Guest Blog Post – Change Your Perspective by Michael McBrayer
Change your Perspective—Improve your Health: The Roots of Functional Medicine & the Path to Positivity
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
Photo Credit: www.ibtimes.co.uk)
Changing perspective on any situation can often reveal new information previously unperceived. A basic example of this concept can be seen in the image of “Rubin’s Vase” above, shifting how you look at the image either reveals the profile of two faces, or the silhouette of a vase. Life is an intricate balance of binary oppositions similar to the black and white areas of the image, this exposes a discrepancy in human perception which enables different individuals to interpret the same object, image, or situation and draw vastly different conclusions about what is actually there. Before we spiral down a rabbit hole trying to determine what (if anything) is actually “real”, let me reframe our focus with a very common cliche: “Is your glass half empty, or half full?”
Photo Credit: www.melissasbargains.com
It is basically self evident that the optimists of the world have a higher tendency to succeed and enjoy life while the ‘Debbie-Downers’ out there seem to end up ALWAYS having something to complain about or some imminent disaster on the horizon that can’t be ignored. Margie Warrell explains the power of positive thinking over perception in very simple terms: “Expecting good things to happen will lead to taking actions that produce positive results. Expecting only more bad stuff to come your way will keep you from doing the very things that might have minimized or avoided just that!” (Warrell)
I’m not trying to imply that positive, optimistic people never experience disappointment or get sick—they are just less likely than their negative counterparts to allow good health to degrade into illness or a debilitating chronic condition. In her TED talk titled: “Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?” Dr. Lissa Rankin explores numerous cases where terminal patients with seemingly incurable diseases made full recoveries with no scientific medical explanation. The clinical examples she provides expose two fascinating discoveries: first, patients with positive attitudes experienced quicker and stronger recoveries than those with pessimistic outlooks, and secondly positive patient’s who had a supportive and nurturing caregiver recovered at an exponentially higher rate than those positive patients who received negative news from their caregivers or had no support system. Watch the full lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWQfe__fNbs
Clinical discoveries like the examples Dr. Rankin brings to our attention have resulted in a perspective shift within segments of the medical community. Doctors who have adopted the philosophies and practices of Functional Medicine have rethought the Doctor to patient relationship to focus on helping patients maintain heathy, balanced lifestyles, instead of waiting until problems arise to prescribe medication. The diagram below from The Institute of Functional Medicine illustrates this Perspective shift using a tree to model the interrelation:
Traditional medical practices focus on treating symptoms already present in a patient with medicine, or clinical procedures—represented by the leaves and branches. The functional approach is to return back to the ‘root’ causes of the symptoms by examining a patients daily activities, diet, and lifestyle—which appear in the diagram as the ‘roots’ of the tree.
A Functional Medicine Practitioner will first get to know a patient at “ground level” by learning more about their internal “root system”. Data is compiled on what is going well, what problems are present, and what goals the patient has for future development. After an initial interview and assessment the Doctor can prescribe necessary tests to further investigate potential disruptions in the patient’s balance between mind, body, and spirit.
Even though similar medical conditions can afflict many patients, the complex interaction of lifestyle and environmental factors which led to the development of the condition are unique to each individual. Therefore, curing or improving the condition for patient A could be a vastly different process than for Patient B. The diagnostic testing performed can identify environmental aggravators to avoid and inform lifestyle changes the patient can make to improve their problems independent of Pharmaceutical drugs.
When the roots gather the right nutrients in balanced proportion the health of the entire tree improves and maintains a harmonious balance with its’ environment. There are four main points to remember on your Quest to optimal health:
- Think Positive
- Don’t be afraid to change your perspective
- Build & nurture a strong foundation/ “Root System”
- Strengthen your relationship with a Doctor who will meet you at “Ground Level”
- Leopald, Aldo. “The Land Ethic”.1949. com. Web. 7-17-15. http://genius.com/Aldo-leopold-the-land-ethic-annotated#
- Warnell, Margie. “See The Glass Half Full Or Empty? Why Optimists Are Happier, Healthier & Wealthier!”. Forbes. 2015. Web. 7-17-15. http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2012/09/19/see-the-glass-half-empty-or-full-7-keys-for-optimism-in-tough-times/
- Rankin, Lissa. “Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?” Online Video Clip. TED x Talks. com, 12-18-2012.Web. 7-17-15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWQfe__fNbs
- “How is Functional Medicine Different?” The Institute for Functional Medicine. Institute for Functional Medicine, 2015. Web. 7-14-2015 https://www.functionalmedicine.org/What_is_Functional_Medicine/AboutFM/HowDifferent/
Information On the Author
Michael McBrayer is a graduate of the University of Georgia and is the Director of Marketing & Outreach for Quest Women’s Spa & Fitness Center and Quest Active Care LLC. He can be reached for comment or further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Mcbrayay on twitter.