We’re already in 2021 and we’re still trying to figure out what the world will look like this year and in the years to come. We don’t exactly know when this current upheaval will end, but we should stay positive and be hopeful that things will soon begin to feel more familiar. Spring is on its way after all.
Amid uncertainty, we continue to seek a sense of control, at least, of the most immediate things we can positively affect. That’s why many of us have asked ourselves whether or not our lifestyle choices still align with our personal values. Some are choosing wellness as their way to a better life.
Adopting holistic wellness practices helps us feel better about ourselves and our lives, pushing us to be the best and most confident people we can be. They are all part of an ongoing holistic commitment to our mental and physical health.
Here are a few highly transformational holistic wellness practices that might offer immediate results, as we try to change our lives for the better.
Breath is the source of life, so it should be no surprise that it can transform our lives also. By practicing breathing techniques, we can reduce stress and attain mental clarity, awareness and optimal energy. Breathing exercises, such as pranayama, have been shown to improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, and physical and mental health.
Not only is breathwork used nowadays in holistic practices helping to connect, relax and restore the conscious and subconscious mind and body, but it is also used to improve and optimize physical health, sleep pattern, sports and fitness endurance and performance, and manage pain. Most impressively it is said to alleviate and prevent diseases and influence immunity.
2. Emotional Freedom Techniques
Also known as tapping, Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT is an evidence-based therapy to resolve emotional trauma by tapping or stimulating energy meridian points. By reducing emotional trauma, EFT is shown to improve physiological symptoms such as pains, allergies, and colds among others.
Many studies indicate that EFT is an effective treatment for mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, phobias, cravings and pain. Research has shown it can also increase happiness levels and improve the immune system. Several psychologists have used this in helping their clients. More studies have also shown its efficacy in reducing test anxiety and perceived stress in athletic training students, and managing stress and anxiety among students and school staff.
3. Sound Healing
Sound therapy is a clinical and evidence-based therapy used for dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety, pain and sleep disorders. These issues are usually caused by high levels of tension and stress. Sound healing brings one to a relaxed state with sounds created by singing bowls, tuning forks and other resonant musical instruments, including the human voice. Recent research suggests that in counseling sessions, it can be a catalyst for emotional healing used in combination with other modalities such as meditation, deep breathing and visualization.
Healing through sound and music is an ancient cultural tradition. The Aboriginal people of Australia were the first known to practice sound healing using a wind instrument called a didgeridoo. They first played it 40,000 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest instruments.
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4. Energy Healing
Energy healing is used to treat a variety of health problems by restoring the energy balance of a person, according to the United States National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. This technique channels “healing energy through the hands of a practitioner into the client’s body.”
These therapies include Reiki, Qigong and Therapeutic Touch, which have gained rising popularity in recent years. Many of these techniques originated from Asian traditions stemming back thousands of years. Healers believe in a life force or energy that governs our body and influences our health. This method aims to clear energy blocks or imbalances which they believe cause illness.
For some of us who struggle to sleep, perhaps due to physical discomfort or overthinking, hypnotherapy can be an option. This technique uses hypnosis to reduce pain, improve sleep and treat physical and mental health problems. It is also practiced to help clients discover the root causes of emotional problems and relationship issues. Guided by a hypnotherapist, a person can enter into a relaxed or trance-like state where they can focus inward and change unwanted thoughts and feelings. Hypnosis might not be for everyone and one’s motivation to heal is essential to the effectiveness of this treatment.
An integration of Western techniques and Eastern medical systems, kinesiology is a non-invasive healing science that promotes physical, mental and emotional health. Kinesiology identifies and addresses physical, psychological, nutritional and environmental stresses to support and activate the body’s innate healing abilities and help facilitate positive change.
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7. Earthing and Grounding
Earthing or grounding is the activity of physically getting back in touch with the earth. The easiest way to take do this is by walking barefoot on the beach or in a park. The science behind it explains that over time our bodies build up an excess of positive energy. Taking off our shoes and socks allows us to connect with the earth and discharge that excess energy. Recent research suggests that earthing can be a simple effective way of reducing inflammation, aches and pains, poor sleep, and other common health disorders.
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8. Human-Animal Connection
Humans are social beings – and that doesn’t only include other humans. Hanging out with pets has been proven to act as a buffer to stress and can lower our blood pressure and heart rate when we are feeling tense. It also activates the release of oxytocin and dopamine which trigger our nurturing instincts and make us feel happier. Pets can significantly benefit our emotional health too and can be a great comfort for anyone who suffers from loneliness or social isolation. Caring for a pet also helps develop daily routines and lifestyle structures, which can be very comforting for people who suffer from long-term mental health conditions.