Common misconceptions about what make you an entirely healthy person are ideas like…
“Once I have a six pack, I’ll know I’m at the peak of health.”
“If I’m constantly dieting I’ll be healthy.”
“I’m consistently going to the gym, so I’m a healthy person.”
While each of these examples are specific efforts, and have some healthiness potential, defining health falls upon a much broader spectrum. It’s not all just about the looks, or even seeing yourself make strength gains in the gym. Health can be defined using 6 categories, each with specific importance to help you reach wholesome healthiness.
Breaking down the definition of health brings us to physical, social, emotional, psychological, vocational and spiritual. These aspects of you all require attention and maintenance.
Already notice a category that you feel you neglect? Something you think you might focus on more than others?
Let’s breakdown each aspect so we can better understand what makes us healthy people.
Yes, physical entails working out and training hard. This isn’t the full story however, because eating right AKA internal physical health should reflect the same aspirations you have with your visible body. Someone who is physically healthy doesn’t work out consistently but fuels their body with fast food. The same goes for eating healthy but never working out. There is a relative balance between diet and training functional movement to reach physical health.
This means maintaining consistent, constructive communication with those around you. Your friends, family, coworkers, bosses, classmates, etc. These people all have influence on you, which leaves an equal amount of opportunity of influence from you. Find a close circle of friends who get you. You should be able to express who you are and what you love without feeling obligated to change who you are around them. You shouldn’t have to “wear masks” for each social group you hang-out with. Be yourself. Your friends should be your friends because you are you.
How do you react to things? Emotional health is on the grounds of understanding how you react to the stimuli around you. Can you handle being upset? Are there things that make you happy? When you get angry, do you stay angry the rest of the day? Try to be cognizant of what things make you feel negatively emotional, and other things that make you positively emotional. Are the negative ones always worth your time? Do the positive ones show up in your life enough?
What makes psychological different from emotional is that it’s not what you think of things, it’s HOW you think of things. Being of good psychological health means keeping an open mind, curious to attain new knowledge. Everything you think isn’t always what it seems. Don’t be an “I know that” or “I already know” person. You can communicate strong opinions, or even facts, but being a “know-it-all” doesn’t leave room for growth. Do you know a stubborn old person? And by old, I mean old-old, about 65+ years old. A lot of the time as people get into their older years, they think they don’t have the need to learn anymore. The opinions and facts they’ve attained have become concrete. The world is a growing and changing place, textbooks are rewritten almost every year. What we teach kids might be completely wrong in the next 10 or 20 years. Be mindful of how you think of things. The more open minded you are the more you learn. Being told something that contradicts your personal opinions or learned facts will always teach you something. It could teach you about yourself, that you still stand by your own knowledge, or teach you something new about that topic only broadening your own knowledge. Keep an open mind.
Do you like where you work? Your job is a place that you spend most of your time in life, I’d hope it’s something that you find joy in. Don’t settle. Does the career path ahead of you suit your passions? Or at least leave time for your passions enough so that you’re still happy in general? Do the people at your work treat you kindly? Do you dread heading to work? These questions are designed to establish if where you’re at right now with work is something that reflects good vocational health. It can be defined as finding a place that fits your passions, accepts you, and both actively and constructively keeps you stimulated throughout your life spent there.
Whether it be religion or lack of religion that grants you a peace and understanding of this world, Spiritual health captures this. Do you have a foundational belief that allows you to live day to day with a feeling of purpose? Is there a community of support that stands behind you? Finding a belief system that you can actively share about and learn from helps many people establish consistency in their lives. Your spiritual health can help bond your heart and mind’s intentions to focus how you live your life.
I hope this blog was thought-provoking or even educational. If you thought this entire thing was BS, that’s completely fine. You still learned something. You either learned that you have some disagreements with these aspects of health, or that you have some ground to cover in making yourself a little healthier. Wow, you’ve already accidentally worked on some psychological health! I wish you the best in pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Just remember, it’s not all just about the looks. Wholesome healthiness is so much more, and a healthy person makes a happy person.