Dictionary definitions: ‘Health is having or indicating good health in both body and mind; being free from infirmity or disease.’ ‘Well-being is a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous.’ When looking in the dictionary, the definition of both health and well-being are very basic. In this first section, I will be discussing the full meaning of health and the relation it shares to the word well-being. Although similar, there are many differences between the two and how they are applied to an individual.
Health is used in many scenarios to describe a person’s physical state. However, health is much more than just the appearance of any one being. When using the term health, we are talking about the entire person; in other words, we are taking a Holistic view. Holistic health is described as being either positive or negative. Positive being good, and negative being bad. When looking at someone holistically, we are not just focusing on illness, or specific parts of the body. Holistic health is an approach to a person’s lifestyle, and considers the whole person. When taking this approach, we centre on four main aspects:
Physical Health – The physical aspect includes how a person appears, how well their body is functioning and how well they take care of themselves. Illness and disease are both included in this aspect. To maintain physical health, one must exercise regularly, have a balanced and nutritious diet, and have good hygiene. For example, a person who has regular physical activity and has no external or internal disease would have a positive physical health, whereas a person who is obese and has an illness such as asthma would probably have a poor physical health.
Intellectual Health – Intellectual health is all about the skills we learn and the abilities we develop. It focuses on a person’s education, how and if they learn new things and how quickly their knowledge expands. It involves stimulation of the brain and increasing what you already know. Taking an IQ test can determine for you whether you have a positive intellectual health. Attending school regularly and developing new skills and abilities would show that you are achieving a good intellectual health.
Emotional Health – The emotional aspect covers a person’s feelings and their attitude. Emotional health is also where a person’s well-being coincides. Emotional health is to do with the emotions you experience and what you do to keep them or overcome them. A person who is not under stress and is genuinely happy is more likely to have a better well-being than somebody who is depressed. As well-being is how a person feels at any particular moment, it is linked directly to their emotional health; however, it is related to all four aspects. A person who is under a lot of strain and is feeling upset would have a poor emotional health. A person with a positive would generally be happy, and would not have many problems that worry or upset them.
Social Health – Social health involves communication, relationships and how we get along and socialise with others. It is important we maintain a good social health, as we all need to be able to depend and rely on others at some point in our lives. Our social health is based around our friendships and the bonds we share with other people. Having good communication skills and being confident enough to socialise with others ensures we make friends and keep them. However, some people find it difficult to talk to others and are often left isolated because of this. This is often the main cause of poor social health.
A person’s well-being is extremely important. It is the well-being of a person that lets us know how they feel. Well-being, unlike health, is something we may not necessarily be able to see. A person can tell you that they feel unwell or run down, but they may appear fine to us. An individual’s well-being describes they way they feel on any particular occasion and so relates to all aspects of holistic health. For example, we may not be able to notice that somebody is having difficulty with their school work, but they feel under strain because of it. This links to a person’s intellectual health, as it may be affected.