Many factors affect your health, not just the physical components. One holistic health model the US military focuses on is composed of 9 elements that can help improve your overall health. These include: mindfulness, sleep, activity, nutrition, personal development, surroundings, emotional, spiritual and family/social.

  1. Mindfulness is being present without judgement, taking in how you feel to help you make conscious decisions and avoid autopilot actions, habits and mistakes.
  2. Sleep can help lower your stress levels by helping control your activity and rest balance for improvement in your well being.
  3. Activity is good for your mind by releasing endorphins that help give you energy and strength. This can be anything from lifting weights, riding a bike, going on a walk or gardening.
  4. What you put into your body as fuel is so important. Take in proper nutrients that will help increase your energy instead of make you crash or gain weight.
  5.  Personal Development is doing activities that matter the most to you in both your personal and work lives. This will give you a sense of purpose and enhance your energy levels versus doing something you dread.
  6. Surroundings can affect your health, whether you work outdoors or indoors, you may have to deal with weather changes, water quality, poor smells or lighting. Some conditions you may not be able to change, but make the best of your situation and make accommodations when you can.
  7. Emotional has to do with how your mind affects your body. Your mind is very powerful! Many people do visualizations to help with attitude, to be prepared, and has a healing and coping effect as well.
  8. Spiritual is having something to turn to that helps give you strength, comfort and hope which can be different for everyone. This could include religious faith, music, quiet time or reflection. Find what gives you strength and comfort and incorporate that throughout your daily routine for optimal benefit.
  9.  Lastly, family/social; it is important to have relationships in your life you can turn to for a source of strength and motivation. Everyone needs a good support system to help provide support and encouragement throughout life. This is good for your mental state and is not limited to your family.

As stated above, the idea of holistic health has multiple components that contribute to health. As you may have noticed half of them involve your mental health and your outlook towards life. It’s important to take all these components into consideration when trying to improve your own life and the life of your loved ones. Lets start the new years out by focusing on yourself and your overall health! I hope this gave you a little more detail of how to improve your health beyond focusing solely on exercise and nutrition.