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Holistic? Wellness? What the heck ARE they?

Wellness is often thought of as referring to physical fitness by itself or the combination of diet and exercise. Wellness coaching does not leave it there but instead has a much more holistic approach.

The next obvious, immediate question then comes up: What in the world does “holistic” refer to or mean? “Holistic” has become a popular word and, as a result, has been assigned quite a variety of meanings. Let’s look at a couple of actual definitions:’s definition of “holistic” is:


  1. Philosophy. incorporating the concept of holism, or the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts, in theory or practice.

  2. Medicine/Medical. of or relating to a form of medicine, such as chiropractic or naturopathy, concerned with the care of the entire person in all aspects of well-being, including the physical, psychological, and social, rather than with diseases and symptoms in isolation, and often using natural or traditional remedies.

Oxford Dictionary’s definition of “holistic” is:


  1. Philosophy. characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

  2. Medicine. characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

Which makes more sense to you or resonates more?

Holistic, in the life and wellness coaching application, refers to fundamentally recognizing the whole person: physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual, and that every aspect of our lives affects every other part.

How exciting, right? You can make a small positive change in one aspect of your life and it will positively affect other parts of your whole person! Wowza, elixir of life level of change here…

Well, it also means that when you make a small negative change in one aspect of your life, it may negatively affect other parts of your life! Yikes! That can be disconcerting and, if you choose to really dwell on it, overwhelming… and, therefore, debilitating. Why not just choose not to make any changes? Sure, you can do that! It would seem the safest way to not take the chance of messing everything up is to do nothing. Have you ever experienced a day when you make zero choices and change absolutely nothing?

Or you can choose to see this whole idea and life approach as a wonderful challenge and empowering. You can choose to make one positive change, which then affects not just that one part of your life, but your whole life – Mind-Body-Spirit.

A starting place is to recognize that there are things you cannot control and there always will be.

Yeah, bummer. However, there are also things you CAN control, if you choose to.

So what CAN you control? Here are a few:

  • Your thoughts. You can choose to focus on what's going right or what's going wrong.

  • Your activity level. You can choose to do or not to do … no matter how much or little.

  • Your view of yourself. You can choose to view the positive or the negative.

  • Your schedule. You can choose to be in control of it or relinquish control.

  • How you treat others. You can choose to be nice or to be mean.

  • Your nutrition. You can choose what you eat and when you eat.

  • Your level of honesty with yourself and others. You can choose.

  • To love yourself and others. YOU CAN CHOOSE.

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