On the matter of Health
Welcome to another Fresh Start Mondays, where we change the narrative. Today, we will be looking on the matter of health and its importance in our current environment. We are living in a time where many things are constantly changing. How well we are able to deal with these changes… our adaptability and agility will determine our health are in this season.
Health as defined by World Health Organization (WHO), it is a “State of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It is a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis.
Let’s break down this definition to ensure we grasp its fullness.
- Well-being describes the state of being comfortable or happy; therefore, health involves us being in this state of comfort physically, mentally and socially.
- Dynamic is characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. Hence, we can conclude that our health is not static… it is always changing.
- The small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or in this case our desired health is considered to be adjustments. Or the process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation.
- Adaptation is the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment. By making adjustments we adapt to our new normal and hopefully thrive.
- The changes we experience can be described as stresses, which is the physiological disturbance or damage caused to an organism by adverse circumstances. Or something that causes a state of strain or tension.
- We are able to achieve an equilibrium when opposing forces or influences are balanced. At this point we would be in homeostasis, which is the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. So, when we are able to find and maintain that balance then we would have achieved homeostasis.
Now that we have a better understanding of the concept of health, we will look at mental, physical and social well-being.
- Physical illnesses are those that affect our bodies, they can be short term, such as the flu, cold, an ear infection or a broken limb. They can also be long term, which speaks to chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes or heart failure. Hence, being physically well means that we take care of our bodies and exercise due diligence to prevent physical illnesses. Enabling our bodies to withstand the stresses of life.
- Mental well-being addresses those issues that are related to our mind and emotions. Grieving loss of a loved one or valued possession can be something short term that affects our mental well-being. However, if not treated appropriately then the risk of something starting as a loss can become a long-term illness such as depression. Yet still, there are chronic mental illnesses such as Bipolar disorder. It is important that we recognize that if our mental well-being not maintained, it will also affect our physical health.
- Our social well-being speaks to our interactions with others as well as our sense of community. It is important that as individuals we have a sense of belonging, and our community largely influences this. Should our social well-being be affected for any reason then our mental well-being is also affected.
- So, we see that our physical, mental and social well-being, are all interconnected and all influence each other.
Maintaining good health enables us to life full lives, where we are able to enjoy our blessings. It enables us to adapt to different conditions and thrive. And it enables us live a better quality of life, we won’t lose work or school days due to illness, hence, we are more productive.
We each have a role to play in maintaining our health and they include some simple steps such as eating timely nutritious meals, getting enough rest (6 – 8 hrs of sleep), knowing when to take a break, respecting our bodies and minds, maintaining good relationships and practicing cleanliness.
We also have a role in encouraging good health with those around us by maintaining good relationships and participating in the community.
Let’s change the narrative… a healthy me and a healthy you… creates a healthy community.
Written by: Vanesia Bowden