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How to Balance and Improve Your Mental and Physical Health Holistically

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Michael Loes MD

Improve Your Mental and Physical Health HolisticallyFinding your way in your journey to positive health and wellness can be a difficult and often overwhelming task. A healthy diet and exercise are excellent strategies for improving your physical health, and other holistic protocols can produce profound improvements for mental health.

A single treatment, like a shot in the dark, may miss the mark and will not be effective for everyone. Each person on a journey to better mental health may wish to explore a variety of treatments that work best for them. Treatment should be customized to one’s individual profile. Treatment for mental health and wellness can offer the best path to better health through lifestyle changes and therapies to improve wellness holistically, without medications.

Investigation is the key, not guesswork!
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Alternative to Meds has serviced thousands of clients over the past nearly 20 years, and has accumulated and published evidence demonstrating the successes of our clients. Holistic methodologies have provided a sure and evidence-based path to better mental health. Treatments are based on lab testing and other reliable assessments, so a person can attain their mental health goals with confidence, and say goodbye to the trial and error, guesswork approaches where drug-based therapy may have left them disappointed in the past.
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Why Choose Holistic Mental Wellness Strategies?

The term holistic wellness literally means an all-encompassing approach to the health of the whole person. The goal of holistic health is to take into account all factors of life and all functions of a person. It refers to taking care of a person’s wellness in regards to their entire being and experience, rather than focusing on one facet or on a physician prescribing “the right drug.” In this way, holistic wellness creates an approach to wellness that is complex, multi-layered, and personalized, working on the health of the mind, the body, and the spirit to improve mental and physical health.

Because of its investigative thoroughness, holistic mental health treatment is often considered an alternative to medication, and may make it possible to eliminate damaging psychotropic medications from a patient’s treatment plan. It’s important to see how this treatment approach searches for the root of the problem and addresses the contributing factors, rather than crossing one’s fingers and hoping “drugs can cure the chemical imbalance.” Holistic wellness aims to mitigate each of the many potential causes for poor mental health, and works to balance the states of the mind and body instead of assuming a drug or drugs can fix everything. Sometimes medications are necessary, but not in every case, and not forever, and certainly not as the only solution a person should ever be provided.5

Support for drug-free treatment has increased dramatically recently, as social and cultural movements are realizing the benefit of holistic health and lifestyle pursuits. As a result, holistic therapies are becoming more accepted in both mental health and medical care. It’s important to note that holistic wellness can include nutrition, diet modification, support for a healthy gut microbiome, neurotoxin removal, and many other non-drug-based treatments and alternatives to drug therapy and more generally refers to taking care of all the facets of your health and wellbeing.

Holistic Mental Health Therapy

Physical health is important, but so are emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, and more. In order to achieve optimal health and wellness, every aspect of a person must be in good health. The best holistic approaches are found when those using them understand and believe in the science-backed benefits holistic wellness can give them.

Holistic Mental Health Therapy

In holistic mental health treatment, CBT and traditional psychotherapy, can play a great part.1 The addition of other holistic mental health therapies, including attention to spiritual health,3 lifestyle health, exercise and nutrition components, can help to further improve the outcomes. By focusing on the individual components that can contribute to poor mental health, holistic mental health treatment can improve mental health and prevent relapse of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and substance use disorder.

Key Components of Mental and Physical Wellness

Holistic treatment could be likened to a tool box that helps to monitor and address aspects that relate to your mental and physical health. This set of tools can empower and uplift a person as they continue to work toward overall wellness. The key components of health include mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, lifestyle, and occupational wellness, and each contributes to your overall health in ways that are unique to you.

Mental Wellness

A healthy outlook could be described as one that allows a person to be able to feel comfortable in their own skin. This includes the ability to comfortably interact with others, make decisions, think logically, perhaps be more tolerant of others, and learn and grow from personal experiences. Improvements in these areas may enable one to improve one’s mental resilience against stress.

Physical Wellness

Physical health is more than just being sick or not sick — or fit or unfit. Physical wellbeing can be measured by your energy, strength, fitness, nutrition, sleep, flexibility, and more. Even when you are chronically ill or struggling with a mental health issue that affects your physical well-being, you can pursue improved physical health by focusing on making small changes that boost each aspect of your physical wellness.  Reducing the burden of accumulated toxins in the body is another key component to overall wellness. Toxic exposures are often overlooked in psychiatric diagnoses.2 

Emotional Wellness

Good emotional health is important to regulate emotions, work through stressful situations, and deal with uncomfortable feelings. This aspect of wellness is immensely important to overall health, but is often ignored in our society. Emotional wellness has a significant impact on how our interpersonal relationships function.

Social Wellness

Achieving holistic social health includes the joy of choosing to participate in social experiences and positive time spent with others. It can also encompass valued connections with friends and family and caring for other relationships. At its core, social wellness is a sense of belonging and strong social ties to the world around one, to create a more fulfilled and healthier life.

