The iceberg concept of health and wellness

Updated: Jun 5

When people ask me what Positive Mindset Coaching for health and vitality is and how it works, I always find it helpful to first explain the iceberg concept of health & wellness.

Our state of health (and illness) can be likened to the tip of an iceberg - we only get to see a small part of the iceberg above the surface (approx 10%). We don’t see it’s true size above water. The rest (or majority) of the iceberg is underneath the surface of the water - unseen (approx 90%). So, in order to get to the root cause of illness, we will need to look beyond the tip and below the water - to the ‘unseen’ to really understand how this physical disease manifested.

The layers below the surface of the water are what creates and supports our current state of health and wellbeing.

Science tells us that the mind influences the body and if we are thinking stressful thoughts it can activate the fight-or-flight response causing physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, nausea and panic attacks. It can interfere with bodily systems and rhythms - knocking them out of balance.

The first layer below the surface is the lifestyle and behavioural level - this can be anything from how we eat, how we move our bodies, how we relax, etc. Many of us may ‘know’ what a healthy lifestyle looks like, yet we still continue to live in ways which are not benefitting us. In order to understand why we behave in this ways and make these choices, we need to look deeper under water, to the next layer below.

The second layer we encounter is the psychological and motivational level. This is where we uncover why we live the lifestyles we have chosen - we look at our subconscious beliefs about ourselves and the world. We look at what we have learned from our culture, society, parents and teachers. What is the belief that is driving a particular destructive behaviour? For example, it could be that our mother used to deal with stress by binge-eating chocolate bars and junk food. As a child, we observed this behaviour and learnt that this was how we deal with difficult emotions and stressful periods in life. We then went on to do the same, and never quite realised this at a conscious level. However an affect of doing this over time can result in obesity and a physical disease manifesting. It is only when we start to get conscious of these beliefs that we can then challenge them and choose to no longer allow them to control our behaviour. We can decide to choose healthier ways to deal with stress, such as practicing yoga or staying on top of our emotions by journalling.

The next layer is the spiritual, being and meaning realm. This includes everything in the subconscious mind, as well as what you feel your purpose is in the world. It gets in touch with who you really are - your being-ness, your essence, your spirit. It goes beyond your thinking mind and points to an inner ‘knowing’. This is referred to as a ‘realm’ more than a ‘layer’ because it has no clear boundaries and permeates all the layers above it. This deeper realm ultimately determines whether the tip of the iceberg (representing your state of health and wellbeing) is either one of disease or wellness.

The overall point is - in order to heal, we need to delve deeper than the ‘surface’ level. We need to look underneath the surface and address any issues we find there. This is when we can make sustainable positive change happen in our lives because we have gotten to the ‘root’ of the problem instead of just doing things to ‘cover it up’ temporarily.

Positive Mindset Coaching is a great way of addressing the ‘unseen’ and helping you to move past blocks and make lasting behaviour change. This helps you to cultivate a state of health and wellbeing you really want for yourself - whatever that looks like for you.


If you are interested to find out if Positive Mindset Coaching could help you, email me at to book a free discovery call!