Humans have survived over the generations because we were closely attuned to the world around us. It is important to do our “inner work,” but we must balance that with being attuned to our external world, our surroundings, as well. Surroundings, though not often featured in clinical discussions, is an important aspect of self-care in the Circle of Health. Topics related to surroundings, which can inform Personal Health Plans (PHPs) include where we live, where we work, and how the external world affects our emotions. Other topics include avoiding toxins, spending time in nature, and seeking health care in facilities that are truly healing spaces.

Key Points

  • Research in the field of epigenetics indicates that our surroundings have the power to affect us at the level of our genes, through a variety of biochemical mechanisms.
  • Optimal healing environments—the surroundings that are most conducive to health and well-being—require a balance between internal, interpersonal, behavioral, and external forces that influence our health.
  • When you consider living spaces, keep topics like homelessness, clutter, neighborhood crime, pests, and the presence of weapons in mind, in addition to other specific attributes of someone’s home.
  • Elements of a healthy work environment include good ergonomics, taking breaks, and an absence of workaholism as well as good relationships with colleagues and fine-tuning the attributes of the work space itself.
  • People are exposed to thousands of potential toxins every day. Through healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding exposures as much as they are able, they can decrease their overall toxic burden.
  • Healing spaces can have a favorable impact on patient outcomes. Pay attention to lighting, noise, art, temperature, other factors that research indicates can support healing.

Please see the downloads section for more detailed clinician and patient information.

Disclaimer: This information is for general education. Please work with your health care practitioner to use it in the best way possible to promote your health.