If we asked a group of people to define optimal health, their particular answers might be fairly different. Quite a few would say physical health is the vital thing. For them, athletic abilities or physical capabilities may be what matter most. Other individuals might view good health in terms of relationships and sustaining social connections. Still others feel that emotional health and intellectual challenges are most significant.
We’re all unique and complex persons. We mature and change as various challenges, problems or needs become a part of our everyday lives. But exactly how do we continue to grow and keep in good health?
These days, healthcare professionals concur that health isn’t merely “freedom from disease” or disability, but that it includes life’s physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual aspects as well. It is not just medical self-care and treatment of health problems that promote optimal health; it’s increasing potential as well.
Below are five areas that comprise your overall health:
Physical health pertains to your body, and incorporates eating habits, exercise, medical self-care and treatment of health issues. Smoking, drugs, and alcohol use have possible damaging impacts on your health.
Emotional health describes your state of mind. It is how you react to day-to-day stresses, your feeling of worth, and your capacity to relax and enjoy leisure.
Social health is the ability to keep healthy interactions with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers.
Spiritual health involves having a sense of purpose in life, the ability to give and receive love and the ability to feel goodwill toward others.
Intellectual health comes from the mental stimulation and growth we get through our work, school, community service, hobbies or cultural pursuits.
Promoting optimal health in any or all of these areas may well mean changing your lifestyle. However, choosing and sticking to healthy behaviors can be tricky. As an individual, find what works for you and your particular situations and needs.