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Consider a Holistic Approach to Wellness

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When someone wants to improve their health, they often start with diet and exercise. But to feel well and stay well, there’s more to consider than just physical health.

That’s why Samaritan providers recommend a holistic approach that encompasses all eight aspects of wellness, not just one or two.

“Wellness is not just the absence of illness,” said Brent Godek, MD, a family physician and medical director for Samaritan Health Services. “We encourage people to think beyond their physical state.”

Wellness Includes Eight Aspects

  • Body – Being physically active, eating healthy and getting quality sleep
  • Community – Being connected and having a support system
  • Emotions – Having effective coping strategies and satisfying relationships
  • Environment – Being in safe, pleasant and stimulating surroundings
  • Finances – Accepting and understanding your money situation
  • Mind – Recognizing your creative abilities and expanding your knowledge
  • Spirit – Having a sense of purpose and leading a meaningful life
  • Work – Finding ways to grow your skills to enrich your life

“Each aspect contributes to the well-being of the whole person,” Dr. Godek said. “When one is out of proportion, it can affect the others.”

When someone has a medical condition or is experiencing a health problem, Dr. Godek encourages them to think more broadly than the diagnosis, medication or treatment.

“Taking a holistic approach can have an impact beyond their medical condition or diagnosis,” he said. “It can be preventive in avoiding future medical conditions.”

Even for those experiencing good health, Dr. Godek said it’s important not to take it for granted. Many people ignore the aspects of wellness until they get sick, when it can be harder to work on them.

And no matter how healthy you feel, there’s always something you can do to improve your wellness, whether it’s taking a class, working on a puzzle or starting a retirement account.

“I have found that often the healthiest people are those who have found a way to be active and engaged when they were younger,” he said. “So don’t wait. Do it now.”

For more ideas about how you can improve your wellness, visit samhealth.org/GoodLife.