Here’s the situation. A patient is admitted into the hospital. They say “I’m pretty healthy normally. I don’t know what happened. I was feeling ok, and then, I started having this ill feeling in my stomach a few days ago. It’s causing me to lose my appetite. Could I have the flu?”
The Principle: This patient’s situation may have been caused by more than one thing. When thinking holistically about your health, I want to challenge you to think broader. Holistic thinking expands and integrates the biological, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual aspects. It is anything that has the potential to affect your health. Think about the many directions you are pulled on a daily basis. Consider what is important to you. Your health is not limited to one specific item, but it is surrounded by everything in YOUR world. I do want to emphasize your world because this changes person to person.
The Pitfalls: If you are not thinking holistically concerning your health, you limit and exclude areas of your life that are important to the big picture. Every area in your life makes a contribution towards your health. It is wise to include and investigate each area when your health is at risk.
Unlearn/The Don’ts: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Most of us are familiar with this quote. It’s actually a pretty good quote, and there is some truth to it. My only problem would enter if someone was to fixate that it only takes eating an apple to keep illness at a distance. I have seen this many times in my nursing career.
Instead of thinking holistically about their health, some patients focus in on the one thing they did or the one rule they followed. In order to come to experience holistic health, one must unlearn blaming one incident and think holistically about all the factors at play. An example may be for the above situation. Rather than the narrow focus on “I’m pretty healthy normally…Could I have the flu?” What if the presentation was more holistic?
“I have been under a lot stress for a few weeks at my job. When I get home, I’ve been taking a couple aspirins a day for the pounding headaches I’ve been getting. My diet also hasn’t been the best lately, but I do eat an apple for breakfast each morning.”
So you see it doesn’t help to just focus on the one thing that was done right when there were other facts that play an important role in the holistic thought process.
Relearn/Do’s: In the process of your relearning, don’t throw away the idea of an apple a day. Just expand on it. Incorporate the whole picture that is your world. With that holistic picture you will be able to problem solve much more precisely in bringing your health back to a state where you benefit from it.
Application: To experience life to the fullest, you must embrace good health. Thinking holistically will allow you to take control of your health and direct you to areas of concern.
To adopt the holistic way of thinking follow these steps:
- Examine your current view of your health and how you would define being healthy.
- Consider your energy expenses. List everything in your daily life that involves your energy, be it positive or negative. This includes family and friends, employment and caregiving whether guilt-laden, pleasurable, joyous, or anxiety-producing.
- Think about your list. How do the items you listed contribute to your health, negatively or positively?
- Practice thinking holistically about your health including everything from your list. When problems arise consider the sources from your list.
[Taunya is nurse, author, and a two year homeschool veteran. She is currently working on two books, the 3rd in the Brady Boe series, and a writing challenge novel entitled, Take Me Off the List. Find her author page at facebook.com/authorTSW]