Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is, “a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not the absence of illness and infirmity.” Various definitions have been employed over the years for different purposes. In the United States, health has often been looked at as the absence of illness and disease. However, the definition of health is much more complex than this. It includes the ability to have a good quality of life and to maintain it through eating well and avoiding risky behaviors. It is also important to realize that the definition of health is affected by cultural norms in many countries.
According to some health professionals, there are 5 major components of wellbeing. They are physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental. Each of these components can be broken down further to individual components such as the quality of relationships, social support and the role one is perceived to play in his or her life, the impact of previous illness and whether one feels they are able to control their own body and mind. When these five components are all considered together, it becomes easier to understand what constitutes the concept of defining health.
The first component, physical health, relates to your ability to live a normal and healthy life in the face of sickness. It also includes your capacity to work and your ability to sustain the appropriate activities for maintaining health. The absence of major illness or disability may make it easier to obtain a definition of health. However, one cannot negate the impact of chronic diseases on your life. The definition of healthy may then relate to being fit and having a reasonable body weight. Another factor to consider is that although you may be healthy, if you are unable to obtain the right amount of essential nutrients, such as iron, you will fall within the realm of being mentally unhealthy.
The second component of healthy living is mental health. Mental wellness is affected by the extent of the person’s understanding and perception of his or her surroundings, as well as how he or she reacts to emotional stress. This could mean that a person who suffers from an incurable disease may have difficulty acquiring the appropriate attitude to deal with emotional distress or the disorder itself. Lack of perspective and poor coping skills are also manifestations of mental illness and may result in the exclusion of persons from the definition of healthy.
Another indicator of mental illness is the presence of phobias or other serious psychological disorders. If a person’s perception of danger or a traumatic event is disproportionate, it could mean that there is a problem with their physical health. Other mental illnesses like depression may manifest themselves physically, as well. Finally, people who are mentally ill will often exhibit signs of increased longevity and healthier bodies.