"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything."
Health is more than just a good or bad feeling, an external aesthetic look, or numbers on a medical chart. Health is the all-encompassing state of who we are as individuals.
Unfortunately, health has been misconstrued in our society, misrepresented by the media, and warped to be used synonymously with things like thinness or physical strength.
In reality, true health is the intersection of our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual state of being at any one time.
Today I'm going to share with you details about the four areas that define health and my interpretation of them.
Health is the most important aspect of our existence. It affects us every moment of the day, can change instantly or overtime, and is the number one determinant of the trajectory our life takes.
But what is it really?
Health is defined by wellness in the following areas...
Physical health is the state that your bodily structures and systems are in at any given time. It encompasses what you feel and what you sense. When your physical health is not in homeostasis you experience signs and symptoms internally and externally. This can include pain, headaches, rashes, or anything that manifests itself physically on or within your body.
Mental & Emotional Health
Mental health refers to the condition of your mind and your ability to balance your emotions. It includes how you respond to daily stress, the life situations you encounter, and how self-aware you are. Poor mental and emotional is harder to recognize, and more controversial to acknowledge, than physical health. People may be aware of their poor mental health but unwilling to do anything to correct or heal it. Mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of however, and are just as critical as physical health problems. Seeking counseling, pharmaceutical assistance, or practicing daily self-care is nothing to be ashamed of.
As humans, we thrive on connections with others. We're a global community and we need interactions on a daily basis to feel fulfilled and to live happily. Social health involves the quality and types of relationships you have with the people in your life. Family, friends, mentors, co-workers, classmates. They're all important and they all impact your social health in some way. Social health also is a measure of how well you get along with others. This gauges your tolerance and open-mindedness to people who are different from you or live differently. The ability to develop and maintain friendships is so important. These types of relationships add value to your life and contribute to the creation of your overall social support network. Man (or woman!) cannot thrive in isolation. We need emotional and physical support to be whole.
While spiritual health can have something to do with someone's religiosity, it is not a necessity to be involved in a religious community. Spiritual health has more to do with your morals and values and how they influence the direction your life takes. It involves being able to discern right from wrong and to question the meaning of our existence.
No area is more important than the other. In fact, most times levels of each are in flux. It is possible to be doing well in some areas, while suffering is occurring in others. The key to overall health is the old cliche... BALANCE. Not an easy concept or practice. But the more we increase our focus on working towards homeostasis in the four areas mentioned above, the healthier and happier we'll be.
Health and happiness are inextricably linked.