“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” WHO, 1948
When we talk about being healthy, people often think of it as the lack of illness or disability. This is akin to thinking of happiness as the absence of sadness. For many of us it is much easier to picture what “unhealthy” means. The concept of “health” has many components and each person will have their own personal definition.
In our minds, will frequently picture when we have been in a hospital, or lying in bed with the flu, or hugging a toilet after an evening of
drinking excessively and making poor life choices food poisoning. We’re all familiar with the feeling “sick”, but have you thought seriously about being “well”? Most of us go about our lives without considering how fortunate we are to be able to do so. We take for granted our ability to engage in simple activities such as getting out of bed, brushing your hair, going for a walk, or even shopping for groceries. Physical limitations may be a manifestation of the lack of health or they may not play a significant component at all. There are many individuals with disabilities could easily be described as “very healthy”. Conversely, there are those who are entirely able bodied that among the unhealthiest.
Health is more than the physical capacity to engage in an activity, there is a substantial psychosocial dynamic at play. As humans, even the most introverted of us have a need to communicate and interact with others. The deeper the emotional connection, the more important those interactions can be. When we lack emotional connections to others, our sense of self definitely feels “unhealthy”. When we have rich connections to those we care about, we experience a better sense of well being and happiness. Depression, anxiety and loneliness are unhealthy states, but they can be overcome with help and support.
What does healthy mean to you?