When we think of health and wellness, we tend to think about the body. We overlook the mind and the spirit. So, a holistic approach is one that includes our physical, mental and spiritual health. See how to create a robust plan that includes all elements.
Whole Health Goal
This is a plan for holistic wellness with targets or goals for the body, mind, and spirit. This is a common-sense strategy that corresponds directly with the six dimensions of wellness as defined by the World Health Organization (1).
Maximizing your health requires a diligent effort. Everything we do depends on our level of health and wellness. The healthier we are the more options we have in life. Dr. Hettler (of the WHO) describes the six elements of health and wellness in the following categories:
We will combine these dimensions of wellness into three, mind, body and spirit. This will help us streamline our assessment process. The occupational dimension is reflected, to some degree, in our physical and mental health. The physical, social and intellectual dimensions are also reflected in our physical and mental health. Our social, intellectual and spiritual health can be assessed through our spiritual wellness.
In this way, we can assess the wellness of mind, body, and spirit. A whole health goal requires you to do three things.
1) Assess Your Health
2) Create a Realistic Plans and Goals
3) Work your Plan and Adjust as Needed
Assess Your Health
The first step is an honest assessment of your current state in all three areas, physical, mental and spiritual health.
1) Assess Physical and Mental Health
The easiest way to assess the level of your overall physical and mental wellness is by using two or three of the free online health assessment tools like these:
For a more accurate assessment of your physical health, see your physician and get a regular checkup. Several health club chains also offer assessments with a trial membership. This can include submerged BMI measurements, basic cardio, strength, and flexibility fitness.
To assess your overall mental wellness again, we recommend one or two of the free online resources:
2) Assess Spiritual Wellness
Last would be an assessment of our spiritual health. Our spiritual mindset affects our thinking. Our thinking affects what we believe. Our decisions reflect what we believe. This impacts our health and everyone in our sphere of influence. Maximizing our health impacts the welfare of others. If our spiritual beliefs are biased and prejudiced, it affects everyone.
To assess our spiritual wellness, we assess the health level of our personality and instincts. We recommend the Enneagram of Personality Profile for assessing the health of personality and instinct (2). There are some free online tests that will provide you with personality type, but you will need to read about the levels of wellness to understand where you are on the levels of development.
Another way to assess spiritual wellness to determine the level of cultural programming. Cultural programming can override our ability to use common sense. It can set up boundaries or beliefs that not only prevent you from seeing the truth but also motivate you to defend your beliefs with violence. Here is a list of questions that can help you understand the level of religious programming in your life.
1) Do you believe you are among the “chosen ones” who get preferential treatment from God?
2) Are the problems of the world caused by a specific ethnic or racial background?
3) If you have religious beliefs do they justify or obligate you to defend them? Does this defense justify harming others who don’t hold the same beliefs?
The Key to Spiritual Assessment
If you answer yes to one of these questions, it is a sign that religious programming is likely to have an adverse effect on your thinking and values. You may support bias and discrimination because you think your beliefs make you superior. If you are raised in a religious family or community, then this is not your fault. However, now it is your responsibility to fix your thinking. This is because your beliefs have an adverse effect on the world.
If you answer yes to two of these questions, it is a sign that religious programming is likely to become your identity. You are susceptible to groupthink manipulation that makes bias and discrimination a part of your accepted worldview. You may engage in arguments about why your beliefs are superior. It may be difficult to move beyond the boundaries of your current belief system, but you can see how this worldview is unhealthy and harmful.
If you answer yes to all three questions, it is a sign that religious programming controls your identity, thinking, and values. You consider yourself as being a chosen one. You are able to justify acts of violence in order to protect and further your religious beliefs. This includes not only religious bias but also a bias against those who have different values and lifestyles. You classify yourself as a fundamentalist or extremist.
It will be most difficult for any facts or logical arguments to change your level of indoctrination. It is possible but probably only with help. The reason you’ll need help is that your identity is your religion thanks to groupthink manipulation tactics. These tactics make you reject any facts or logic that contradict your worldview.
