Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an overall level of healthy living that reduces the risk of death and other health-related risks.” Numerous other definitions have also been used over the years. The best definition of health is the ability to be healthy and function normally in a multidisciplinary health care setting. This involves the physical, mental, and social components of healthy living. It also includes the quality of the relationships people have with others, the capacity to get and maintain appropriate health and well-being, the capacity to cope with stress, the capacity to manage personal finances and the like.
There are many ways to measure health. For many people, a clear distinction between physical health and mental health is very difficult to make. Physical activities like exercising and engaging in physically demanding jobs define health. Mental health is more difficult to specify because we typically use the terms “feeling good” and “being good.” What many people do not realize is that feeling good and being good are two very different things.
Health and wellness are interrelated but they are also different concepts. The best definition of both wellness and illness is that illness is a life quality disturbance that compromises the quality of that life. Illness can affect a person’s physical, emotional, and/or mental health. In some cases, the impact of illness on wellness is more severe. In these cases, defining health becomes even more important. When someone experiences long-term illness, it becomes imperative to determine the effects of illness on the person’s ability to live an active and successful life.
Health and wellness are influenced by many factors. However, the four main components of wellness are physical, mental, social and emotional wellness. Each of these components is affected by the other, although they are usually in a balanced form. When any of these four components are compromised, a person experiences poor health and often times even suffering from a mental illness or disease.
All of these health and wellness aspects rely on the same underlying resources; proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. All of these things can be improved through education. It is important for persons who are dealing with an illness to educate themselves about their illness and how to improve their psychological well-being. When persons are educated about their illness, they are better able to understand what the options are, and they have greater control over their health and their life.
Societal view of persons with illness can be very negative. This is not always the case. Most people with mental health disorders are as productive as the persons with physical illnesses. Even persons with serious mental illnesses are as productive as persons without mental health problems. Therefore, society’s negative view of persons with mental illness is not based in fact. A positive view of these persons can have a tremendous impact on the level of their health and psychological well-being.