A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing | Chiva-Som International Health Resort | SHA Plus+ Certified Luxury Destination Spa Resort | Chiva-Som Hua Hin, Thailand

A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing

A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing

- Wellness Articles
Chiva-Som Meditation

In Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine, balance is the key to wellness. More specifically, wellness requires a balance of temperament, and moderation in motions of the mind.

According to TAIM philosophy, each individual is composed of humours, or elements, and when these humours are out of balance, illness, including mental illness, prevails. For example, “if the brain is affected by abnormal phlegm (water) the patients are quiet and silent; if by bile (fire) they are vociferous, malignant and act improperly; if the brain is heated (fire and air) terrors, fears and terrifying dreams occur; if it is too cool (water and earth) the patients are grieved and troubled.”

Maintaining mental wellbeing requires conscious effort, just like physical wellbeing. As physical fitness prepares the body for handling the demands of everyday life, so too mental fitness prepares the mind to cope with daily stressors, cognitive tasks and emotional responses.

Imagine being able to laugh at the dozens of small setbacks that occur during the course of a day, or pausing in those moments when you feel emotionally reactive, taking a step back and seeing things rationally. Cultivating mental fitness helps cultivate resilience of the mind and may even improve resistance to stress altogether. Momentary pauses can help to reveal emotionally driven choices and habitual patterns that may be detrimental to your wellbeing.

Everyday practices to improve mental wellbeing

Practise mindfulness: Oftentimes, we associate meditation and mindfulness with escaping from stress, and although meditation can be used in this way, this state of being present in the moment provides even further benefits. Being mindfully aware helps put the brakes on a mental state called hypervigilance – being overreactive to everything that is going on around you, much like a cat jumping at the slightest noise. Daily meditation can hone concentration, improve memory and optimise cognitive function.

Many people find it difficult to begin or sustain daily meditation. Start with 5-10 minutes of focused, rhythmic breathing to build the habit of slowing down each day. Keep focusing on breathing and each time your mind wanders, acknowledge the thoughts, then bring your attention back to the breath. Over time, this practice will enhance your ability to clear and focus the mind.

Explore new challenges: The mind is always forming new neural connections, or pathways between nerves in the brain. When we learn something new, such as a different language or a musical instrument, our brain forms new pathways in a process called neuroplasticity (think of the word plastic, which can be moulded to new shapes). The more we engage with new activities and learning, the greater these neural networks become. Find something new to do each week, such as travelling to a place you’ve never been or learning how to dance.

Practise neurobics: A combination of ‘neuro’ and ‘aerobics’, neurobics is a collection of exercises designed to build new connections in the brain. A simple example is non-dominant hand exercises, such as writing or performing everyday tasks with the opposite hand. This may sound easy, but try brushing your teeth or writing with your non-dominant hand and notice how much you have to think about it! There are numerous activities during the day that you can modify to exercise your brain and mental fitness.

Take herbal remedies: Saffron has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine, and is also added to food in Arab and Persian cooking. A powerful antioxidant, saffron is known to improve learning skills and memory, as well as relieve depression and anxiety. Melissa parviflora can also be used for anxiety, as well as resulting conditions such as insomnia and migraine.

Dr. Jason Culp - Research & Development Director, Chiva-Som
For the past decade, Dr. Culp has held the position of Senior Naturopathic Physician at Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, where he conducts natural wellness consultations with guests. In addition to his role as Naturopath, he is the founder and director of the Research & Development department, with the primary objective of evaluating and exploring the use of evidence-based natural therapies in a holistic wellness setting.

Dr. Culp lectures internationally on the topic of wellness. His philosophy is that in order to create sustainable health, guests must fully engage and play an active participatory role in their own wellness process. The empowerment of the individual and the guest’s authentic understanding of their wellness goals, intentions and motivations take precedence in health and healing. In this way, each guest leaves with the feeling that they are the most powerful advocate in their own wellness journey.

Dr. Mubaris Ahmed T. - TAIM Specialist, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som
Dr. Mubaris Ahmed T. is a Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine therapist. A graduate of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, he graduated first in his class, going on to win numerous awards in his 14 years of practice.

Dr. Mubaris is at the forefront of research and innovation in Eastern therapies, including mind-body work. His trademark patience and compassion has ensured a loyal following of guests. 

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