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Pillar 1: Community & Foundations

Updated: Aug 30, 2023


Hey Dr. McNamara here with wellness Wednesday. Today I would like to talk a little bit more about the shared medical appointments that we had brought up last week. Now, if you haven't seen the video that myself or Dr. McLaughlin did last week, then go ahead and check those out either on our website or on our YouTube channel.

Now last week I introduced the idea of group medical appointments, and then Dr. McLaughlin took it a step further and informed you guys that we will be partnering with the heal community. Now, this is very exciting news. They're an awesome group of coaches that are here to help you through your health journey. So we're very excited about this and you should be too.

Because Dr. McLaughlin did such a wonderful overview of the program last week, today I would like to cover the first pillar of the six pillars that are part of this comprehensive program. So the pillars we will be discussing over the next few weeks will go as following pillar one community pillar, two nutrition and digestion, three relaxation and distress, four movement, five sleep, and six environment and relationships.

The first pillar we will talk about is the pillar of community. This is our first pillar because it was one of the most important as well as neglected aspects of health faced in today's society. We saw this first hand. We live in an unprecedented times right now, folks, not only have we been facing a pandemic for the past couple of years, but we have seen our health as a nation deteriorate as a whole. One of the most difficult and unpredictable factors that impacted our health was this lack of social interaction.

We didn't have the social interaction because we were forced for lockdowns. Now there wasn't a whole lot we could do about that, but let me give you an example about how community and online virtual health information can improve these outcomes. The access to health information especially during a pandemic can really have an impact. So let me tell you about this study. In this study, the authors aim to examine the associations of COVID-19 lockdowns with changes in eating behavior, physical activity, and mental health. And then they wanted to look at the modification effects by virtual things, such as digital health diet literacy, as well as E health literacy on these associations.

What they found was that COVID-19 lockdown measures negatively affected eating behaviors, physical activities, and mental health among most outpatients. What they also saw was better access to these high quality DDL and E heal systems were able to mitigate a lot of these negative impacts of lockdowns which may empower patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to protect their physical and mental health.The studies like these, as well as just the understanding of human behavior allows us to really understand how these communities work and why they're so successful.

Here's another study that was done in 2017. This looked at how, for whom and under what circumstances group health visits work, and what they found in this study was that there were nine primary factors that can explain why these types of appointments worked so well. Here they are.

The first one, group exposure, combats isolation which in turn helps remove doubts about one's ability to manage illness. Two, patients learn about disease self-management vicariously by witnessing others illness. Three, patients feel inspired by seeing others who are coping well with their illness. Four, group dynamics lead to patients and providers developing more equitable relationships. Five, the providers feel an increased appreciation and rapport towards their colleagues leading to increase efficiency of care. Six, providers learn from their patients how to better meet their patient's needs. Seven, adequate time allotment of these visits.really allows the patient to feel supported in their health journey. Eight, patients also receive professional expertise from the provider and firsthand information from their peers resulting in a more robust health knowledge and better comprehension. And the last one, patients had the opportunity to see how the physician interacts with fellow patients, which allows them to know the physician a little bit better and determine their level of trust, which leads to overall greater health.

This is awesome stuff you guys, and this really makes sense on how group health visits have such a big impact on the individual health versus the traditional one-on-one visit. Now, before I go, I quickly wanted to talk about the transtheoretical model of change. And I want to bring this up because many of you probably had never heard of this. And when it comes to our actual health, a lot of times we do need to make a change and this needs to be a long lasting change. So this is a six stage model that focuses on the individual's ability to make a decision and to do it in a way of intentional change.

Let me go through these stages with you. Now, the first stage is the precontemplation stage. Now in this stage, people do not intend to take any actions in the foreseeable future, foreseeable future being within the next six months. People are often unaware that their behavior is problematic or that it produces negative consequences. People in this stage often underestimate the pros of changing their behavior and place way too much emphasis on the cons of changing their behavior.

The next stage is contemplation. In this stage people are intending to start the healthy behavior within the foreseeable future. People recognize that their behavior may be problematic and a thoughtful and practical consideration of the pros and cons of changing the behaviors takes place within this stage. With an equal emphasis placed on both the pros and cons. Even with this recognition, people may still feel ambivalent towards changing their behavior though.

The next stage is preparation also known as the determination stage. So in this stage, people are ready to take action. Within the next 30 days, people start to take small steps towards their behavior change and they believe changing their behavior can lead to a healthy life.

Now we move on to the action stage. This is where people are really starting to put their ideas and their changes to the test. In this stage people have recently changed their behavior and they intend to keep moving forward with that behavior to really solidify this change. People may exhibit this by modifying their problem behavior, or acquiring new healthy behaviors. So this is when you can start incorporating other healthy behaviors.

Then we go into the maintenance stage. Now this stage people have sustained their behavior change for a long time. Now this is more than six months defined in the literature and they intend to maintain the behavior change going forward. People in this stage work to prevent any types of relapses to earlier stages, because it is a constant thing we need to work on.

The very last stage is the termination stage, and this stage people have no desire to return to their unhealthy behaviors and are sure that they will never relapse since it is rarely reached.

People tend to stay in the maintenance stage. Often many times the termination phase is not reached, but I know with this community and how strong you guys are as individuals. We can totally get to that termination stage.

I hope you guys learned something new today and are ready to improve not only your health, but the health of your community. Stay tuned for later this week, we'll be talking about pillar number two, nutrition and digestion. Also, if you haven't yet, please like this video and subscribe to our YouTube page for more content on health and wellness. Now, before I leave, I do want to quickly read a little quote that I like.

It goes like this, "In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it".

This quote is by Marianne Williamson. I think it speaks volumes on the powers of individuals and the individual heart, and how it can lead to community healing as well as just overall improvement in health and happiness.

So I hope you guys have an awesome day and we will have more information about nutrition and digestion later this week.

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