What is a Holistic Lifestyle, and How Can You Embrace One?

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In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to choose convenience: fast food, skipping workouts, and generally neglecting our well-being. But embracing healthier habits can transform your life. 

Read on to discover how to start a holistic lifestyle that is as nourishing as it is enjoyable. 

How to start a holistic lifestyle

A holistic lifestyle is a way of living that considers the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. It involves making positive choices and avoiding potentially harmful habits, while addressing the root causes of health issues–as opposed to just treating symptoms. 

Studies show the following 9 aspects of such a lifestyle can support your longevity and well-being.

1. Diet

The first pillar of a holistic lifestyle is diet–specifically, whole foods that are minimally processed. These foods are free from additives like sugars and preservatives, and typically encompass:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains, such as whole wheat or quinoa
  • Meat (preferably organic and free from antibiotics and hormones) 
  • Fish (preferably wild-caught)

Adopting this kind of diet offers many benefits for your body and mind, including:

  • Increased consumption of essential nutrients
  • Balanced blood sugar
  • Weight loss
  • Better digestion and gut health
  • Stronger immunity
  • Lower risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease
  • Better mood and mental clarity

While it’s easy to find whole foods in the produce and meat sections, it can be more challenging in other areas of the grocery store. 

When shopping for packaged foods or snacks, check ingredient lists carefully. If you can’t pronounce or aren’t familiar with something,  it’s likely an additive–so consider omitting it from your diet.

Eating this way not only supports a holistic lifestyle, but has been shown to improve or even reverse certain health conditions, such as:

  • Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Heart disease, especially when paired with other healthy habits

2. Exercise

Holistic living also includes regular exercise, which benefits physical, mental, and emotional health by:

  • Supporting cardiovascular wellness, muscle strength, and metabolism
  • Alleviating symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Releasing endorphins that boost mood and reduce stress
  • Improving and protecting cognitive function.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, such as brisk walking, five days a week, as well as two days of strength-training activities.

3. No smoking

There is no healthy amount of smoking–a habit that accounts for over 480,000 deaths each year. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to protect your health and live a more holistic lifestyle.

In the process, you’ll be:

  • Reducing your risk of serious diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke
  • Improving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress
  • Strengthening your lung function and energy levels 
  • Improving your sleep quality

4. Limited alcohol

While some research suggests that small amounts of red wine can support healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular wellness, excess alcohol can be detrimental to your health. Some consequences include:

  • Heightened risk of liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Lower intake of essential nutrients 
  • Weight gain, as alcohol is packed with “empty” calories 

So if you do drink, do so sparingly. Studies indicate an acceptable daily amount of alcohol is:

  • One drink for women
  • Two drinks for men

One drink typically constitutes:

  • 4 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor

5. Holistic medicine

One-third of American adults now incorporate some form of holistic medicine into their healthcare regimens. Some benefits of seeing a holistic medicine practitioner include:

  • A whole-person approach, addressing mind, body, and spirit
  • Preventive care through lifestyle interventions like diet, stress management, and exercise
  • Integration of various modalities, including acupuncture and even some conventional medicine, depending on the practitioner and your needs

6.  Mindfulness

Another essential component of holistic living is mindfulness. Whether in the form of prayer, yoga, or meditation, taking a few minutes daily to clear your mind and focus on the present is beneficial for:

  • Reducing stress
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boosting immune function
  • Cultivating more positive feelings
  • Gaining new perspectives

7. Hydration

Staying hydrated is crucial for a holistic, healthy lifestyle. Even mild dehydration can lead to:

  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Stomach cramps

According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, optimal hydration meets the following criteria:

  • 11.5 cups (92 ounces) of fluid a day for women
  • 15.5 cups (124 ounces) of fluid a day for men

However, these amounts include all fluids–not just water. A simpler guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., 75 ounces for a 150-pound person). 

Adjust the amount of water you drink depending on your:

  • Level of physical activity
  • Age
  • Local weather (e.g., drinking extra fluids on hot, humid days)

7. Sleep

Getting plenty of rest is one of the most vital holistic wellness tips you can adopt. Sleep impacts many aspects of your health by:

  • Allowing your cells to repair and regenerate
  • Boosting immune function
  • Clearing toxins from the brain, supporting memory, learning, and concentration
  • Alleviating stress 
  • Reducing inflammation 
  • Improving mood 
  • Regulating hormones affecting appetite and metabolism

Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.

8. Connection with nature

Spending time in nature can be profoundly grounding. Research shows those who spend 120 minutes or more outdoors each week are more likely to report good health and well-being.

Walking barefoot on grass or soil even provides physical health benefits. The practice, called earthing, allows for the transfer of free electrons from the earth’s surface into the body to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Neutralize free radicals
  • Potentially lower blood pressure

Starting a holistic lifestyle may seem daunting–but it could be simpler than you think. By focusing on clean nutrition, staying active, and nurturing your mental and spiritual health through practices like mindfulness and connecting with nature, you’ll naturally empower yourself to live a more vital life.

Try adding these holistic wellness tips to your routine, and know you’re taking a powerful step toward enjoying better health for the long haul.

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Efficacy of Residential, Group-Based, Intensive Holistic Lifestyle Intervention Among Type-2 Diabetes Patients

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Impact of a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Nutrition Intervention on Patients Living with Chronic Disease in an Underserved Community – PMC

A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Is Effective for Weight Loss: The Evidence – PMC

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Meditation and Its Mental and Physical Health Benefits in 2023 – PMC

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Author
Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at copybycarrie.com or on LinkedIn.

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