Historically, the concept of a person’s health was considered easily determined. If an individual was neither sick, nor struggling with a disease, then they were (generally) considered healthy. The difficulty with such a simple assessment is that it disregards too much! It more or less presumes health based on observable, physical aspects of a person.

Presently, the expression ‘holistic health’ is quite popular and becoming moreso!

Because holistic well-being recognizes the need for a broader perspective on what qualifies as health, it is also a better approach to individual healthcare.

Holism‘, a term which is based upon the notion that the whole is different than the sum of its parts, has become associated with homeopathy as it reflects the many aspects which deserve consideration in determining well-being.(1) Exactly what those tenants or pillars of holistic health are is what we will discuss here.

In researching this article, a realization that the selected topic was one where myriad interpretations had obscured the basic importance of the information became quickly apparent! How many actual pillars were widely recognized? Why was there little congruence of opinion? A renewed focus on how we define wellness began before the Great Depression. Through the many decades which followed and the social upheavals associated with some of those eras, both the recognition of spirituality as well as the importance spirituality plays in determining a person’s health became more clearly defined.

To clarify, there are numerous pillars of whole person wellness, but the actual number may vary depending upon your source. Not unlike myself, many of my friends knew growing up what I will term the primary aspects of well-being. Those are body, mind, and spirit. Early YMCA programs actually used those terms to successfully market their facilities and programs! I’ll begin with these three.

  • BODY – If we recognize the importance in maintaining our health, most of us begin here. We walk, run, jog, workout, hike, bicycle, and even practice yoga, pilates, or take a spin class to keep our physical self fit. We improve our physical strength and stamina. Doing so helps to protect our bodies, raise our immune responses, and increase our energy levels. But that’s just the physical. Our bodies must also get a certain amount of sleep in order to function optimally. Hence, resting becomes as important as exercise. Proper nutrition, hydration, and  even hygiene also play a part in helping us maintain optimum health.
  • MIND – Our mind is a most important piece of overall wellness. Our minds are responsible for the formation of our self-image. Being able to think clearly, focus, and reason logically are essential for us to function day to day and, most importantly, perform the work we do for ourselves or others. Cognitive functioning depends on a relaxed mind, and emotional stability. Because our emotions can cause us to act irrationally, our ability to control, accept, and realize those feelings while not letting them dictate how we react to unpleasant or uncomfortable situations is imperative.
  • SPIRIT – Spirituality refers to the ability to experience meaning and purpose in life through a connection to one’s self, or a power greater than oneself.(2) Our spirit controls how we interact within our living world. Here is where our self-concept becomes so important. Our spiritual strength allows us to find calm, focus, motivation, or even dedication to the success of our own goals! While many persons seek to understand their spirit through an organized religion, others find their spirit inspired by being in nature. Spirit is a very personal aspect of our overall well-being. Tapping into the essence of our soul allows us to build our spirituality.

The aforementioned aspects of holistic wellness represent the holy trinity of holistic well-being. In seeking to expand upon those core pillars, it does become necessary to recognize the importance of two additional tenants of holism. Emotional and social well-being both play a critical role in bringing balance to our overall health!

Logic would dictate that both of these aspects are internalized and unique to the individual. Because this article is specific to personal, holistic wellness, the often associated and (additional) more newly recognized aspects of occupation, finances, and environment as pillars of wellness won’t be part of this discussion.

  • EMOTIONAL – Emotional wellness encompasses the ability to navigate your feelings.(3) This means identifying, assessing, and effectively sharing those feelings with others. In mentioning emotions previously, we stated that emotions are capable of affecting our logic adversely. That is not to diminish the importance of being capable of feeling those emotions and being able to recognize the ways in which they can affect our judgement. Maintaining a state of happiness, or a feeling of being hopeful is dictated by our emotional health. Conversely, so is sadness.
  • SOCIAL – Social well-being involves our relationships with others. Are you aware there is a measure of intelligence that reflects a person’s emotional intelligence? Persons lacking that will struggle in building relationships with others. How readily we can make friends or interact with others in a social setting reflects on our social wellness. Because human beings use their relationships with others as support networks, our stability in new surroundings or work environments is also a part of the social pillar of holistic wellness, too.

Each of us stands to improve both the quality and depth of our own relationships by being aware of the importance in focusing upon our wellness from a holistic, non-medical perspective.

Footnotes / Endnotes:

          1. Shealy & Soren Wellness– ‘What does ‘Mind, Body, Spirit Actually Mean?‘ by
            Dr. C. Norman Shealy, PhD, MD and Dr. Sergey Shealy-Sorin – 2021
          2. ‘Five Pillars of Holistic Wellness’- by Ms. Eileen Payden, 2015 – The World of Health UK
          3. Eight Pillars of Holistic Wellness – by Jenna Templeton /
            Ask The Scientists. – https://askthescientists.com/pillars-of-wellness/


        Photo Attribution:

          • Holistic Wellness – Five Pillars of Holistic Wellness – The World of Health UK – https://theworldofhealth.co.uk/

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Advocate for clean water, sustainable living, renewable energy, as well as a believer in healthy living, yoga, tiny homes, and the conservation of Florida's natural resources! ~ Florida is in my HEART & SOUL!