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Understanding the term ‘Holistic’ as a stepping stone to a more balanced life.

On July 17, 2013 In Body, Energy, Mind, Spirit

What does ‘Holistic’ mean?

‘Holistic’ stems from the term ‘Holism’ from ὂλος holos, a Greek word meaning -

ALL – WHOLE – ENTIRE – TOTAL

I choose to live Holistically and I wanted to write about what this means to me and as a preface to forthcoming posts about how to understand and cope with emotional feelings and health issues.

How can I  understand this term in relation to me and my health?

When we apply the term Holistic to our physical health this ‘ALL’ means that we understand that our Mind, Body and Spirit are the three important dynamics that add up in order for us to feel our own sense of balance.

We are made up from the physical, mental and energetic, and without considering that they all work together then we can’t fully understand our own balance or understand how to look after ourselves properly.

I always use the term ‘Balance’ to refer to how I am feeling. I try not to label myself with some type of sickness and instead recognise that I feel ‘off balance’ and from there I can then find our where that is stemming from. Part of living in a holistic way is to understand that when we feel well, we are in balance, a like to homeostasis, part of our holistic balance is when the body’s internal environment is kept stable. The other part is acknowledging that our external environment will also contribute to this overall holistic balance.

I was always interested in types of Holistic therapies but it wasn’t until the last few years that I took it on as it’s own lifestyle, realizing that the term spanned much more than as a physical health choice to for instance see an Acupuncturist instead of or as well as a GP. One of the reasons that I feel we sometimes still have a divide between traditional medicine and therapies that are called ‘Holistic’ or ‘Alternative’ is because of a misunderstanding of the meaning of this term. When we really understand Holistic-ism then it makes perfect sense how the two can happily work together and do not need to be separated.

By noticing our holistic connection we start understanding what our body is telling us. A new sense of relief comes from being able to be present with those feelings and know how to respond to ourselves with love and consideration.

How do I start to notice this Holistic connection?

Chances are that you already do, but in a moment of pain or stress you possibly forget leading to anxiety or self punishment. I will use an example for the types of connection so you can then apply and understand within your own life.

Firstly remember that our body, our mind and our energy are all connected. If you have a physical feeling or pain then it will also affect your mental mood and your energy. Equally if you are experiencing a certain mental thought process you will also notice a change in your physical body. Finally if you are thinking about your self energetically you will know that it links in with the mind and body also.

  • The Body connecting to the Mind.

A physical pain is going to change your mood. We are all aware of that. If we have a headache, it becomes hard to concentrate, we feel like we can’t focus on conversation, we can feel confused mentally, we may be agitated or angry.

Another example when we are in chronic pain or more long term pain, for instance regular back pains, or even when we break or injure a limb it will also be reflected in our mood. Common feelings to experience are feeling anger towards our bodies, a low mood or depression because of not feeling ‘normal’ and even jealousy towards people who we perceive to be well.

The body connection also includes what we put IN our bodies. For instance how a medication can have physical and mental side effects. This will also be a further post but an example is the connection between caffeine, sugar and anxiety. If we have had a lot of sugar and we feel very anxious, there is a holistic connection there.

  • The Mind connecting to the Body

As I will explore further in the next post, feelings are stored in the brain and the body.

The best example in this case which most of us will be able to relate to is the feelings of sadness, betrayal or anger. We usually store these feelings in the centre of our chest.

Example, when we experience cross words or an argument with a friend, family member or partner, we will notice that pang in our body, it usually will continue to come up until the particular feeling or incident has been processed.

Another familiar mind/body connection is that when we feel nervousness and excitement in our stomach area, when we have overcome the fearful moment the feeling usually processes through our body.

  • Your energetic self connected to your Mind and Body.

As explored in my Energy series we have an energetic body as well as a physical body.

An example is if you become ungrounded due to something in your environment you may also feel a lightness in your body, a lack of concentration and a ‘spacey’ feeling in your head.

You can see how these all work together.

The next step

By being mindful of these connections we instantly open ourselves up to be mindful of the balance within our selves.

  • This awareness enables us to start living more in the present moment as we notice our mind, body and spirit feelings as they happen and become aware of them as they shift.

  • We are able to be more forgiving of ourselves because instead of punishing ourselves for what we are feeling, we have a sense of awareness to what we are experiencing.

