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What is Health?

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Merriam-Webster defines health as: the condition of being sound in body, soul, mind, and spirit; especially: freedom from disease or pain.

When you think of health what comes to mind? Physical health? Mental health? Physical health and mental health are both part of a general well being.

How do you try to maintain your health? Working out at the gym, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, taking a walk at the park, having a girl’s/guy’s night out, completing crossword puzzles or spending time with loved ones? All of these are ways to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle.

Mental health is made up of both emotional and cognitive aspects. When was the last time you got so stressed? Were you able to handle it? What about adapting to a new situation? Mental health is defined as the ability to enjoy life, have balance, be able to adapt, and have self actualization.

What about physical health? Physical health is taking care of your body. Having good nutrition, getting the proper amount of exercise, and sleeping at least 7-8 hours are all important to good health. Additionally, maintaining good health includes avoiding alcohol and drug abuse, proper hygiene, maintaining a healthy body weight, and being responsible with sexual behaviors.

So now we know what mental and physical health are. But what factors influence these? Health can be affected by a variety of factors which include income, education, genetics, relationships, and environment. If you are in an environment where the water is not clean or there is no support from family and friends, you might not be able to enjoy life in the same way others that have support do.

Okay, now you have heard the different aspects of health and what they are influenced by. What can you change to improve your health? That depends. Below are a few lifestyle changes one can make to improve his or her overall wellbeing.

   Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night

   Try to log at least 30 minutes of activity
       most days out of the week

   Drink alcohol in moderation (1 drink for women,
       2 for men).

   Spend time with friends and family and build
       healthy relationships.

   Challenge your brain, complete puzzles, brain
       teasers, or read books.

   Go to the doctor for a yearly physical

   Stay vaccinated

   Brush your teeth twice daily

All of these and others contribute to good health. In the words of Buddha, "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

Living a day at a time and focusing on the moment, will help with stresses and worries. Think about your choices and try to make the best one, don’t worry about what will happen next week, worry about it when the time comes.

Lastly, as stated above, it is an important part of health to attend a yearly check-up and stay vaccinated when possible. This helps reduce the risk of getting others sick that are not able to get vaccinated. Additionally, yearly visits and exams at the doctor’s office helps detect major diseases before becoming a problem. So, live each day to its fullest and enjoy life, it’s short!