What is Health? (2023)

Health is an overall state of well-being encompassing physical, mental, social and economic aspects. It is a condition that reflects the complex interactions of a person's genetics, lifestyle and environment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in 1946 as 'a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'.

Physical Health

Physical health is a term that describes the normal functioning of your body. It’s about how your body grows, feels and moves, how you care for it, and what you put into it.

Having good physical health can help you stay healthy, reduce your risk of illness and injury, and increase your energy and performance. It also can improve your mood and quality of life.

Your physical health depends on your genes and environmental factors. Your diet, sleep patterns, activity levels, and other habits contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.

Mental Health

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community.

A person's mental health is affected by factors in his or her daily life, relationships, and physical health. It can also be caused by factors outside of his or her control, such as a medical condition or family history.

People can seek help from healthcare professionals to improve their mental health, including psychiatrists, psychologists and primary care physicians. These specialists can help you identify symptoms, understand your diagnosis, and learn coping skills. Treatments may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, and support groups.

Social Health

Health is defined as complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO).

People who have healthy relationships with friends, family and neighbors have longer lives and lower stress levels than those who are lonely. They also have healthier endocrine systems, cardiovascular functioning and immune systems.

Having friends who support you through good times and bad can make all the difference in your emotional health. It can help you feel cared for, surrounded by positive interactions and encourage you to make healthier choices.

It's a critical component of comprehensive health education, and it must be included in any health curriculum that seeks to teach students how to thrive and lead healthy lives. It connects to many important health skills including understanding influences, interpersonal communication, decision making and advocacy.

Financial Health

Financial health is the ability to meet your current and future commitments without being negatively impacted by unexpected expenses or debt. This includes basic necessities like food, housing and healthcare as well as larger expenses such as education and retirement savings.

In addition, having a positive credit score is also a key indicator of financial wellness. It helps you get approved for loans with lower interest rates and better terms.

The Building Wealth and Health Network, an evidence-based program, has partnered with Black women to build social capital, financial capability and resilience through trauma-informed peer support. The Network is the only financial wellness intervention in the world designed to target low-income populations.

Spiritual Health

Spiritual health is a state of mind that involves developing a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, including your morals and ethics. It can also include activities that involve religion, such as meditating or attending worship services.

Your spiritual health can be improved by spending time in nature or interacting with people who share your beliefs. Gratitude is another important practice to cultivate.

A recent study examined relationships between spirituality, health-related behaviors, and psychological well-being in the context of acquired education (Ghaderi et al., 2018). Path analysis and linear regression were used to model the relationship between these constructs.

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