How Does Health and Wellness Coaching Support Natural and Holistic Health?
Last week a television program called Bmore Lifestyle contacted me. They left a message on my answering machine mentioning that they wanted to do a segment on Radiant Heart and other holistic healthcare businesses in my area. It was the kind of situation that filled me with fear and excitement at the same time- I really didn’t want to do it, but I really did want to do it- ya know? Even though they were probably planning on asking me about the benefits of massage, the idea of using this platform to explain health and wellness coaching was thrilling- since it’s a relatively new field that I am extremely passionate about. My gut dropped as my mind started spinning. I wondered what kinds of questions they would ask and how I would elevator speech my answers. Even though I knew I would not be able to make the show because my beach vacation was scheduled at the same time, I still paced around my kitchen pretending I was being interviewed.
As my anxiety peaked fantasizing about the experience that would never happen, an interesting awareness unfolded – the pretend interview pressured me to arrive at the most essential aspects of my thoughts on health and wellness coaching. Within this platform I found myself explaining how health and wellness coaching supports holistic and natural health, which is at the core of my coaching mission. I hope you enjoy my mind musings! If you have any questions about health and wellness coaching I would be delighted to answer them below.
Imaginary Interviewer- “What is holistic or natural health?”
Me- “Prevention of disease, and stimulating the body’s innate healing systems are two of the primary goals of holistic and natural health. In holistic health all aspects of a person (mind, body, and soul) are explored when considering treatment options since these aspects are viewed as interrelated. Optimal health is achieved when the whole person is balanced. The goal is to minimize conventional pharmaceuticals and invasive medical procedures and to utilize natural interventions as much as possible.
Here is a great link to learn more: http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine#1
Imaginary Interviewer- “What are some of the natural health interventions a holistic practitioner would utilize?”
Me- “They would utilize the foundations of health which are- nutrition, sleep, exercise, and relaxation. They would also utilize healthy practices such as mindfulness, meditation, self- love, positive psychology, etc. that improve a sense of wellness in various domains such as spirituality, relationships, environment, and so on.
Imaginary Interviewer- “So why are so many people struggling with health conditions and unwell moods when these foundations seem so easy and basic?”
Me- “That is a great question! Some people are not taught healthy habits when they are younger, so they grow up practicing what they know. Plus, our culture largely follows a different paradigm for health and wellness which doesn’t make it easy to have a healthy lifestyle- our environment supports everything we do so if the environment isn’t supportive it can feel like we are swimming against the current. So what we are left with is the need to help people change their behaviors after acquiring years of bad habits in a culture that isn’t always supportive of this- it’s challenging but possible.
Most medical practitioners don’t have time or ability to focus on helping people change their behaviors, even though I’m sure they wish they did. Conventional medicine treats the symptom because it is quick, which fits our culture’s current lifestyle paradigm. This can be life-saving, no doubt, but it may not address the underlying issue. Also, there is plenty of research that can educate us on how to prevent health and wellness problems, but simply telling someone that information doesn’t help them translate it into action. This is why coaching is finding its way into the medical field. Coaches help you undo behaviors that you have been doing for years and they inspire you to adopt a lifestyle that treats all of parts of you every day.”
Imaginary interviewer– “So are you saying there isn’t a place for conventional therapies?”
Me- “Conventional medicine/therapy is extremely important and valuable. I don’t like to think that one type of practice is better or worse- they just have different goals. In fact, I think holistic health care and coaching works great when practiced in tandem with conventional practices. A balance of conventional and holistic medicine offers different perspectives which offers more treatment choices and possibilities. A good health care practitioner finds out what works, has good outcomes, and matches treatments to the goals of the individual. Listening to the patient’s desires and needs are essential to making this happen.”
Imaginary Interviewer- “Earlier you mentioned that choosing to be holistic means changing your lifestyle. What do you mean by lifestyle?”
Me- “A lifestyle is a way of life. What you value most tend to become your priority when then guides your way of life. If you value adventure, for instance, you may buy a van, travel across the country, and find jobs as you travel. Every part of your life is tailored to that value of adventure. If your value is your health and wellness, then all of your choices revolve around this value. It is not just something you do sometimes, it becomes your way of life. Ask yourself what you value and you will quickly see how your life is built around that value.”
Imaginary interviewer- “So why should people change their entire lifestyle to value health and wellness?”
Me- “That’s an amazing question because many people don’t adopt this lifestyle because they have never experienced its value before. I admit that I thought being healthy seemed like a boring, harsh, practice that involved pain, suffering, and sacrifice because that was my experience in our current cultural paradigm. It isn’t fun to adopt a lifestyle just because you think you are going to die if you don’t! My bad habits brought me value because they made me feel good. I ultimately realized that these feelings of pleasure were short lived. I could only maintain my happiness as long as I kept doing them which just wasn’t sustainable. I was also kind of fooling myself with thinking they made me happy. After awhile, my bad habits actually made me feel sick and shameful. They were really just covering up how unhappy I actually was! It was my quest to understand true happiness that guided my journey, but the last person I thought that could help me was a coach. The very word seemed so authoritative and bossy. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do or making me feel bad for my bad habits.
When I learned the holistic model I began to understand that health is a journey that is actually a loving, forgiving, realistic, and exciting experience. When the body, mind, and soul are healthy and well, we feel really good, and every aspect of our life is impacted in a beneficial way. Life becomes more fulfilling and we feel more resilient during times of hardship because we have the skills to do so in a healthy way. We no longer cover up our unhappiness with our bad habits, but rather address our unhappiness with health and wellness modalities so true healing can take place. We also build up positive views of ourselves when we overcome our bad habits. The result is a sense of authentic happiness.
I learned that a coach was quite the opposite of my impression. Coaches did not judge me because they had been through challenges themselves. They were actually the best people to contact if I wanted to make a change without feeling horrible about myself. My coach helped me realize that my mindset about health was the result of my assumptions, and that it did not need to be an awful experience. She challenged me to redefine my perspective of health and to explore what was possible.”
Imaginary interviewer– “So can you tell me what a holistic health and wellness coach does?”
Me- “Regardless of your current state of health or well-being, a holistic health and wellness coach creates a safe space for people to discuss their challenges and to explore choices that will move them towards adopting a lifestyle that promotes the highest state of health and a sense of wellness possible. Together you will discover solutions to change your behavior and mindset by establishing new values for health and wellness. What works for some people won’t work for others, so a coach helps to tailor a plan that works for you. The goal is to prevent/reverse health and wellness crises which will only add more problems to your life. We want you to live a life that brings you satisfaction and makes you feel awesome. As stated above, this isn’t easy, so a coach will guide and support you on your journey in a non-judgmental way.”