Understanding the Connection Between Well-Being and Health
In order to understand what constitutes health, it helps to first define what health means. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a condition of the body that brings its well-being under control and is in a state that enhances the capacity for the body to heal itself.” Various other definitions have also been used over the years for different purposes. One common definition of health, from the WHO, is “exceeding the quality of the normal environment” and is “presence of at least one major preventable illness.” From this definition, it is easy to see that health involves more than simply being in good shape physically.
Mental health, on the other hand, includes qualities such as moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. A person’s moods, for example, can be indicative of his or her health or can indicate he or she is mentally unhealthy. Similarly, feelings, thoughts and behavior can all be indicators of the state of one’s physical health. Some people feel happy and relaxed most of the time, while others are somber and down in the dumps. When these varying emotions are combined with physical symptoms such as aches and pains, the picture becomes clearer as to what mental illness is and how it affects a person’s well-being.
The definition of “mental health” is also considerably broader than just being in good physical shape. Some of the symptoms that can indicate the presence of mental illnesses include depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, a constant state of skepticism and lack of interest in usual activities. Financial health, on the other hand, has been defined by the Organization for Financial Services as “the ability to properly meet the needs of financially capable people.” This financial well-being is primarily measured through personal assets, such as savings accounts and investments.
People who are healthy and have a good level of personal wealth are more likely to remain physically healthy and free from mental health problems. Conversely, those who are unhealthy (including obesity) and have little financial stability tend to become more prone to poor health and a greater risk of depression, cardiovascular disease and other health disorders. Therefore, a healthy diet is essential to both mental and physical health. A good diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products, while also including lean meats, poultry and fish. A diet that is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, whole grain breads and cereals and green leafy vegetables is also important.
Psychological well-being, which includes both a good sense of self and a positive outlook on life, is important to both mental well-being as well as physical health. A positive outlook is described as realistic and active and is often related to a sense of control and a desire to succeed. Those who are mentally healthy are typically healthy physically as well. This is because psychologically healthy individuals are optimistic, goal orientated and disciplined.
Health is affected by the environment we live in as well as genetics and heredity. Mental health refers to a state of mind that is characterized by happiness, vitality, assertiveness and positive attitudes. It is important for everyone to define their level of overall health on a daily basis. The American College of Nutrition recommends that adults be eating 3 portions of fruit and/or vegetables per day, with an additional ounce of nuts and/or low fat dairy products for good health. You can learn more about healthy eating, as well as healthy recipes, at my website.