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Four Quadrant Model

The name, "Four Quadrant Living", is inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, which is based on a four quadrant model. Ken Wilber, philosopher and thought leader, uses the term “integral” to mean comprehensive or inclusive. Integral Theory has been used in everything from business to medicine, psychology to law, politics to sustainability, and art to education.

Four Quadrant Living takes Integral Theory and applies it to health and wellness. Doing so helps us look at health in a more comprehensive way to recognize the broader scope of influencing factors. Health has four quadrants, but in today’s world, we often address it from a one quadrant perspective. Most of what we think of in terms of health and illness resides in the Body quadrant, but that is only one-fourth of the story.

Integral Theory applied to health can be seen below.

Four quadrant model of health

(Note: The four quadrant model is one of five elements of Integral Theory. The other elements are beyond the scope of this explanation.)

Mind = Interior Individual 
Body = Exterior Individual
Relationships = Interior Collective
Environment = Exterior Collective .

As depicted, the quadrants represent the interior and exterior, as well as the individual and collective, aspects of our lives. The top two quadrants, Mind and Body, represent the individual. The bottom two quadrants, Relationships and Environment, represent the collective. The left two quadrants, Mind and Relationships, represent the interior while the right two, Body and Environment, reflect the exterior.

Each of the quadrants interacts with and influences the others. The individual affects the collective and vice versa; and, the interior impacts the exterior and vice versa. For example, our individual health is impacted by the health of others, our relationships, the environment, and social systems. We may be eating well and exercising, but we cannot truly be healthy if at the same time our mind is stressed, our relationships are toxic, and our world is sick. Similarly, our relationships will suffer if we do not tend to our mental and emotional well-being.

Let's look at an example of taking a four quadrant perspective of a health concern instead of a one quadrant one. Jennifer has high blood pressure and is given medication by her doctor to treat it. This is looking at her health issue from a one quadrant perspective and treating it as such. In this example, high blood pressure is seen as what is happening in Jennifer's Body and it is being treated with medication to mask the symptoms. Jennifer’s blood pressure is lower as a result, but the underlying issues are still there.

Taking a four quadrant perspective on this health issue would look at Jennifer's diet, exercise routine, stress level, relationship support, and environment—all which have been shown to be factors in high blood pressure. Without addressing these underlying issues, Jennifer will have to be on high blood pressure medication for life. The medication, itself, causes other health issues for her, so it would certainly be desirable to be prescription-free.

By managing her blood pressure as a four quadrant activity—eating well, exercising often, lowering her stress, managing her relationships, and reducing toxins in her environment—Jennifer's blood pressure would come down naturally.

Clearly taking a four quadrant perspective on health gives us a better chance for addressing underlying issues so that they can be treated at the source rather than simply treating the symptoms. In this country, we are often so quick to turn to medication which causes a host of other health issues. Four Quadrant Living helps you find simple, effective, and natural ways to create health in your life. For more about our services, click here.

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