What does it mean to you to be healthy? When so many are concerned with “being healthy,” perhaps it would be beneficial to take a look at what that actually is. Is it merely being free from any disease or ailments? Is it freedom from any physical suffering? Does it mean not having to take any vitamins, supplements or medications…ever? Does it mean you never have to go see a doctor? If we are not sure what the goal is, how will we ever get there?
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
“Physical, mental and social well-being.” Physical well-being involves taking care of the body you have to live your life in: nutrition, fitness, medical care. Mental well-being involves a balance of self responsibility and self love, appropriate coping mechanisms to assist you in dealing with stress, freedom from worry, learning you can be happy no matter what circumstance you are in. And finally, social well-being involves having meaningful relationships with healthy communication. When it comes down to it, life is about relationship with yourself and others.
Physical, mental and social well-being are intertwined together. So what do you think, are you healthy? I’ve noticed that if you work on mental well-being first, the rest tends to fall into place.
Next post: how preventive medicine addresses physical, mental and social well-being.
Brooke Uptagrafft, MD
Dr. Brooke is a family medicine doctor.