When we think of health and wellness, we tend to think only about the body, but a holistic approach includes our physical, mental, and spiritual health. See how to create a robust plan that consists of the necessary elements.
Your Whole Health Goal
A holistic wellness plan includes targets or goals for the body, mind, and spirit. It’s a practical strategy that corresponds directly with the six dimensions of wellness 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 dimensions or elements of health and wellness in the following categories:
To streamline the assessment process, we can combine the above six dimensions into three primary categories:
The occupational element shows up in our physical and mental health. Our physical, social, and intellectual dimensions are a reflection of our physical and mental health. And our Social, intellectual, and spiritual via the spiritual category.
In this way, we can assess the wellness of the mind, body, and spirit. A whole health goal requires you to do three things.
1) Assess Your Health
2) Create 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 physical fitness assessments with a membership. It can include submerged BMI measurements, 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. What we believe reflects the health of our thinking ability. It impacts our health and everyone in our sphere of influence. Maximizing our health not only affects us but also impacts the welfare of others. If our spiritual beliefs are biased and prejudiced, it affects everyone.
When we assess our spiritual wellness, we evaluate the health of our personality and instincts. We recommend the Enneagram of Personality Profile for understanding these elements of Ego (2). There are some free online tests, but they are short and not the most accurate. The best tests have over 100 questions. These will be more accurate and provide wellness levels to understand where you are on development levels.
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 prevent you from seeing the truth and motivate you to defend your beliefs with violence. Here are three questions that can help you understand the level of religious programming in your life.
- First, do you believe you are among the “chosen ones” who get preferential treatment from God?
- Second, are the world’s problems caused by another religion or people from a specific ethnic or racial background?
- Third, 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 opinions?
The Key to Spiritual Assessment
If you answer yes to one of these questions, it is a sign that religious programming is likely to affect your thinking and values negatively. You may support bias and discrimination because you think your beliefs make you superior. Some families indoctrinate their children into their religious beliefs. We are sorry if you can relate to brainwashing as a child. It is your responsibility to fix your thinking because a worldview based on bias and prejudice adversely affects 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 challenging to move beyond your current belief system’s boundaries, 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 can justify acts of violence to protect and further your religious beliefs, including all forms of religious, ethnic, and racial discrimination. It includes prejudice against those who have different values and lifestyles. You likely classify yourself as a religious fundamentalist.
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But, there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. Mcafee
It will be most difficult for any facts or logical arguments to change your indoctrination level. It is possible but probably only with help. You’ll need help because your identity is your religion. These tactics are part of the tactics of groupthink manipulation. These tactics make you reject any facts or logic that contradict your worldview.
Many people find the assessment section the most challenging part of creating a whole health goal plan. However, you need to know where you are now. That way, you can build a plan that fits your needs. Now on to the next section, we will address ways to correct our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness trajectory.
Create 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 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; it’s key to maximizing your health plans.
SMART goals are:
- Realistic and
- Goals that are time-oriented or time-sensitive
Another critical best practice is to make incremental goals. Use one goal to build on the next. Breaking the larger objective into smaller benchmarks helps you reach the result. For example, you ultimately want to lose 20 pounds. Start with a target of 2 lbs. Set a target date to get this incremental goal. Then, celebrate each step. Celebrating the small steps will encourage and empower you to reach the final objective.
Tailor your whole health goal and plans to the time you can budget. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans. Your health goals will change and, that’s okay. The important thing is to keep working on your health 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 Goals for Physical Wellness
Seek advice on developing the correct type of scalable exercise program. Our physical wellness affects every aspect of our lives. You’ll need to create an exercise plan with the proper focus. We think durability is an excellent overall goal because it expresses the need to handle the unpredictable. The physical health goal of durability has a list of additional suggestions.
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 health plan. So, include the right ingredients. 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 essential. Your mind needs exercise, just like your body. Enhancing your critical thinking is critical to making better 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. It’s is only as efficient as its ability to learn and think clearly. Our culture tells us what to know 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
Spiritual wellness is the realm of consciousness; it relates to our soul’s many cultures call spirit.
We’ve identified nine essential elements to a healthy life and spiritual life. If you use them in the right proportions, you’ll get the best results. The practice of the methods we call spiritual exploration will expedite your spiritual wellness. These processes are the opposite end of the spiritual continuum from religion.
The three dominant 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. It makes any direct discussion of their beliefs difficult. One way to have a meaningful debate is through a comparative analysis process. It’s a structured method for comparative religious studies. However, it would be best if you learned to question the 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 health 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 be perfect. Take the pressure off of yourself. Work your schedule 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 more 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. 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 wellness level is in direct proportion to the attention we give it. If you have any ideas to help, please comment.
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Are you 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.
(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