Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. In simple terms, health is equivalent to well-being. A wide variety of definitions have been employed for various purposes over the years.
Good health is equivalent to physical well-being. It is synonymous with soundness of mind, happiness, well-balanced emotions, proper concentration, and absence of mental unrest. Mental health on the other hand is associated with maturity, intelligence and adaptability, and ability to learn from experience. Mental health therefore, has much to do with self-awareness, flexibility and the ability to take responsibility for ones’ own health. As we age, we lose some of our abilities and become susceptible to diseases that can weaken our physical health.
A person’s mental health may deteriorate due to environmental, biological, emotional or social factors. Mental illness is a term that describes any mental disorder that affects one’s ability to function normally and contributes to distress. The definition of a mental disorder may include depressive, bipolar, schizoaffective, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, major affective disorder, dysthymia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A major cause of poor physical well-being is poor nutrition and improper sleep. Lack of sleep reduces one’s ability to concentrate and be alert.
Drug use also has a significant impact on health. People who abuse drugs, both physically and mentally, are more likely to develop physical illnesses and psychological disorders. Alcoholism, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin use also have detrimental effects on the mental health of drug users. Drug use and addiction have been linked to the onset and progression of serious illnesses such as lung cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis. Excessive drug use and/or addiction can also lead to psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and schizophrenia.
Financial health is closely linked with physical well-being and mental health. Poor financial health typically impacts one’s quality of life, as well as one’s capacity to enjoy everyday activities. People who are overweight or obese, experience unemployment, and are unable to maintain regular employment are at increased risk for medical complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Financial challenges can also lead to greater physical discomforts, such as inability to perform physical activities and sleep disturbances.
To achieve good health, it is important to implement a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a good daily sleep schedule. Regular exercise helps to keep the body limber and more resistant to disease. A good diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low in fat helps to regulate appetite, improve metabolic rates, and provide adequate dietary fiber for optimal brain and physical health. For those who smoke, quitting can significantly improve overall health and emotional well being. All of these lifestyle improvements help to improve your quality of life.