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Health – What does health mean to you?

“Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.” Ann Wigmore

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This means that health does not only relate to the physical state of the body, but it also includes our general well-being.

So, being healthy does not only mean the absence of disease, rather it is also about having a positive outlook in life. Many studies have shown that how our mind thinks also affects our physical well-being.

That’s why people who are stressed all the time are putting extra strain on their bodies. Too much stress is considered unhealthy, although we’re told that some stress is good, keeping us alert and ready to react to danger. In contrast, it is generally thought that those people who are relatively ‘stress free’, or who perform relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation, will healthier bodies simply through their increased mental well-being.

“Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself” –  Naval Ravikan

Being healthy also means eating healthily. The way we eat nowadays is heavily based on what is shown in the media, ranging from fad diets to plain comfort food. Eating a balanced diet is very important in becoming healthy: it is thought that many diseases nowadays are ‘lifestyle diseases’.

A big contributor to these diseases is unhealthy food choices. Unhealthy food choices can cause obesity, hypertension and even diabetes. For example, fried foods, fast food, fizzy drinks and most processed foods are all considered to be unhealthy, however, if you’re sensible and consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet, that’s generally fine too!

A key to healthy eating is thinking before we eat – making healthy choices.

“The mind has great influence over the body, and maladies often have their origin there.”  – Jean Baptiste Moliere

Health is not only about the physical state of the body but also about the state of the mind or mental health. General well-being also includes spiritual health which plays a big role in molding the character of a person, connecting you with your inner-self and whatever beliefs you have.

Our mental health influences how we think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects our ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships.

The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When we improve our physical health, we automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that lift our mood and provide added energy.

Regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on our mental and emotional health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help us to sleep better.

Health therefore is about physical health and mental health. To be physically healthy you give your body what it needs such as food (nutrients), water, and exercise. Also important for the body is self-care like keeping clean and giving your body rest when it needs it (sleeping enough).

Mental health is not only being in a good state of mind but also knowing and having the tools to help yourself when you exit that good state of mind.

So do your best to improve your health by eating healthy, getting regular exercise, lose weight if you are overweight, reduce your alcohol intake, cut back on how much you smoke etc….it’s common sense really.

Just remember – “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Buddha.

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