The concept of health is a highly contested one. It makes sense predominantly inside its home context and is tentative by nature. Health is much more than the absence of disease and risk factors. Health reflects the complex interactions of a person’s genetics, lifestyle, and environment. The Zagreb Andrija Stamper School of Public Health is committed to this understanding of health and has adopted it as its working definition.
Physical health is one dimension of total well-being and refers to the condition of an individual’s physical body, taking into consideration everything from the absence of disease to fitness level. It also encompasses the ability to live comfortably in an individual’s physical body and includes a healthy diet, moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise, adequate sleep, and access to medical care for illnesses and injuries. Taking care of your physical health is important, not only because it will make you feel better physically but also because it can help to prevent diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
People’s health is the result of many factors, including their genetic makeup. Some genetic patterns and mutations can increase a person’s risk for certain diseases or decrease their resilience to illness. Other factors include a person’s environment and lifestyle, such as their family, social network, and cultural values. This can influence how much exercise a person gets, what they eat, and whether or not they smoke. Over the last several decades there has been a shift in thinking about how to understand and measure health. As a result, there has been an increasing recognition that mental and physical health are interlinked and mutually influential. This paradigm shift has been accompanied by a growing need to explore the determinants of this relationship, and particularly the extent to which shocks and conditions in one domain are correlated with those in another. To address this, we employed comprehensive estimation methods (time-differenced and GMM IV estimators) drawn from econometric approaches to test for the reciprocal and endogenous nature of the association between physical health and mental health.
A person’s mental health influences their overall well-being. It is the foundation for emotions, thoughts, learning, relationships and contributing to family, community and society. It is also the basis for managing challenges, recovery and resilience. Mental wellness is a positive sense of wellbeing and an ability to cope with life’s ups and downs. It involves feeling happy, having a purpose in life and feeling like you belong. It includes being able to solve problems and make decisions. It also involves being able to express yourself, including your feelings and ideas. People often casually use (and misuse) terms such as “depressed”, “anxious”, or “ADD”. However, these words can have a very different meaning when used in the context of mental health.
A mental health problem or disorder is a medical condition that affects a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors and interferes with their day-to-day functioning. It may be temporary or long-term and can cause distress and difficulties at home, work or in their relationships. Often these problems come in episodes with periods of good mental health in-between. Symptoms of mental health problems or disorders can be controlled with treatments such as psychotherapy, medication and complementary therapies. These are best delivered in a combination to provide the most effective treatment.
There are many things that contribute to mental health and wellness, from genetics and environment to the way we think and react to our circumstances. Some risk factors increase the chances of developing a mental illness, while protective factors reduce it. There is an urgent need to strengthen mental health care globally, and the best approach is through a comprehensive, community-based network of accessible, affordable and quality services and support.
When most people think of health, they immediately picture physical symptoms like a sore throat or back pain. Or, they might think of mental health, which is also top of mind for many today. However, there is another dimension of health that may be less obvious but just as important: social health. Social health refers to an individual’s sense of connection and belonging in their community. It’s about nourishing healthy relationships and contributing to the growth of the communities in which you belong. Mutual social support is an important indicator of this dimension of health, as it can attenuate stress and encourage personal development.
You can cultivate your social health by intentionally making time for community involvement and spending quality time with friends. This can include community sports, cultural events, or even just regular coffee dates. You can also try using apps that connect you with new friends or make it a point to meet up with loved ones in a positive environment (like a park or yoga class). It’s important to note that social health is different from the social determinants of health, which are non-medical societal factors that influence well-being and health, such as housing, income, education, and environmental pollution. While they are interrelated, it’s important to distinguish between the two and understand how each can impact your health. One of the best ways to improve your social health is to spend time with people who genuinely care about you and whom you can trust. This can help strengthen your emotional regulation skills, which is key to maintaining healthy relationships in general.
Spiritual health is how you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Some people find their spirituality through religion, while others may find it in music, art or a connection with nature. No one knows exactly how spiritual health affects our overall wellbeing, but it seems that the body, mind and spirit are connected, and the health of any of these elements can have a direct impact on the other. A spiritual health practice can help you feel a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, which can lead to better mental health. Spirituality can also improve your ability to cope with illness and promote resiliency. Many people who have a mental illness say that their spirituality helps them find hope and strength during difficult times.
Some of the participants in our study said that spiritual health consists of the following aspects: feeling close to a supreme power; being positive and having good feelings; balance; peace; feeling vitality and empowerment; and hope and satisfaction. Another participant believed that spiritual health is defined by helping others without expecting anything in return. When it comes to your spiritual health, try to be open minded and listen to what your heart is telling you. If you have no particular beliefs or spirituality, that is perfectly fine. You can focus on self-care, mindfulness and meditation to boost your mental wellness. Whether it’s listening to your favorite song, taking a walk in nature or practicing yoga, take time for yourself to do things that make you happy. You deserve it! —Dr. Arshia Momennasab, Professor, Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
While a lot of us think of physical health when we hear the phrase, emotional wellness is just as important. In fact, some studies show a direct connection between a person’s mental and emotional well-being. When someone is emotionally healthy, they are aware of their emotions and have coping strategies to deal with both everyday stressors and traumatic events. Having good emotional health doesn’t mean that you never feel sad or angry, but rather that you learn to express those feelings in a productive way, such as through therapy or through the support of friends and family.
A healthy emotional state can be influenced by many things, including stress, the environment, genetics, and lifestyle choices. For instance, if you’re constantly working long hours and spending too much time away from home, it may affect your ability to maintain healthy relationships or keep up with work and family obligations. Poor emotional health can also lead to self-destructive behaviors like unhealthy food or drug addictions, as these often serve as a distraction from the root cause of a person’s problems.
For example, Emma has strong emotional health, as she is able to stay focused on her goals and not get caught up in the negative aspects of the stock market. However, if she doesn’t take care of her emotional health and focuses on work alone, it can be easy for her to become overwhelmed and snap at people around her. This is a sign of compromised emotional wellness, as she would need to seek professional help to address her mood swings. A therapist could help her manage her stress levels and improve her relationships, as well as teach her healthier ways to cope with anger and depression.
Health is a multidimensional concept that encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being. It is not merely the absence of disease, but rather a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellness. Achieving and maintaining good health requires a balance between various factors such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, mental well-being, social connections, and access to healthcare. It is a dynamic and evolving state that varies across individuals and can be influenced by genetics, lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and socioeconomic conditions.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
What Factors Contribute To Overall Health?
Overall health is influenced by a combination of factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, environmental conditions, and access to healthcare. Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, stress management, and strong social connections all play significant roles in maintaining good health.
Is Health Only About Physical Well-Being?
No, health goes beyond physical well-being. While physical health is a crucial aspect, mental and emotional well-being are equally important components of overall health. Mental health involves emotional resilience, cognitive function, and the ability to cope with stress, while emotional well-being relates to experiencing positive emotions and a sense of fulfillment in life. A holistic view of health includes all these dimensions, recognizing that they are interconnected and collectively contribute to one’s well-rounded state of health.