Mental health healing and wellness is part of a holistic approach to wellness. Caring for our mental well being, and healing from difficult experiences is as critical as eating healthy to prevent high blood pressure.
What is Holistic Healing?
Holistic healing takes into account the interaction between the mind-body-spirit, which is often seen as one. There is a belief that a dysfunction in one area, for example – a physical injury, can affect the whole person and other areas such as the mind and spirit.
Many Western forms of healing do not consider the significance of using culture or spiritual practice to heal which may be important to you and your healing. It is common for Black people to use holistic healing in their daily life.
If you would like to engage in more holistic healing practice. There are some tips for you! Be mindful that not all of these suggestions will be appropriate for you, as we are all unique.
Wellness, of our minds, our bodies and our spirits is a process of creating balance. This balance gives us peace. A sense of calmness. An easiness that empowers and strengthens our capacity to manage through the stresses in our life.
Starting off with your body: Over the counter medication is not the only way to heal your body and take care of your physical health. Engaging in other activities can also be great to heal your body such as traditional healing. Engaging in natural medicines rooted in Indigenous & African centered cultures.
Suggested naturopathic medicines & approaches:
- Naturopathy – Skilled medical professionals skilled in the body, natural medicines, and understanding the connection between mind and body.
- Herbal medicines and other home remedies –Medicines that are naturally developed and grown that address prevention and interventions.
- Acupuncture- Chinese medicine designed to address conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Massages – Physical relaxation to reduce body tensions and stiffness
- Exercise- Addresses stress relief, builds cardio and muscle, and improves serotonin
- Aromatherapy and essential oils- Enhances and relieves stress related system, cleans the environment, improves medical conditions
- Reiki- Creates chakra balances and body’s equilibrium
Spirituality & Meditation
For your mind, many people like to engage in prayer, meditation, yoga to help foster healing for their mind.
Spirituality is extremely important to many Black individuals, and has been seen in traditional practices of Voodoo (also spelled Vodou, Voudou, Vodun). Voodoo in the Western World is widely misunderstood. Voodo is a religious practice, now practiced widely in African countries and Haiti. The word Voodoo means spirit or deity and it is a worldview that encompasses philosophy, medicine, justice, and religion. The fundamental principle is that everything is in spirit. The goal of Voodoo is to “serve the spirits” (sevi lwa) through prayer and various devotional rites at God and particular spirits for health, protection, and favor. Devotional rites include song, dance, prayer, and diet. Engaging in spiritual practices such as voodoo can help foster spiritual healing.
It is important to think about what brings meaning in your life. To practice spirituality, you must ask yourself, “What brings me peace?”.
- For example, many people find meaning in practicing their faith and religion by going to church.
- Some people enjoy meditation or prayer to find peace.
- Healing circles can be used as well
- Mentorship programs can allow you to connect with other people that also experience the same realities that you do – especially in regard to racial trauma, discrimination, and culture.
We learned to “self-hate” through a society that convinced us that Black was less than. On our journey to reclaim our self-love, we learn to love ourselves. Loving ourselves means that we embrace all parts of our identity: our spirits, our minds, our bodies, our knowledge, our histories, our community, and each other. Healing ourselves from race trauma means that we embrace and empower ourselves to seek support.
Healing through Storytelling
While you may know of those practices, another traditional practice is story telling. Historically, storytelling is an important way to heal in Black history – Black people come from a long line of story tellers. Storytelling also allows for your experiences to be validated. Many people tell stories of not just their past, but stories of their future. People tell stories about their pain, stress, and dreams for the future.
Some people like to engage in self-affirmations to practice self-love. Building your relationship with others such as your family can be a great way to reduce stress. It is important to also think about things that you enjoy doing and continue to do that as part of your self-care and to reduce daily stress. Engaging in self-love may include: Attending Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps to explore the connections between self-love and trauma. Practice Self-Talk. Re-framing unhelpful thinking messages (i.e. “I am not good enough”), with affirmations and helpful self-talk helps to improve our capacity empower ourselves, and heal history of trauma. Develop Self-care. Take care of yourself by engaging in healthy practices that soothes your body and soul. Adapt Healthy Boundaries. By establishing boundaries between yourself and others, your work, and your relationships you can maintain your healthy sense of self.
written by: Samantha, MSW Student