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Creating Value with an Integrated Care Approach

May 13, 2023 | by Alexis Freedberg

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Health is believed to be a combination of physical, mental, and social wellness, and it's thought that better health and happiness can be achieved by integrating these components. Research has shown that these elements are so closely linked that they can directly affect one another. For instance, depression can increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, or stroke, while chronic conditions such as cancer or heart disease can increase the risk of developing a mental health condition. The question then arises whether it's possible to improve the value of overall health by taking a holistic approach.

Benefits of combining all aspects of health

Multiple associations have been identified between mental health and chronic physical conditions. It is known that patients who actively manage their health report better mental clarity, lower stress, and less anxiety. As a result, ConcertoCare takes a whole-person approach to care by incorporating physical, mental, and social well-being to improve the overall quality of life. This approach is aimed at improving patient health outcomes and lowering the demands on the health care system, while also enabling patients to make greater contributions to their community and society. It is not necessary for only health care providers to adopt this integrated approach to health. Everyone can make a difference in their daily lives by increasing physical activity, consuming nutritious foods, and maintaining social relationships and support networks. 

Here are some easy ways to improve physical, mental, and emotional health that can have combined benefits: 

1. Incorporate more physical activity and exercise into routines.
When experiencing moments of stress and anxiety, focusing on oxygen intake has been shown to have several benefits, such as reducing anxiety, lowering the heart rate, and providing clarity of mind, which can instantly impact one's mood. Adding exercise to one's daily routine is an effective way to ensure proper oxygen intake. It can be viewed as movement for the body and dedicated time to focus. This daily 30-60 minute break provides opportunities for moments of clarity, gratitude, and increased mind-body connection.

2.    Engage in social activities.
In the current tech-driven, digital-first world, despite new ways to stay connected, isolation is becoming increasingly prevalent. People are more inclined to connect with their smartphones than with those around them. To counter feelings of isolation and loneliness, it's crucial to maintain personal connections. Engaging in activities such as phone calls, in-person gatherings, or even exchanging emails can help individuals feel connected to those around them, thereby increasing their own sense of purpose. It's essential to interact with family, a partner, friends, coworkers, or even pets to establish a sense of community.

3.    Improve sleep.
Proper sleep is crucial for enhancing mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Sleep deprivation can lead to short-term side effects like brain fog or irritability, as well as long-term consequences on physical health. It can reduce the immune system's functionality and increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it can worsen mental health symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Although missing an hour of sleep occasionally may not be harmful, prolonged sleep loss can have a significant impact. A nightly routine that involves reducing technology usage and incorporating stress-relief activities such as a hot shower, decaf tea, or reading a book can aid in ensuring a proper night's sleep. This routine can help set the body's rhythm to unwind, sleep deeply, and awaken refreshed and clear-headed.

4.    Develop a healthy outlet for stress.
Stress impacts all of us, and no matter what we do, there will be moments of stress in our lives. How we handle stressors will determine its impact on our health and well-being. Start by identifying those elements that cause stress, whether big or small elements, and determine the most beneficial way to handle them. Techniques such as meditation, massage, or deep breathing exercises can help to lower stress responses, reduce heart rate, and calm the mind. If stress is an ongoing factor, it may be helpful to capture those thoughts through daily journaling or dedicate time for a daily hobby or activity. And it can be helpful to talk to a health professional about ways to reduce stress. There is no shame in talking about mental health concerns and asking for help.

By taking a holistic approach to health, understanding the mind-body connection, and adding a greater focus on its connected impact, these elements can add greater value and work together toward better health and well-being.