Mental Health Matters: A holistic approach to mental wellness

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(ABC 6 News) – For the final installment of our Mental Health Matters series for the month of May, partnered with Zumbro Valley Health Center, we’re taking a look at a holistic approach to mental wellness.

Holistic means to look at something as a whole, focusing on the mind, body, and spirit to support health and healing.

Joshua Jensen with ZVHC says, “Think about an overarching approach to wellness. Taking a more organic or natural approach to trying to meet more of those needs and work on our mental health.”

An example of a holistic approach to mental health is yoga, which has become a popular practice in the U.S.

Anthony Williams, owner of Radiant SōL Yoga Studio says while it’s mainly seen as a form of physical wellness, a majority of the practice is mental.

“Getting on your mat, checking in, yes it’s great for the physical body, but it’s a tiny, tiny aspect of wellness,” says Williams. “When we think about how the mind works, and how we treat ourselves and one another, that’s the digging in and the work to be experienced in that room.”

Williams goes on to share how yoga allows people to reconnect with themselves and one another, promoting gratitude and self-love, adding the benefits are endless.

Jordan Yankowiak attends Radiant SōL Yoga daily, sharing that yoga has been a turning point in how he goes about day-to-day life.

“Yoga for me has been profound for my mental health,” says Yankowiak. He adds, you don’t need to be flexible or a certain physic to get started with the practice, “Yoga is for everyone. It doesn’t matter your body type, your size, gender, it’s literally for everyone.”

Another example of a holistic practice is Reike, a form of energy healing.

Emily Thompson is a Reike therapist in Rochester, she discovered the practice when she experience burnout working as a registered nurse. She founded Sacred Waves Energy Healing to share what she’s learned with others.

“Reiki has been super beneficial in my own mental health journey and what showed up as anxiety and depression was simply my body talking to me,” Thompson says. “There is this field around us, we are all familiar with our electromagnetic field. We literally carry around these energetic backpacks. You can’t see them but they show up, they show up in pain, which could be depression, could be fatigue, all kinds of things.”

As a Reiki therapist, Thompson helps others balance their energy and chakras where healing is needed.

“It’s empowering the individuals to be the healer of themselves, helping to dive into the energy and release it. it’s not religious based whatsoever it is truly healing the mind the body and the spirit,” Thompson explains.

A holistic approach to mental wellness may not be for everyone. If you want immediate results, these practices may not be for you.

“When we go to holistic medicine, we also need to know that it’s going to take time. A lot of time things take time for healing. There’s no right or wrong answer it just comes down to individual preference,” says Jensen.

Regardless of what methods you prefer, it’s important to choose what works best for you.

“Whether it be holistic medicine or some other approach to managing your wellbeing, I encourage people to explore options and find what works best for them, because that’s how we start to improve things. If we do nothing, nothing is going to improve,” says Jensen. “Also, I encourage people to be open, because when you talk about your problems or your stress, you have the potential to influence someone else to open up about the stress they’re experiencing and that’s how we start to break down stigma, and we can normalize, ‘hey, it’s okay to be talking about our mental health.'”

If you’re interested in learning more about holistic methods and approaches to mental wellness, Zumbro Valley Health Center offers yoga, Reiki, and mindfulness groups to help you get started.