What does 'healthy' mean?

What does it mean to be healthy? To different people, health means many things. The most widely accepted or popular definition of health is that of the World Health Organization, which states that health is spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical - and not simply the absence of disease. 

I like that definition, mainly because it sums up what I have learned to see health as. When I was sick, I didn't really care what health was. Was I underweight? Yes. But I felt good, didn't i? I was still religious. I was getting good grades. So, technically, I thought I was okay. Looking back now, I see that I wasn't. Health is more than just physical, but being physically healthy is important too.

Unfortunately, society today has somewhat changed our perceptions of health. Sometimes, we don't even know what 'health' is - and why it's important. Take a look at commercials for diets or any product. Do they advertise health as important for happiness and success? No. Diet products show that losing weight is important so that you can look good. Yes, some of them say that this will help you feel good. But they miss the point that feeling good doesn't come simply from being at a certain weight. Or, consider the example of a commercial for a dating website. Emotional health is important, right? So wouldn't a relationship be important too? Yes! But is this the only thing about health? No. Again, society doesn't give us a compete picture of health. And if we aren't careful and alert, we won't be aware of what health really is.

Being healthy is important because it helps us maintain an optimal quality of life. Being healthy helps us love life fully. We can then set goals and strive to achieve them, always persevering and feeling successful. We can eat and drink in moderation and feel strong physically. We need a good education so that we can work, feel accomplished, and bring something important to the world. We need healthy relationships so that we can communicate and live peacefully with others. We need to feel at peace and to feel safe so that we can complete our daily tasks and be proud of ourselves, feeling safe and confident. Therefore, all aspects of health are important. We can't be healthy physically and expect that this alone means we are 'fine', because perhaps emotionally we are struggling. We can't be healthy mentally and expect that we will be alright, as we may in fact be struggling physically and therefore suffer. What's the 'take home' point? Health encompasses many aspects of our lives - and one isn't more important than the other.

But society will try to tell you what it wants you to believe - that one aspect alone implies a state of health. Be aware and alert, and take time to define what health means to you. When you know how you define 'health', you will be able to determine what aspects of health you have in your life, and what remains. And remember, life isn't perfect. It's nearly impossible to be 'healthy' in the compete sense, because challenges always appear. The difference - and what's important to recall - is that you have the power to change your life. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you CAN change how you respond to it and how you let experiences impact you. Take each moment and each experience as am opportunity to learn and grow. When you do this, you can start to see that although being fully 'healthy' may be difficult, having an awareness of health will allow you to pick yourself up after every struggle and remind yourself that you alone have the power to control how life's obstacles influence you. Will you let your troubles make you or break you?

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