    For instance we don’t create a separation between the parts of ourselves because we know they are connected. You don’t have a particularly difficult emotional experience and then wonder why you are physically tired, you know they are because of each other. In the same way you don’t expect to be mentally and energetically balanced when you are experiencing influenza.

  • Our holistic awareness then means we can move into treating ourselves in a holistic way. One of the reasons that holistic therapy is so relaxing is that you have a therapist who is considering everything that is happening in your holistic wholeness to be a possible reason for your symptoms.

Beyond this simple awareness we then are able to start thinking holistically. This means that we choose to make our decisions and thoughts from a holistic place, considering how they will affect our mind, body and spirit. Within this we become better at making healthy choices in the present moment and less likely to mindlessly move ahead and then feel regretful.

Our goal is to live in a continuous moment where we are aware of our internal and external environment, how it affects us and how we move ahead in love and forgiveness towards ourselves and others.

Further reading!

Follow this post with learning about how to activate present moment consciousness and how to feel feelings. Love.

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ENERGY – Part 4 – Our lives online and a scattering of self.

On June 14, 2013 In Energy

I felt that it was time for another article in this series, please read parts one, two and three if you are new here! The link to part five is below.

So, Part 4, otherwise known as..

Hey guys let’s talk about our energy in relation to social media!

In my Coaching sessions one of the things I help clients with is to teach them how to remember the importance of the present moment and that by being mindful of thoughts and behaviour is the first step to being able to change negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns.

As a follow up to the last post, when we are outside the present moment we are very energetically ungrounded. A perfect example is when we feel anxious, one of the reasons we feel so disconnected is because we have flung ourselves to the past or the future with our worry and we are not present.

How does this relate to the internet?

Firstly a disclaimer, I love the internet and all of it’s magic. I read articles, listen to music, browse images and use facebook, twitter  and instagram for work and for fun. But, most of the time whilst I think the internet is brilliant I feel lucky enough to have grown up in a social networking free time where the only way you could be reminded of all the laughs you weren’t having or know what everyone was eating for dinner was if they called you on the house phone or you bumped into them in the physical world.

I feel like my youth was full of the present moment, memories were written down in my diary and I have just a few handfuls of photos to show for it, maybe my teenage years were so full of feelings were because I was out there really feeling them.

A couple of months ago my self confidence had dipped and I felt off balance. I’m now very familiar with my holistic energy so It was easy for me to gather myself back together but at the same time I started to think about Social Media and how it links in with all the things that I teach about managing our energy.

I also know that I can often use the internet unproductively. I use that term because there are of course many degrees, I’m sitting here right now using it and feeling pretty darn productive, I will finish writing and tweet and send this article out to friends and followers, but I also could easily have three hours disappear from roaming around with no purpose. The effect of that could be me feeling energetically depleted as well as feeling annoyed at myself for wasting time. I know you know what I mean! (Ps this is great)

❤ Social media and a Scattering of self.

When we look at social media we experience what I call an ‘energetic scattering of self’. In one blink of an eye we are present in a break up, a holiday, a moan, a new baby, a party we are not at and so forth.

It becomes increasingly difficult for us to be content in our own present moments because we are too busy being in everyone else’s.

There is now a term called FOMO – Fear of missing out. I remember ye ole days of Fomo, oh god I’m 14 and I’m not allowed to go to the party that EVERYONE IS GOING TO. What happened then though was that I just wrote in my diary and then fell asleep. Now the development of this into a problem for us is that we can watch our ‘Fomo’ play out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat.. etc into oblivion.

I recently said to a friend that I don’t really ‘suffer from fomo’, one of many reasons is because I am so content in my own company that I’m rarely wishing I was elsewhere and she exclaimed how it was sometimes almost crippling for her. FOMO – A modern day disease?

❤ How does this fit in with our energy?

In the same way that we can pick up energy from people physically we can also do it just from reading. Have you ever sat and felt so drained from an onslaught of negative internet activity? Or felt a rush of anxiety because you saw a photo online that made you reach for a variety of assumptions? So remember that sitting online doesn’t count as relaxation, in fact quite the opposite. I have had countless clients and friends come to me with anxieties that just wouldn’t exist without their social media participation hence why this is a new type of way of experiencing stress in the modern world.

Now this isn’t a post to say we should all stop using social media it is more to highlight ways to be mindful of our holistic health in relation to it.