Social Wellness

Spiritual Wellness

A healthy spiritual life refers to finding purpose in life and discovering a connection to something deeply meaningful in one’s life. Motivation, resilience, a sense of belonging, self-satisfaction and positive self-worth as well as the appreciation of others are some manifestations of spiritual wellness.

Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness means you are able to find joy and meaning in the work you do. Considering the amount of time you spend at work, your state of occupational wellness can have a great deal of impact on your life. Fulfillment and growth in your career can be an asset to your overall wellness.

Why Is Holistic Care Important in Mental Health?

Mental health important. If your social, emotional, physical, or spiritual wellness is suffering, it can be detrimental to one’s mental wellness. Psychiatric medication may successfully numb unwanted feelings temporarily, but frequently comes with additional effects that are not desirable. A healthy balance of all aspects of wellness is needed to optimize happiness and health. One can consider all dimensions of health important, especially because they all connect, and interact with one another.

People are generally aware that stress can cause or worsen major health concerns, and that extremely stressful events can often lead to negative physical results. The concept of holistic wellness brings this connection up a level. We cannot continue to separate physical, spiritual, and social well-being from emotional happiness or mental health. For example, environmental medicine, one aspect of holistic treatment at Alternative to Meds Center, looks at the impact of toxic exposures and a person’s physical, mental, and emotional responses to such exposures. By addressing the multiple root causes of negative mental, physical, or emotional distress, holistic care can provide a wealth of ways for you to act on, for a better overall quality of life.

How Holistic Care Improves Mental Wellness

By addressing the connection between the mind, body and other aspects of health, holistic care can improve treatment outcomes and improve mental health.  Below this short list is an expanded description of how these components can be blended into one’s daily lifestyle. 

Some of the most significant benefits of holistic care include:
  • recognizing symptoms, analyzing their patterns, understanding co-factors & triggers
  • strategies to reduce stress and other concerns without relying on prescription drugs
  • changes to diet, including supplementation and correcting nutrient deficits
  • Analyzing specific symptoms can provide a roadmap in treating and improving specific areas of distress such as insomnia, digestive upsets, drug-drug interactions, genetic factors.
  • Stress can be reduced by exercise, meditation, yoga, and learned relaxation exercises. CBT can provide greater understanding and can help develop strategies to reduce the frequency and impact of triggers. Lower stress and greater calm within leads to a healthier mental landscape without relying on drugs or alcohol.
  • Diet improvements, including supplementation can be very useful in limiting symptoms such as exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Targeted nutritional supplements, and cleansing neurotoxins out of the body, are pragmatic strategies that can help eliminate mood swings and boost the quality of sleep.2
Benefits of holistic care

How Do You Achieve Holistic Mental Health?

Taking steps to control your stress levels is one important way to balance your mental health, particularly during and after treatment for substance use disorder. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to eliminate all the stressors and triggers in your life. However, learning to cope with stressors and triggers with holistic mental health practices is an extremely important skill to develop to improve your overall health and chances at recovery.

Holistic wellness considers the whole person, and by addressing your mental health this way, you can find productive ways to begin healing your brain, body, and self.

Some actions you can take to improve mental wellness could include:

• CBT and other genres of counseling.  ATMC delivers a wide variety of counseling to its clients

Alternative to Meds Center offers its clients many forms of counseling, so that individual preferences can be addressed most effectively. Group and individual counseling each have their potential benefits.6,7

• Meditation

Meditation has been well-studied for its positive mental and physical health effects.11 It can calm your mind as well as lower your high blood pressure. There are various forms of meditation that can help center the mind and body by practicing calm focus in the current moment, especially in times of anxiety or stress. Also, consider breathing exercises, as a way to breathe fully, allow oxygen to your brain, and quieten stress.

• Diet and Exercise, Get Active

According to the research, exercise is probably the most under-valued therapy on earth.8 A regular exercise routine can build muscle and endurance to keep up your physical health, create an orderly daily routine, and improve sleep quality. It can also boost your self-esteem and distract you from distress or worry. Yoga, and Qigong, for examples, combine exercise, movement, and breathing exercises. Such practices have a long and documented history of providing many benefits to overall well being.9,10 In the same way, providing your body with the proper nutrition can ensure you optimize your physical health and provide all the right nutrients to enhance energy, mood, and other vital aspects of mental health.

• Get Social

Nurture your social relationships to find a support structure in friends and family. If you take care to seek helpful people that support your recovery or mental wellness, finding a support system brings many positive effects to your emotions, health, and lifestyle.13 While in treatment at Alternative to Meds Center, peer support is a valuable and highly popular asset for our clients to enjoy.

• Get Rest, Improve Sleep

Proper rest can be key to a healthier life. Improvements in quality of sleep are linked to improvements in mental health according to research in the Medical Review of Sleep Journal.12 Keeping your brain recharged with adequate sleep and sufficient breaks can reduce stress, improve mental health, and boost your physical health. Seek non-drug-based solutions to improve sleep quality.

