious? How long have you felt this way? Has the feeling changed with time? In what other areas of your life do you find yourself feeling that way? I often ask questions of this nature to understand a person as a whole being; what makes them who they are and how do they react to their stress on the physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual planes?
Asking non-directional questions, either with the help of a health professional or on your own, will help you to reframe your perceptions. When we take a step back from our habitual behaviours, attitudes, and beliefs we have the opportunity to foster a deeper understanding of why it is we do what we do.
Ultimately, the question of “do these beliefs/emotions/thoughts serve you?” will arise, and it is not an easy question to answer.
Perhaps your anxiety is helpful when it comes to meeting deadlines at work. But, if you cannot recover from a stressful day with a healthy sleep because your anxiety is keeping you awake, then your mindset is not serving you as a whole person.
I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, instead of making a New Year’s resolution, think about your emotional health. Ask yourself “what makes me feel this way?” and explore the inner workings of your mindset.