Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a condition of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity”. A variety of other definitions have also been applied to health throughout the years. Some of these, while they are accepted in most professions, are not as universally acceptable. As a result, there are many differences among what professionals consider to be health.
For example, defining wellness has become a more complex process with more research and scientific determinants used to evaluate levels of well-being. It is no longer simply measuring the absence or presence of disease, because disease affects every part of your life and the ways in which you experience it. Today, well-being is often equated with disease prevention, but prevention takes time, effort and resources. It is not the goal of prevention, but learning about and taking responsibility for your risks, knowing how to manage stress and other factors that influence your well being, and having access to quality health services.
Two broad areas of analysis that are used in the evaluation of health are physical and mental health. The physical component refers to your mind and body. Your physical well-being reflects your ability to perceive your environment and take in what you are exposed to, as well as your ability to function productively on a day-to-day basis. Mental health incorporates aspects of both the physical and mental components. It includes your ability to think, reason, learn, communicate and work productively. All of these aspects can be affected by environmental factors that are beyond our control.
Environmental risk factors that directly affect physical health include smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity. They also affect mental health. These factors are thought to contribute to or may play a role in the development of chronic disease and impairment, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and hypertension. Spiritual health is becoming increasingly recognized as an integral aspect of good health. It is associated with your sense of purpose in life, your sense of spirituality, and the quality of your relationships.
A good relationship with a spiritual teacher can go a long way toward improving both your physical health and your mental health. When you are able to tap into your spiritual wellness you become better able to manage both your physical health and your mental health. Spiritual wellness has a lot to do with your well being and your ability to overcome illness, and to live a long, productive life.
Having a healthy well-being helps to reduce your chances of getting serious disease, as well as prevent many other illnesses and premature deaths. It requires making positive changes in your behavior and your life. Healthy behaviors include paying attention to your physical health, being physically active, regulating your stress level and reducing your use of tobacco and alcohol. A well-balanced lifestyle includes having regular exercise, consuming a balanced diet, limiting your use of prescription drugs, and getting adequate sleep.