Ancient wisdom teaches that balance in our body, mind and spirit is the key to health and happiness. In other words, to be whole, as in Holistic Health, all aspects of the self must be considered. Body, mind and spirit are interconnected and one aspect cannot enjoy complete health without the health of the other two.
For example; a healthy body leads to a healthier mental state, a healthy mental state helps create a healthier body, spirituality leads many to a healthier mental state which naturally leads leads to better physical health, which leads to a healthier mind and so on. (Please keep in mind spirituality does not necessarily refer to a religion.)
While topics like this may remain in the realm of “health nuts” or “new age” to some, more people are becoming aware of how this interconnectedness affects daily living in all areas of life including; productivity at work and home, how you interact with others (relationships) and even how you cope with physical distress (or disease).
Most of us are familiar with the physical health aspect. If you're on this site, you are probably more aware of the more holistic and proactive approaches to health such as; the importance of nutrition, the missing link of body cleansing and detoxification, exercise and even meditation. This is because the easiest of these to prove is the relationship of food to physical health and mental well being. The other connections are less easy to prove, but are being incorporated into mainstream life more and more, as we slowly learn they are indeed connected.
The relationship between whole heath and work productivity hasn't gone unnoticed by large corporations. Google, for example, offers their employees free gyms on their “campus,” community bikes to share, free healthy meals (with the salad bar at the entrance), and even complementary massages. Other companies follow suit by offering free or discounted gym memberships including; Microsoft, General Electric and EMC, the computer data storage company who also encourages plant-based eating in their cafeteria. General Mills allows employees to float from desk to desk to encourage creativity and meditation rooms to encourage stress relief, showing they understand the impact of positive stress management on health.
Many of these companies see the importance of not only mental and physical health, but spirit as well. Volunteering and charity is known to be good for the soul with many religions advocating helping those in need. Following this lead, the Cleveland Clinic offers daily yoga classes and periodic volunteer days, where they work with their local charity, Rebuilding Together. This not only gives back to the community, but according to the National Institutes of Health, volunteer and charity work have a significant impact on mental wellness and warding off depression. (1) Some companies pay their employees paid time off to do volunteer work such as Novo Nordisk who offers 80 hours per year, NuStar Energy who offers 60 hours per year and Deloitte who allows unlimited time off for volunteer work.
A focus on spirituality has been shown to have numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. One study shows those with bipolar disorder feel greater self worth when committed to spirituality. (2) According to the National Institutes of Health, some studies show those who are more spiritually inclined cope with pain better and live fuller lives. And many people around the world attest to spiritual healing – which some would call a placebo effect (meaning mind over matter). In fact, spiritual or faith healing is a clear example of how powerfully mind, body and spirit interact.
These trends shows that more and more, workplaces are understanding the benefits of body, mind and spirit leads to healthier employees, and healthy employees are happier and more productive. Giving back to the community is important and has a positive impact on their employees as well as their image within the community.
While the above example are in the workplace, many entrepreneurs understand the importance of health and success. For example, success coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins promotes all around health so you can “wake up every morning ready to jump out of bed and into your day with unbridled energy and passion.” (3) Dr. Mark Hyman, MD says, “Success means being able to wake up every morning and do the things you love. … And it means being in a state of vibrant, awake, alive health.” (4) They are reinforcing the reality that in order to achieve lofty goals, the healthy feeling of vibrancy and zest for life are imperative. And with the right knowledge and practices, we are all able to achieve this extra zest for life.
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