LAKE OCONEE — Do you know what holistic health is? Wikipedia offers this definition: “A concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social and mentally should be taken into account and seen as a whole. … Holistic health focuses on all facets of human functioning.” Our primary relationships are a significant factor in our overall health and well-being. Recent research further validates that understanding.
A couple of recently published articles have focused on attachment theory as it affects relationships and ultimately the physical health of a person. The Journal of Health Psychology published data from a survey of 5645 adults showing an association between “Avoidant Attachment” — people who feel unable to get close to others or have others depend on them — and chronic pain.
People who were insecure in their relationships had further risks.
“Anxious Attachment” — a tendency to worry about rejection in relationships, feel overly needy, and find that others are reluctant to get close — was associated with a wide range of health problems, including heart-related diseases such as stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. “Anxious attachment” was also linked to higher risk of chronic pain and ulcers.
Lead author for this significant study, Lachlan A. Williams, said he was surprised at the relationship factor so involved conditions related to the cardiovascular system. It is interesting to note that matters of the romantic heart so do affect the physical heart. “Avoidant Attachment” and “Anxious Attachment” are worthy factors for an enlightened person to examine.
What are the implications of such information to you, Respected Reader? Perhaps it would be wise to have a more complete, holistic, annual exam relative to your health. Hopefully, you do have an annual physical exam with your physician. A wise person such as yourself may well add a supplementary psychological examine focusing on your romantic relationship and other close relationships, or lack thereof, in addition to examining your stress and overall emotional well being. There are health professionals who are specialists in looking at this element related to optimal health.
Since a significant part of my practice involves relationships – romantic, parent-child, siblings, friendships, and occasionally work place – I see up close the affects of relationships on a person’s well being. The romantic relationship, or absence of one, is the most impactful one of all on a person’s health. If that relationship is not in a good place one is likely to see stress issues, weight problems, anger management concerns, anxiety attacks, etc… all of which contribute to the decline of one’s overall health.
Dr. Stathas can be reached at (706) 473-1780. E-mail: Stathas@plantationcable.net.