Every person’s journey is different, especially when it comes to finding personal health and well-being. These holistic lessons below are helpful reminders when your mindset may be struggling, when you're having difficulty finding positive momentum forward, and needing to change your perspective.
20 Holistic Healing Lessons for Your Mental Health Journey
- Though you may not believe it now, you have value and purpose purely because you exist; and all we must do is exist, breathe – nothing more.
- Just as you are, everyone is, and everyone is learning. We are neither good nor bad. The stories we tell ourselves often have distinct “good” or “bad” people when hurt is rooted in behavior and the effect of that behavior on you.
- “Normal” is merely a set of expectations dictated to you. Take what you need and leave the rest. Find what brings you joy. Show off your “weird.” Normal is a frame of reference for judgement, a justification for creating outcasts. Remember, we are all here for the purpose of being in community together. No one is better or worse than anyone else. We are all human. We all have different histories, different journeys that brought us to this point. Let us do our best to respect that.
- Healing is possible, and the road looks different for everyone. There are as many human experiences as there are humans. Every story and every life has something to offer.
- How do we know when we are on a healing journey? When we begin to see ourselves and others as worthy and deserving of love, care, and compassion, we are healing.
- Acting in expected ways is not what mental health is. Mental health challenges present another way of knowing the world, a worthy perspective. Our brains try to tell us something and give us tools to interpret our relationship with the world. Those tools and perspectives shift and change over time.
- Our reasons to live inform our values. Our values are where we can come together in community with other like minds. Our values inform how we choose to move forward and live a life we are satisfied with, rather than one we feel the urge to run from.
- When we stop seeing people as categories, as caricatures, as how we expect someone to be, and let them break our expectations, we learn, we grow, and we build our capacity to care more deeply. We breathe through our discomfort.
- Our capacity for empathy grows with a commitment to community and an understanding of interdependence. We all perpetually need each other, in the grand scheme, to continue to live as we do and to raise the quality of collective life.
- The feeling for mental health-induced or self-imposed isolation comes in waves. If we experience the dissatisfaction and reach for the root, we can fight our urges to isolate and we may find something deeper: experiences of pity, loss, trauma, abuse, of the things we wish weren’t there. Once we choose to learn and embrace our (supposed) dark parts, the urge and reason to hide in self-imposed shame subsides.
- When we foreground gratitude for the seemingly simple ability to experience the world, (the ability to see, hear, speak, walk, etc.), and the families (chosen or blood) that we foster, we can find a greater perspective to life.
- Once we begin to see the perpetrators of our trauma as people or systems who are suffering, as multi-faceted people, as flawed, too, we can begin to understand and let go. No forgiveness necessary. Know that you do not deserve or need to carry a burden that is/was not yours. You have power to make different choices; you have the power to heal.
- The questions to ask yourself on this journey are: What is there to learn from this experience? Am I noticing patterns in my behavior or the behavior of others when a specific topic or experience is broached? What do I believe will happen when I am past this struggle? How do I envision getting there?
- You are more than your diagnosis. Identifying with diagnosis, feeling trapped in dictated behavior patterns doesn’t need to be your forever. Your diagnosis does not define you, it is merely a tool to access the forms of care you need or for a mental health professional to make recommendations of what may serve you well.
- There are so many ways to access the power we hold inside: there is power in recognizing behavior patterns that no longer serve us and consciously choosing to replace them with something that does. There is power in receiving validation for something that is difficult to even speak about with words. There is power in recounting what happened to you. Acknowledgement is one step closer to letting go.
- Power need not look like brute force; there is a different kind of power, a different kind of strength, a different kind of knowing in seeing our emotions, where they stem from, and how they inform the life we live.
- Our bodies speak to us as much as our minds. It is the quality of the connection between mind and body that provide healing. The body holds the struggle, the history, the trauma just as much as the mind.
- Engaging in mindful practice of daily activities can turn into gestures of gratitude to recognize exactly who we are and where we are. For instance, being in the moment can look like writing poetry, yoga, meditation, cooking, and cleaning.
- Healing is non-linear; it is a dance of give and take and flow. I choose to encounter the challenge of balance and attempt anyway. It is neither success nor failure to heal. It merely is. This dance can teach us where in the body and around what in the mind we hold our tension, our difficulty, our struggle.
- Lastly, keep hope. With healing comes new opportunities for choice, new ideas, new ways of living, knowing, and being. These opportunities have the capacity to transform us and fill our lives with color, if we take the time to look.
I want to end with the words of one of my favorite teachers from my journey:
“With the light, the teacher, the student and the beloved creature in me, I love, I honor, I respect, and I see, the light the teacher the student and the beloved creature in every one of you magnificent beings.”
–Anthony Williams (Radiant Sol Yoga Studio, Rochester, Minnesota)
This blog article was contributed by Adrian Federspiel, Clinical Care Manager at Southeast Regional Crisis Center.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org