• Find a Hobby

Engage in a hobby that inspires both passion and fun. Finding something you love doing is necessary for emotional and spiritual well-being, and makes for a creative mindset. Creativity is especially proven to have a positive effect on mental health treatment.4

These are only a handful of the many potential approaches that may be incorporated into holistic mental health treatment. There are many other paths that can help you and your loved ones find the treatment that best suits and helps you grow and heal. Working with a holistic therapy expert is a good approach to find the right options for you.

Find a Hobby

Improving Your Health Through Holistic Wellness

Holistic treatments engage with every aspect of your health and help you learn the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes necessary to improve your quality of life. Through holistic treatment methods, you can discover long-lasting success and improvement. Rather than the minimal benefits and side effects presented by medications, you can address the root of the problem by treating the whole self.

At Alternative to Meds Center, during inpatient treatment a wealth of resources are blended into a comprehensive treatment regimen for each individual client. These can be viewed in detail in our services overview.

For more information about holistic treatment, contact Alternative to Meds Center today. We can help you address the underlying contributors to your unwanted symptoms, and thereby help you reduce or even eliminate psychiatric medications. With holistic mental wellness, you’ll learn how to live your most fulfilling and healthiest life.


1. Seow, L., Sambasivam, R., Chang, S., Subramaniam, M., Lu, H. S., Assudani, H. A., Tan, C. G., & Vaingankar, J. A. (2021). A Qualitative Approach to Understanding the Holistic Experience of Psychotherapy Among Clients. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 667303.  [cited 2024 April 2]

2. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076.[cited 2024 April 2]

3. Koslander, T., da Silva, A. B., & Roxberg, Å. (2009). Existential and spiritual needs in mental health care: An ethical and holistic perspective. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 27(1), 34-42. [cited 2024 April 2]

4. Hu J, Zhang J, Hu L, Yu H, Xu J. Art Therapy: A Complementary Treatment for Mental Disorders. Front Psychol. 2021 Aug 12;12:686005. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.686005. PMID: 34456801; PMCID: PMC8397377. [cited 2024 April 2]

5. Moncrieff, J., Cooper, R.E., Stockmann, T. et al. The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence. Mol Psychiatry (2022).  [cited 2024 April 2]

6. Nakao M, Shirotsuki K, Sugaya N. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for management of mental health and stress-related disorders: Recent advances in techniques and technologies. Biopsychosoc Med. 2021 Oct 3;15(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s13030-021-00219-w. PMID: 34602086; PMCID: PMC8489050. [cited 2024 April 2]

7. DeRubeis RJ, Siegle GJ, Hollon SD. Cognitive therapy versus medication for depression: treatment outcomes and neural mechanisms. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Oct;9(10):788-96. doi: 10.1038/nrn2345. Epub 2008 Sep 11. PMID: 18784657; PMCID: PMC2748674. [cited 2024 April 2]

8. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D. Physical activity, exercise, and mental disorders: it is time to move on. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2021 Jul-Sep;43(3):177-184. doi: 10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0237. Epub 2021 Apr 21. PMID: 33890431; PMCID: PMC8638711. [cited 2024 April 2]

9. So WWY, Cai S, Yau SY, Tsang HWH. The Neurophysiological and Psychological Mechanisms of Qigong as a Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 18;10:820. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00820. PMID: 31824346; PMCID: PMC6880657. [cited 2024 April 2]

10. Chawla V, Brems C, Freeman H, Ravindran A, Noordsy DL. The Future of Yoga for Mental Health Care. Int J Yoga. 2023 Jan-Apr;16(1):38-41. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.ijoy_25_23. Epub 2023 Jul 10. PMID: 37583539; PMCID: PMC10424272. [cited 2024 April 2]

11. Álvarez-Pérez Y, Rivero-Santana A, Perestelo-Pérez L, Duarte-Díaz A, Ramos-García V, Toledo-Chávarri A, Torres-Castaño A, León-Salas B, Infante-Ventura D, González-Hernández N, Rodríguez-Rodríguez L, Serrano-Aguilar P. Effectiveness of Mantra-Based Meditation on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 13;19(6):3380. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19063380. PMID: 35329068; PMCID: PMC8949812. [cited 2024 April 2]

12. Scott AJ, Webb TL, Martyn-St James M, Rowse G, Weich S. Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Dec;60:101556. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2021.101556. Epub 2021 Sep 23. PMID: 34607184; PMCID: PMC8651630. [cited 2024 April 2]

13. Kwag KH, Martin P, Russell D, Franke W, Kohut M. The impact of perceived stress, social support, and home-based physical activity on mental health among older adults. Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2011;72(2):137-54. doi: 10.2190/AG.72.2.c. PMID: 21639014. [cited 2024 April 3]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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