Whole Person Wellness

~ By Thomas Jeffers, President, New West Physicians ~

As I consider what true wellness is about, I know that it goes beyond just physical well-being. It incorporates fostering good personal rela­tionships with family, friends, co-workers; being a person who is thank­ful and humble; and being generous with one’s talents by giving back to the community. It is in this spirit that we bring you a special edition of our Quarterly Newsletter dedicated to Whole Person Wellbeing. We hope you enjoy learning more about the journey to wellness!

As a basis for sharing this information, we have chosen to use the Whole-Person Wellness Model developed by Jan Montague, MGS. For over 30 years, Jan has focused on the advancement of whole-person wellness, education, strategies and outcome for individuals and organi­zations. Jan received her Masters of Gerontological Studies from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She serves on several national and interna­tional advisory boards and has authored numerous articles for profes­sional journals on whole-person wellness and optimal living across the life course.

Jan has graciously given her permission for New West Physicians to use this information free of charge – we appreciate her generosity.

Whole-Person Wellness, Six Dimensions of Wellness

Emotional Wellness
Promotes an awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings.  It reflects the degree to which an individual feels positive and enthusiastic about one’s self and life.  This dimension involves the capacity to manage feelings and behaviors, self-acceptance, and coping with stress and life’s chal­lenges.

All of us have experienced times where we feel good about ourselves – enjoying our family, friends, and co-workers with a sense of balance and harmony in our lives. All too often many of us feel otherwise – stressed, disconnected, frustrated, or angry. This is all part of the wonder of being human!

One secret is to use the “negative” feelings as a signal to discern what we might need to change in our lives. In my years of experience, both as an individual and as a physician, I find that the most important changes are not “out there” (i.e. my changing my spouse, my job, my co-workers, etc.) but rather “in here” within my thoughts, perceptions, or miscon­ceptions. Angry outbursts push people away in an attempt to keep distance and avoid confrontation or intrusion from those who care about us. I encourage people who are angry and frustrated to look deeper into their feelings because, beneath anger they will find hurt or fear that needs to be healed.

Counseling is often very beneficial for those struggling with these emotions. However, a simple but challenging approach is to ask the per­son that cares about you the most to listen to you express your feelings. This should be done in a calm, relaxed and quiet setting. Get the kids to bed, turn off the TV, and sit in your most comfortable room. Focus on sharing your hurt, fear, and disappointments while avoiding blaming or over analyzing. Your “listener” might ask for clarification for better understanding. The listener’s role is not to fix or solve the situation, but to truly listen, understand, empathize. After the sharing is completed, just give each other a hug – a hug of acceptance, hope, and support.

A further, more courageous and intimate step, would be to just sit with your spouse or a dear friend and ask them, “what about me has to change in order to be a better spouse, or friend to you”? If the other per­son loves and values you, you will be called to a deeper responsibility, to be more loving, attentive and caring with a focus outside yourself. This is a road to personal happiness.

Of course, if you feel significantly depressed, constantly angry, have persistent feelings of inadequacy, lose interest in enjoyable activities, or have thoughts of hurting yourself or others — seek prompt evaluation by your primary care physician.

In closing, we all have just this one life to live. . .

  • Live with a heart full of gratitude
  • Be kind to yourself and others – especially in time of stress and pain
  • Forgive often because it brings freedom to your soul and healing in your relationships.

To be continued in the April edition of Prime Time For Seniors. . .

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