Harper Woods library to host seminar on ‘Eight Dimensions of Wellness’

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published March 16, 2018

 Dr. Asha Shajahan and Suzy Berschback, both of Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, developed a seminar for instructing people about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness program.

Dr. Asha Shajahan and Suzy Berschback, both of Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, developed a seminar for instructing people about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness program.

Photo provided by Asha Shajahan

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods Public Library is inviting members of the community to join health professional Dr. Asha Shajahan for a presentation to improve their quality of life.

Called “The Eight Dimensions of Wellness: Creating a Healthier Life,” the seminar will instruct people on improving different aspects of their lives based on a course developed by Shajahan, who is the medical director of community health for Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, and an assistant professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and Suzy Berschback, the community affairs manager for Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe.

“Basically, Suzy and I have designed a course called ‘Eight Dimensions of Wellness,’” explained Shajahan. “It goes beyond the usual understanding of wellness, which usually just encompasses physical and sometimes mental wellness. … Having a balance of all these different areas in your life can help if you are, for instance, fighting chronic illness.”

The presentation will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, April 6, at the Harper Woods Public Library, 19601 Harper Ave.

“The eight choices are spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, financial, occupational, physical and environmental,” said Suzanne Kent, the adult services librarian. “Wellness is defined as being in good physical and mental health, so this program is designed to choose to make wellness part of our everyday lives.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association originally developed the Eight Dimensions of Wellness as a way for people to asses their lives and find ways to improve them in meaningful and practical ways.

“I think it’s a useful life map to have. Even though I am a physician, I think there are many things you can do in your life beyond prescription medication to improve and maximize your potential,” said Shajahan. “We go through what are the purposes of your life, what personal connections you have, what is your wellness lifestyle, and then each participant gets a workbook and there are different questions about where they are excelling and where they are lacking in personal wellness. We then come up with personal solutions to improve that status.”

Shajahan and Berschback began giving these seminars in January. Since then, they have seen positive feedback from those who have tried to put their lessons in practice.

“It came about because, in my practice, I see many patients with chronic illness, with conditions like depression or diabetes,” Shajahan said. “There were often social factors which were preventing them from dealing with other areas of their life, such as coping with their illness. It’s harder to eat better or exercise if they are worried about their finances or don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. If we touched on these things with people, they are better able to deal with whatever condition they have.”

Kent said she thought the seminar would fit in well with the library’s wider mission.

“I’ve looked up ‘Eight Dimensions of Wellness,’ and it’s something that is being done nationwide, and it’s learning about how to live your life better and make better choices for yourself,” said Kent. “It’s part of our library’s mission to help the people of our community to live and thrive. We want to partner with local groups and organizations to provide multifaceted programs to improve their lives and enjoy them.”

Shajahan said the Eight Dimensions of Wellness program is designed to aid people from all walks of life and at all ages.

“This is a class that’s appropriate for people of all ages and stages of their life. It can be very impactful in taking control of your own life and living a lifestyle that’s more healthful,” she said. “We’ve gotten really good feedback from the course. At the end, we do a reflection, and people have talked about lifestyle changes they plan on making. We hope to touch base with people a month after the program and see how they are doing. We keep getting asked to do it for other groups, so the reaction sounds overwhelmingly positive.”

Kent agreed and said she hopes this will mean happier and healthier futures for the people in her community.

“I hope people get some new insight from this program. No matter what age you are, whether you’re on the brink of retirement or just starting out, I think it can help people find a good direction,” Kent remarked. “This program really makes you think about different aspects of your life; when you think of ‘wellness,’ you don’t usually think about finances as part of that, but it’s all part of making your life better.”