The beginning of the year marks a shift and a time for change. A time to focus on establishing new behaviors that will help meet goals in the year ahead. When it comes to our health, the new year is a great time for renewal and reflection.
What is health? If you are free from a medical illness or have no new injuries, then you are “healthy,” correct? Perhaps, if all of your medical screening tests and annual physical are normal, then you can be assured you are healthy. Or maybe, if you also eat right and are fit and trim, then you can say you are truly healthy. Are these definitions accurate or does it limit our true potential?
For most integrative medicine physicians, these definitions fall short. Defining health based solely on the absence disease falls short of optimal wellness. For an integrative medicine physician, it is the definition of health that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual factors which make an individual whole and lead to optimal health.
For the new year, consider asking yourself, is there a new way I can nurture my health beyond waiting for the next medical problem to emerge? Maybe making a change in my diet might be best. Perhaps focusing on a new practice such as yoga, meditation, or personal prayer might be the best way to cultivate my health? Look at all four aspects of your health physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and pick one or two that are right for you this year.
One practice that I have been introduced to by a patient of mine is “picking your word for the year” She picks her “word” for the year and uses this as her mantra for the year and uses it to reflect regularly if all aspects of her health are meeting this word. What would be your word?
Whatever catches your eye. Make sure to do your homework on any new practices you undertake. Learn as much as you can, look for good credentials from those whom you seek care. If you are unsure, consider visiting an integrative medicine physician to chat about what seems to be the best fit for you. Knowing that many chronic diseases take 10-20 years to fully develop, ask yourself, is there something I can do today that can greatly improve my health for years to come? Once small change in 2017 is all it takes.
Dr. Sharyl Truty is an Integrative Medicine Physician, owner of Balanced Physician Care in Ponte Vedra, FL, and a Positive Focus board member. You can find more information about her or join her email list by visiting her website, or call her office: 904-930-4774.