Taking a traditional approach to mental health – and there are many facets – is a wonderful thing. In fact, I wish so many others would do this! However (there’s always a “but”), doing more in the realms of our physical bodies and spirituality, in addition to activities like talk therapy (individual and groups), art and music therapy, taking prescription medications, etc.

help us improve more than our moods and sense of happiness or well-being. In fact, if you take care of other things affecting your mental health, you may not even need medication…right away or later!

In fact, taking a more holistic approach actually makes it easier to achieve high quality mental health!

In a more integrated holistic approach, you focus on the whole person – which we can generally sum up in the emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual realms.

In other words, when every facet of your overall functioning is addressed and optimized, your ability to function with your feelings, thoughts, and behavior is also better supported.

This doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t benefit from talk therapy or even shorter-term medication, if that seems appropriate, but it does mean that you will get a higher benefit from this if you are also addressing, especially, your physiological (and spiritual) needs which support mental health.

Perhaps the most critical part of your overall health is your gut. (That doesn’t mean that other things won’t matter.) Some people benefit more from lowering starch or carbs (we will need our veggies though). Others may benefit from a vegan or vegetarian diet. Yet others may do better on just upgrading the quality of what they normally eat. Eating fermented foods adds to our gut health, as does eating healthy produce, taking probiotics, etc.

It’s important that you find out which approach is best suited to you and remember that your needs can change from time to time! (Muscle testing can be a good way to figure this out. I always advise working with a competent health care professional)

EVERYBODY can benefit from reducing or eliminating junk food from their diets. Remember, though, you don’t have to give up totally your favorite snacks – there are always healthy versions of them that you can purchase or make yourself at home! Sugar and refined wheat are two of the worst things you can continue to eat! And make sure you do find ways to incorporate healthy veggies and some fruit into your diet. 

Don’t forget to be mindful – every day, even if it’s just for five minutes! Some good examples are meditation, listening to binaural beats, even just taking a walk, or reading or Bible study – whatever works for you the best and do what you enjoy.

Also, don’t forget to move your body as this is something that heavily supports Gardening for mental health. I can hear some of you saying, I know I should exercise but I don’t want to! Hey, that’s me sometimes, too – LOL. So, it’s important to pick something that you can enjoy doing and incorporate into your day…even if it’s just tracking your steps. And if you’re injured in some way, of course, be careful and check this with your health care practitioner.

I could go on and on – in fact, I often do(!) – but I just wanted to mention that Father’s Day is coming this month here in America, and I believe it is important to honor one’s father (and mother) in some way. I know that some of you have had abusive father figures in your life, but forgiveness is certainly a healthy thing.

(That totally doesn’t mean you put yourself in harm’s way through….) Religious beliefs aside, not doing this can mean you’re holding a grudge, still angry and hurt – and that is harmful to you. Remember, though this is not an excuse, everybody has a backstory, a reason for what they do. 

Oftentimes, we honor our parents/guardians in person (or maybe even online these days), by going out for a meal together, a cookout, a gift, etc. But we can honor fathers from a safe distance too and let this be a healing exercise…for you.

In fact, your father may be deceased, or you may not want to have any direct contact with him. But your act of honoring him as the one who made it possible for you to be here is still a good thing. (Or maybe you have another reason.)

Some recognized benefits of forgiving someone are that we often get healthier relationships, better mental health, less anxiety, less stress, lower blood pressure, less depression, our immune systems are stronger, our heart health gets better, and we just feel better about ourselves!

As always, I wish you a happy, holistically healthy day!

Dr. P