Updated: Aug 2, 2018
The word 'integrative' is an all-encompassing term. So I thought it would be helpful to share with you what it means, using my own experience along with the key learnings from my training at the Integrative Wellness Academy.
First, I'll break down the definition. Then we'll dive deeper into the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual systems, what makes up these systems, and how to know when they are in and out of balance.
Integrative refers to an inclusive approach.
When you think of integrative, you think of holisitic, which is characterized by the comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by treatment of the whole person. This is taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.
Wellness is defined as the wholeness, or harmony, in the entire person: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Put them together, and integrative holistic wellness is a combination of modalities or inclusive approaches to empowering (giving someone the tools to self heal, overcome, and grow) towards wholeness in the entire person.
Everyone's body, in addition to their lifestyle, is unique. What is balanced for one will not be balanced for another.
As a coach, I help you learn the art and science of both discovering and creating this balance for yourself, which results in you becoming empowered to apply your new skill of 'balanced living' to all areas of your life, particularly to re-balance when your life gets messy or busy.
Essentially, my ultimate goal of coaching is to teach you how to fish—to give you the 'balanced living' skills so you can apply them and don’t need my help anymore.
Most modern medicine and allopathic treatment only treats from a physical perspective and has been ineffective in treating the person as a whole. What's happening now with more research is a movement of health treatment towards holistic care because it is treating the actual root of the issue, not the side effect. We resolve the problems at their root so that they don't return.
As an example, I used to have gastritis, a common stomach issue that I eventually learned was a result of anxiety, in the first few months I moved to New York for a new job in 2015. I went to a gastroentologist (multiple times), got an endoscopy, took a h-pylori bacterial test, changed my diet, and all this did nothing to fix the core issue. The core issue was an imbalance in my mental and emotional states from the stress of moving and starting a new job. After that avenue didn't work, I started seeing a therapist and I no longer had the gastritis.
Integrative wellness embodies balance between mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual systems. These are the definitions of each system, what falls under each system, and what can manifest when each are in balance or out of balance.
The mental system is the area of our thought life, self-perceptions, and patterns.
Conscious thought, self-image, self-perception, models of the world, beliefs, perceptions, our goals, individual reality, our values, and mindset all fall under this system. Thoughts then lead to emotions.
In balance: Effective goals and actions, peaceful thoughts of self and others, congruent choices, clarity
Out of balance: Negative racing thoughts, poor self image, limiting criticism and judgment, inability to focus or choose effective actions, magnifying of negative emotions.
Our feelings, emotions, and relationships with self and others make up our emotional system. This system is also made up of unconscious and conscious feelings that we experience, usually as a result of something we perceive and/or experience.
When so much of today's medical treatment is focused on 'feeling good' wellness is truly more about how we process and release, versus what we process in some regards.
Relationships (romantic, family and friends), self-care, self-love, emotional reactions, emotional life, some mental health issues like depression, and core issues make up our emotional life.
In balance: Fulfilling relationships, emotional balance, harmony, congruency between unsconscious and subconscious mind, and optimum immune function.
Out of balance: Depression, mood swings, trigger responses, decreased immune system function (illness and disease), all types of illness, physical, emotional & or spiritual problems
The physical system is our physical health and the physical things we have or do not have in our lives also known as the things we create tangibly in our lives. The physical body system is where the 'results' show up. what's occurring in the other 3 systems will present on the physical system eventually. It's made up of health, physical strength, energy, outer appearance, things people have or do not have in their lives (the tangible, like finances for example)
In balance: Strong body, healthy body, balanced optimum weight, have the things the person desires, stability and safety (can be financial for example), outer success
Out of balance: Weight gain, sleep issues, exhaustion, disease, injury, loss, instability financially or within tangible things in their lives, all types of illness, physical emotional & or spiritual problems
The Spirit or spiritual system is our true self, our personal development and connection to energy/God/higher self/higher power/collective unconscious and spiritual life.
This system brings energy to all of the systems much like the spraying of gas on a fire increases the fire and its force. Personal growth, personal development, energy, self-healing, unconditional love, connection to God/Higher power/collective unconscious, and connection to all falls under here.
Spiritual wellness is ignored in current medical and mental treatments by psychologists and therapists, and this is one of the systems that can be the most detrimental when out of balance, since it gives life energy to all of the other systems.
In balance: Inner peace, congruency with true self, walking/acting from a place of congruency with true self and purpose, connectedness, wholeness, ability to give and receive unconditional love, community, strength and wholeness in all other systems
Out of balance: Conflict and mixed messages leading to unwelcome outcomes, Anxiety, depression, other 'mental'illness issues; limiting beliefs; separation aloneness; lack of purpose; not knowing what one is meant to do in life; all types of illness, physical, emotinal & or spiritual problems.
It's very empowering to understand how your body systems affect one another. Do you think one or more of your systems is out of balance? Are you ready to make a paradigm shift to being in balance? If you answer yes and you would like to learn more about working with me, schedule your free consultation here.