INSIGHTS: A New Perspective for the New Year Ahead

When you hear the term “whole health,” what comes to mind? Your entire physical well-being? Your mind-body connection?

Whole health is even more expansive and looks at the whole person. It’s based on ancient practices that date back 5,000 years and incorporate the whole mind-body-spirit connection, shown in this quote by Plato:

“For the part can never be well unless the whole is well.”

Over the centuries, this concept evolved into today’s definition of holistic health, reintroduced in the 1970s. It incorporates all areas of well-being: physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, occupational, spiritual—and even an individual’s relationships and interactions with their environment.

Each aspect of well-being is interconnected, and if one aspect is not well, the others can be disrupted. For example, if someone is nervous about an upcoming workplace event, they may experience physical symptoms, such as a stomach ache, or behavioral issues, such as a shorter fuse, which can then impact their relationships.

When we can understand how each aspect of our health works together, we can take charge of our well-being.

At this time of year, many of us are focusing on New Year’s resolutions. It’s common for people to limit their focus to their physical health. A study shows that the top three resolutions of 2022 were to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight.

This year, I would challenge you to revisit your goals from a whole health perspective. Think about everything—your relationships, your surroundings, your financial health, your social life. Are there any changes you would like to make?

A good way to evaluate your goals involves a brainstorming activity, known as the “Start, Stop, and Continue Approach.” The idea is to create a quick list of answers for the following three questions:

  • What are some activities you would like to start doing to add value to your life?
  • What are some activities you would like to stop doing, which do not bring value to your life?
  • What are some activities you would like to continue doing that add to your life?

Don’t limit yourself when answering these questions. Just jot down whatever ideas come to mind. Once you have your lists, decide which goals to commit to. Choose one or two answers for each question and identify steps you can take to reach those goals.

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