It’s completely impossible not to be influenced by our environment, right?
I grew up in the 1970’s & 80’s when fast food restaurant chains like Taco Bell and McDonald’s were common staples in every neighborhood where we lived.
And let me tell you… each time my mom handed me and my brother that $5 bill to walk over to Mcd’s and get some lunch (or dinner) I was beyond thrilled.
It felt like I was going to Disneyland for an hour.
Back then, making good or bad choices about our diet and our health was often defined by what we saw in our environment and the limited information available to us at the time.
(No, mom, I don’t blame you for feeding me McDonald’s 2x or more a week.)
Now with the organic food movement and lifestyle medicine–how we manage and treat our own diseases and chronic conditions with better lifestyle choices–we are in a unique position to make more suitable choices and take part in our own healing process.
Patients are now taking a bigger role in managing their health and partnering with practitioners who support them on their path to sustainable well-being.
This next wave of healthcare is already starting to happen.
And… YOU, as a healthcare practitioner, are in a unique position.
You have the opportunity to nudge your patients and clients into making better lifestyle choices by designing your environment to support your philosophy for better health.
Here’s an example:
Think of your art, photography and other wall decor as expressions of your philosophy of good health.
For example, a physician’s office serving the elderly community may reflect a large lifestyle photograph of a senior enjoying time in her garden with her grandchildren–planting food, flowers, laughing and having fun.
Another photograph may show a group of seniors happily gathering in a park on a beautiful spring day, sitting on a bench and feeding the birds, while enjoying the natural surroundings.
These are examples of subtle and powerful images that appeal to the emotions, promote optimism and hope.
They also show people (instead of telling them) how spending time in nature is proven to reduce stress and pain, and increase quality of life.
Many of us are used to visual cues to help us learn.
For example, for better or worse, television has played a huge role in influencing our choices.
Your patients see positive images in your healthcare setting and the subtle message is, “If she/he can do it, maybe I can do it too.”
This encourages your patient’s participation in her (or his) health, improves compliance and produces better outcomes.
Your healing practice becomes a cheerful place where your patients or clients enjoy spending their time.
That is great for patient outcomes and your bottom line.
So tell me: What does your environment say about your philosophy of optimal health and how can it better support the growing needs of your patients?