Mental health is how we think, feel, and act, as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence, through adulthood. Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad, or stressed sometimes. But with a mental illness, these feelings do not go away, and are severe enough to interfere with your daily life. It can make it hard to meet and keep friends, hold a job, or enjoy your life.
Mind-Body-Spirit Interventions use a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some of these are techniques that were once considered to be complementary or alternative medicine, but have now become main-stream in the treatment of mental health. Mind-body-spirit (MBS) therapies are regarded as an essential approach that acknowledges each person’s capacity for self knowledge and self-care. It emphasizes the person’s openness to participate and his or her desire to succeed, to be healthy, and happy. It has often been said that MBS interventions views mental health and physical health issues not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation.
Up until about 300 years ago, most cultures had indigenous healers who treated the person as a whole, not separating body and mind. Treating the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the person as one entity was standard practice until the 18th century, at which time the scientific model moved the study of medicine to separate body and mind. According to Barrows and Jacobs, “Mind-body-spirit medicine combines characteristics of ancient traditional healing systems with the modern biomedical model to create an integrated approach to health care.”
Some reasons people consider complementary or alternative treatments are:
• Feeling that western medicine is too mechanical, dogmatic, or compartmentalized
• Belief that western medicine is fine for what it is, but does not go far enough
• Continued dissatisfaction with psychiatric treatments amongst mental health services
• Concern about the safety of medications, particularly those used to treat mental or emotional problems
• Seeing alternatives as less invasive than western medicine
• Objections to what they see as “instant fix-it” or “pill-popping” attitudes
• Desire for a sense of spirit or human depth that seems missing in western approaches
• Desire for engaging more of the “whole” person in treatment
No matter what your reasons are for exploring alternatives to mental health, exploration could easily be one of your best options. For today, this is Dr. Tyler Woods saying walk in peace…
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