Many people find the assessment section the hardest part of creating a whole health goal plan. However, you need to know where you are now so that you can build a plan that fits your needs. Now on to the next section where we will address ways to correct the trajectory of our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
Create a Realistic Plans and Goals
1) Set SMART Plans and Goals
All the goals in your plan should be SMART goals. SMART is an acronym to remind of the best way to set goals. SMART goals are the most direct and powerful way of creating positive behaviors.
Put your goals in writing. When you document them, you are 50% more likely to reach them. Set them as reminders on your smartwatch. Put them on sticky notes. This is key to maximizing your health plans.
SMART goals are:
- Realistic and
- which are time-oriented, or time-sensitive
Another important best practice is to make incremental goals. Use one goal to build onto the next. Breaking the larger objective into smaller benchmarks helps you reach the result. For example, you ultimately want to lose 20 lbs. Start with a target of 2 lbs. Set a target date to reach this incremental goal. Then, celebrate each step. In fact, celebrating the small steps will encourage and empower you to reach the final goal.
Tailor your whole health goal and plans to the time that you can budget. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans. Things change. Your plan and goals will probably change. That’s okay. The important thing is to keep working on the plan. You will have setbacks and sometimes you will not always meet the goals. Start small with two or three things. Maximizing your health is a continual process.
2) Set the goal for Physical Wellness
Seek advice on developing the right type of scalable exercise program. Our physical wellness affects every aspect of our lives. Because of this, you need to have an exercise plan with the proper focus. We think durability is a good overall goal because this quality expresses the need to handle the unpredictable. The physical health goal of durability has its own list of components.
3) Set Goals for Mental Health
Self-care is the heart of a mental health plan. Self-care is as important as any other element of your plan. So, definitely include the right elements. If you are under the care of a physician, make sure and follow their advice on which items are best for you.
The mental component of your health is very important. Your mind needs exercise just like your body. Enhancing your critical thinking is essential to making good decisions.
A realistic plan with SMART goals will enable you to achieve the overall balanced holistic goal.
Exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body. The mind is only as efficient as its ability to learn and think clearly. Our culture tells us what to learn but never tells us how to learn. Learning how to learn is the first step in exercising and developing the mind.
4) Set Goals for Spiritual Wellness
The last aspect is our spirit, our soul. There are nine essential elements to a healthy spiritual practice. This the realm of awareness and consciousness. Engaging in processes that expand awareness and open the doors to higher states of consciousness is the best way to strengthen the connection between the physical and spiritual.
The three most popular religions boast a combined membership of half of the world’s population. These are the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Because they are so dominant, they influence the culture and how many people think.
People are not to question what the leaders of these institutions say. This makes any direct discussion of their beliefs difficult. One way to have a meaningful discussion is through a process we call comparative analysis. This is a structured method for comparative religious studies. However, you must learn to question the popular cultural narrative.
Work Your Plan and Adjust as Needed
Put all these together and you have a holistic approach to increasing our wellness. When we combine these elements in the right proportion for our needs, we have our whole health goal.
Many people do well in assessing their current position and creating plans and goals. However, they fail to work the plans they have set. Procrastination can be hard to overcome. People are afraid they won’t do it right.
The most important thing to do is to start. Start your plan, knowing that you are likely to run into issues. You don’t have to do things perfectly. Take the pressure off of yourself. You just need to work your plan as best as you can. Some days are easier than others. Record and celebrate everything you do in your whole health goal.
Chances are you will need to make adjustments. Think of it like surfing. When you surf a wave, you must make constant adjustments to stay in balance. It’s not like a train on the train tracks. You can’t just start the engine and be confident that you will reach the destination. Whereas, with surfing, you need to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. If you fall, and you will, get back up and try another wave.
Maximizing Your Health
Major health issues are a reminder that we need to attend to our wellness. A healthy mind, body, and spirit do not happen by accident. Our level of wellness is in direct proportion to the attention we give it. If you have any ideas to help, please comment.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (3). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
(1) The World Health Organization, who.int
(2) The Wisdom of the Enneagram, The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia