Suite One, 34 Murwillumbah Street, Murwillumbah NSW, Australia

Olwen Anderson's Blog

You're not a machine, so why approach your health as if you are?

Saturday, May 19, 2018
“Biopsychosocial”. Now there’s a big word. Doesn’t exactly roll easily off the tongue, does it? And yet this convoluted expression has been popping up more, thanks to a growing realisation: that none of us are machines.

The traditional approach to physical health problems has been to address them as if your body were a mechanical instrument: when some part or another malfunctions approach repairs as though it were a malfunctioning spare part. For example, the mechanical approach is to a depressed mood is to chemically change your brain neurotransmitters. But what’s happening with your mood might have less to do with your brain chemistry and more to do with how you’re feeling about your lack of purpose in life or your unsatisfying relationships. So just changing your brain biochemistry won’t address the root of the problem.

The term “biopsychosocial” is short for a biological-psychological-social approach: a wholistic way to assess your wellbeing and a guide posts to treatment for illness, particularly chronic illness. This approach considers that how you manage your physical body affects your health, but so does your emotional health, and the health of your relationships with other people. Even your work. They all affect one another.

One example of this connection is feeling fatigued. You might have the best diet in the world, but if you’re unhappy at work your body is likely to express this in some form. If your relationship at home is struggling, you wouldn’t be surprised to experience some reflective physical problems (like stomach problems from the stress). And if the community you’re living in is dysfunctional (to use an extreme example, if you’re living in a war zone), you could expect your physical and emotional wellness to be affected. What biopsychosocial means for you is that in order to get healthy, it’s important to look after your body, certainly. But just as important to pay attention to how you feel emotionally, and what your relationships are like with other people - including your community.

Want to explore this in relation to your own health? Grab a piece of paper, draw three overlapping circles, and in each circle write down how your physical health is, what’s happening with your emotions, and what you think of your relationships. Then consider the overlapping parts: could your emotional health or relationship issues be affecting your physical health? You might notice some interesting connections that could help you find the best treatments to get better.

If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy "Being Connected To Your Community Can Help You Stay Healthy"

Book An Appointment After something specific?

Recent Articles

Olwen Anderson @olwenanderson


Subscribe to my ezine and receive your FREE recipe ebook for healthy breakfasts!