Optimize Health: Biopsychosocial-spiritual Model


The biopsychosocial-spiritual model to optimize health includes the major, synergistic elements of a functioning person; it is an integrated, four-pronged approach to well-being (biological, psychological, social, and spiritual).  The World Health Organization suggests that the concept of health is, “… a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The scientific literature demonstrates that independent, significant, positive effects result from attention to each facet of this model, while in conjunction the outcomes are that much more exceptional. At first glance, this may appear as a lot to attend to while navigating through our lifetime journey towards optimal health; however, incorporating elements from each facet of the model at one time, is rather easy to accomplish. Here are some examples:

  • Group exercise class at a local church that ends in a sharing and prayer time (bio, psycho, social, spiritual)
  • Walking while meeting with a psychotherapist (bio, psycho, social and spiritual option)
  • Walking and talking with friends (bio, psycho, social and spiritual option)
  • Group yoga that includes mindfulness meditation (bio, psycho, social, spiritual option)
  • Community clean-up/service opportunity that involves movement (bio, psycho, social)
  • Church/religious groups that meet to study/discuss health behavior management and faith (psycho, social, spiritual)
  • Walking children to school (bio, psycho, social)
  • A gratitude practice while walking or exercising that ends in prayer (bio, psycho, spiritual)
  • Children at recess or shortly before school that involves organized walking around the playground while talking (bio, psycho, social)
  • Listening to a sermon, lecture, or podcast while exercising (bio, psycho, spiritual)
  • Enjoying a nutrient dense meal with friends/family while exchanging smiles, laughter and kindness, this following a prayer before the meal (bio, psycho, social, spiritual). 

Demonstrating and encouraging this type of behavior for/with our children, loved ones and those in our sphere of influence can be considered an act of kindness and love. We humans really are wonderfully made and can create many opportunities to care for the dynamic, enduring organism that is each one of us.