Small changes can create big shifts. We see that in all aspects of life and it is true for your well-being as well. In a previous blog I shared with you my top five reasons to make small changes. Small changes help you to move forward on your wellness journey in the best, most comfortable and feel-good way that actually improves your health and well-being. A significant part of why small changes create big shifts is the integrative nature of the body, mind and spirit, and all its systems.
Whether you’re trying to heal an illness or injury, or you’re simply trying to improve your health and wellness in general, you have to come at it from multiple angles, and to do that you have to see the whole picture. If you’ve read my book, The E Factor, or have heard me talk, then you are likely familiar with The Four Quadrants of Well-being. This approach is based on traditional Chinese medicine. When I’m determining a holistic plan for clients I ask questions and use Body Talk (you can download it from my website) to identify what may be contributing to the ongoing problem(s). The Four Quadrants are interdependent. Anything we do will impact more than one quadrant if not all four in some way.
The Four Quadrants of Well-being are:
- Mechanical – physical body, movement
- Chemical – nutrition, hormones, toxicity
- Energetic – life-force energy
- Spiritual/Psychological – mind and spirit
Let’s look at a couple examples. Sleep is critical to your overall health. Poor sleep can be both a cause of issues and a symptom of other problems. Improving your sleep and finding the root of anything hindering sleep can radically shift your well-being. Here’s a view of sleep from the perspective of The Four Quadrants of Well-being.
- Mechanical: Sleep enhances proper nerve function; or poor sleep posture can negatively impact nerve function.
- Chemical: Sleep strengthens the immune system, provides the appropriate increase and decrease of hormones such as melatonin and cortisol; a lack of sleep accelerates aging as it negatively impacts natural antioxidants like melatonin.
- Energetic: rejuvenation (cells store energy).
- Spiritual/psychological: Sleep elevates mood, and recharges brain and cognitive function.
As a chiropractor, low back pain is one of the chief complaints I hear from clients. Often they may have a subluxation and need to be adjusted to relieve pain. However, just as often the subluxation may not be the root cause, or the only contributing factor. Here’s a view of low back pain from the perspective of The Four Quadrants of Well-being.
- Mechanical: Low back pain can be caused from bad shoes, sitting too long, tight muscles, spinal misalignment or a bad mattress to name a few.
- Chemical: Low back pain may be a result of dehydration, constipation and/or adrenal fatigue.
- Energetic: Pain in the lower back could indicate a lack of intimacy.
- Spiritual/psychological: Feeling a lack of support, anger or an inability to manifest intentions and desires can present as low back pain.
Can you see the crossover and interdependence of the mechanical, chemical, energetic and spiritual/psychological elements of wellness? I’m really just scratching the surface with the depth and breadth of how The Four Quadrants of Well-being can be used to understand contributing factors to sleep, low back pain or any issue. What I want you to see is that well-being is complex in both what creates and maintains it, and how it should be treated. A multi-faceted problem needs a multi-faceted solution. When it comes to shifting your health and well-being it is often not one small change, but a mix of several that create the right blend and compound to move you toward wellness.
What aspect of your well-being are you trying to improve? How might you apply each of The Four Quadrants of Well-being to create the shift you desire?
Originally posted February 28, 2015