This scattering of self IS energetic. We are becoming ungrounded from our selves when we sit ‘scrolling’. We know that this feeling of being ungrounded is similar to feeling anxious, and tired and disconnected. If we aren’t grounded then we aren’t present and able to connect fully with our own lives and physical and mental health.

❤ Some negative effects from a Social media and phone addiction and how to work with them.

  • Using it as a tool to moan, complain, judge and be unkind to others or yourself – There is no positive effect on your energy within those things. Use the Internet for all its inspiration and for bringing joy to others, rather than sucking it out. If we think about this scattering, then also consider the energy you put out into the world when you type a status.
  • Lack of enjoyment in our own lives from a false perception that ‘everyone is having more fun’ than us – The word perception is important here as ultimately everything is about that and when we perceive things in a negative way we are choosing a fear based illusion rather than focusing on possible positive elements right in front of us.
  • Trouble concentrating and a short attention span – This is a new online related problem because sitting and scrolling on our phones or on our computers has become so normal that actually stopping and noticing the present becomes less common. Take. a. breath. Notice when you are mindlessly scrolling or have sat and been ‘lurking’ on someones profile for minute on minute. There are new types of anxiety forming to do with ‘likes and comments’ and it will only serve to deplete your precious energy. The time is now.
  • Negative perceptions building up to do with our appearance or personality – Based on what we perceive from photos/statuses of other people it can be common to feel a lack in self confidence (or should that be selfie confidence). Again remember perception is not reality. As cliche as it can sound, you are the only you and choose to celebrate yourself rather than someone else.
  • Forming untrue opinions on  friends and strangers based on their online presence – It can be very common to sit and look at someone ‘online’ and then make judgements about them as well as starting to be lazy socially because we ‘think’ we know everything that everyone has been doing and thinking. I have a very strict rule on not assuming anything from what I read from friends. I would rather learn it from speaking to them and participating in life. By judging others we are only judging ourselves, there is a mirror moment within everything and you could be placing your energy more positively elsewhere.
  • The ability to obsess over what people are doing- This is particularly debilitating when it comes to romantic relationships as new types of jealousy and anxiety form around our interactions from this ability to perceive what we think others are doing. Try to keep building honesty within relationships, you don’t need to ‘assume’ something when you have trust. Also know that nothing positive comes from anxiety based around a perception, it won’t move you forwards but it will hold you back.
  • Checking what is going on online during sleeptime – (This is definitely the one I do) Before you go to sleep, put your phone on silent / on airplane mode. Welcome to a better nights sleep!

Have you every experienced any of the above? I am sure you can think of more too!

❤ Energy exercises.

If you notice this ‘scattering of self’ try applying the energy clearing and grounding exercises I taught you in parts two and three. They will work in the same way and are especially good to do before bed to ease the mind up to sleep.

❤ My social media ‘break up’

I knew I had to walk my talk and thought I would take a social media break as an experiment to test out this ‘scattering of self’. I felt it would help to get super grounded and up my energy. I didn’t look at or post on my social media feeds for almost two weeks.

It was so easy and my mind felt the most clear and calm that it had done for months.

I told people I had done this a few weeks later and I found people responded in both directions, either with ‘I wish I could do that’ or they thought I was acting insane.  I joked that in that time I had a lot less friends and you get told off for not going to birthday parties or knowing someone’s news because they only used Facebook for the information rather than actually connection on the phone or even via email.

I have always been very strict on taking in information from my friends from online, I never want to think that I know something or not enjoy my catch up conversations with friends and this exercise really reminded me of that.

In the last month I have made a few new connections and at the forefront of my mind has been that I just don’t want to know anything except what we share in person or from texting or emailing. I have no interest in ‘stalking’ someone online to learn things about them because I want to share one on one. I don’t want people to think they ‘know’ me from what they see online so it has to swing both ways. I don’t want to foresee a paranoia or a problem or layer an opinion from someone else onto them.

I want to endeavor to always be present and make positive perceptions, and for that to be my mirror.

NEW Energy Awareness Workshop!

This is such an important and enjoyable subject for me to speak about and I have now started running a 90 minute workshop. The workshop can be taken as part of a group or one on one.

FIND OUT MORE

PLEASE NOTE! - This article is part of a series:

Part 1 – How to protect your energy
Part 2 – How to clean and clear your energy
Part 3 – How to ground your energy
Part 4 – Our lives online and a scattering of self
Part 5 – The energy of your words and the importance of a gratitude practice
Part 6 – How to look after your energy while travelling

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