What is health? What does it mean to be healthy, and how do we attain it? The definition of health in the dictionary is:
“The state of being free from illness or injury”
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it, however, health will mean different things to different people depending on their values and beliefs and what they want out of life. I invite you to join me in this blog to explore what factors can influence our health from a holistic perspective. Just identifying area’s that you perhaps didn’t realise were affecting your health could change your whole perspective and find new levels of health you didn’t think were possible.
There are many factors that influence our health some of which are the same for everyone, regardless of whether they deem it important to them or not. Two of which probably come to mind quite quickly as seen below.
The diagram above is a very simple version of what influences our health as a whole and has been the forefront of most conversations about health for a long time, but the above diagram is a very small snippet of what actually influences our health as a whole.
Yes, nutrition and exercise are very important factors that influence our health but it is only a part of the whole picture. Your health status moves well beyond just diet and exercise as we have seen with a rising awareness of mental health issues.
Mental health is a very powerful influence on our overall health and wellbeing and can affect many other aspects that influence our health. For instance, when someone is struggling with their mental health you might see a decline in their motivation to eat well and exercise. Our mental health will have far more reaching effects to our health than you might think, but before we touch on that we must see a larger picture of the influences of our health status in order to begin to understand it. Below you will see a diagram that might give you a better view of the complexity of our health status and what influences it.
This diagram above is a better picture on what can influence our health and by no means is the diagram above complete, there will be other circles that can be added that will influence your health and motivation might be one of them. I encourage you to perhaps have a think about what you might add, and draw your own diagram. At any given time these factors are always influencing our health, whether we are consciously aware of them or not, depending on what is going on in your life at a particular time and depending on your own definition of what health means to you any circle may be playing a larger part in influencing your health at that particular time, one circle may also have a knock-on effect and influence other circles.
For example, the mental health circle is a broad circle that would encompass many different mental health issues from anxiety and depression to borderline personality disorders and eating disorders. This circle, in particular, has the ability to affect many circles in the above diagram including our relationship to ourselves and others, family, our sense of purpose, sense of belonging, our relationship to money, our thought process and communication. So as you can see this circle alone is a very powerful influencer of our health, you can see why it is having an alarming effect on our society, and why it is so important to seek help in this area as it has the ability to affect so many other influences. As a society, we need to break down this stigma of seeking help from professionals in this field, because as you can see above it may help your overall health in more ways than you thought.
By seeing your health from a holistic perspective and working out what your own definition of health is can also empower you to improve areas in your life one circle at a time. Every time you improve a circle that will have an add-on effect to other circles that influence your health.
Working out what circles are having the biggest impact on your health at any given time will determine your course of action and how you can really take your health into your own hands.
Good luck and stay tuned for more information on this topic in more depth as we break down each circle in posts to come.