What Is This Thing Called Health?


Health is defined as the general condition of the
body. People can be described as being in good
health, or in poor health. Good health involves the condition of being
sound in body, mind, or spirit, especially being
free of disease or pain. Health can be envisioned as a model called the
“health triangle.” Just like a triangle has three angles, personal
health has three components that are important
to focus on. The three angles of the health triangle are
physical health, social health, and mental or emotional health. In order to maintain overall good health and well-
being, it is important to promote healthy
activities and good choices in all three areas. Some activities might fall closer to one area of
the health triangle than others, while some
activities might seem to fit into more than one category, depending on how you view it. Let’s look at a few specific examples of activities
and where they might fall on the health triangle. Exercises like jogging, swimming, or bike riding
belong in the physical health area of the health
triangle. These activities burn calories, promote cardiovascular health and endurance, and help to build muscle tone. Visiting a doctor for regular checkups and keeping immunizations up-to-date are also
activities that fall in the physical health realm. These activities help to promote early detection
and treatment of illnesses, and help to keep
your body free of disease. Healthy diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole
grains, and lean meats help to nourish your
body with important vitamins and minerals. Limiting foods that are high in fat and sugar
content helps to keep weight in a healthy range. Choosing a healthy diet is another aspect of
physical health. For many people, their conception of health
ends with the physical realm. Equally as important, however, is our mental and
emotional health and our social health. It might be a bit more difficult to think of
activities that fall under these areas but let’s try. Mental and emotional health involves how you
think and feel, and how you cope with situations
that arise in your life. Avoiding stress and learning to deal
constructively with stressful situations is an important component of mental and
emotional health. Sometimes stress is an unavoidable part of life. We can avoid or decrease our stress levels by
breaking large tasks down into small,
approachable steps and prioritizing them based on importance. Budgeting time appropriately to meet deadlines
instead of waiting until the last minute, is also a
good stress-reducing strategy. Learning is another part of mental and emotional
health. Reading, playing mind games or puzzles, and learning new things inside and outside of
school all fall under the mental health category. Meditation is another activity that promotes
good mental and emotional health. Even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes during the
day, finding time to meditate can generate a
sense of peace and calmness in life. Meditation involves sitting or laying down quietly
and clearing your mind of all thoughts. Playing
soft music, focusing on your breath, or counting slowly are
all techniques that help with meditation. The final category of the health triangle is social
health. Social health focuses on your relationships with
other people. Spending quality time with family and friends is
an important aspect of social health. Sharing a meal, participating in a fun activity, or simply holding a conversation together are
ways of fostering relationships with others. Avoiding abusive relationships is a vital
component of social health. Abuse can take on many forms: verbal, mental, physical, emotional, or even sexual abuse. Sometimes it can be very difficult to break away
from abusive relationships, especially if the abuse is coming from a family
member, close friend, or boyfriend or girlfriend. Talking to an adult that you trust can help pave
the way out, if you have trouble cutting ties on
your own. The activities we listed so far fit somewhat
neatly into one of the three areas of the health
triangle. Other activities bridge the divide between
categories. Establishing good sleep habits, for example, is
important for both your physical, and mental and
emotional health. It is recommended that an individual get eight
hours of sleep daily. Giving your mind and body the rest it needs can
reduce stress and promote physical well-being. Seeking therapy from a licensed mental health
professional, guidance counselor, or school psychologist is a way to promote both
mental and emotional health, and social health. Attending counseling sessions can help alleviate
anxiety caused by stressful, or unhappy
situations in life. It can also help to improve relationships with our
family members and friends. Groups like Al-anon and Alateen host free
meetings to help people cope with substance abuse, either in themselves or in
close friends or family. Many religious institutions also offer free
counseling to those who request it. Some activities could be placed in the center of
the health triangle because they help to promote
all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Joining a sports team, like soccer, volleyball, or
track, obviously develop a person’s physical health because they have an exercise
component, but joining a sports team can also promote self
confidence and positive thinking, and reduce stress; all components of mental
and emotional health. Furthermore, by joining a sports team, a person
is bound to make friends that would promote
social health. Yoga is also an activity that encompasses all
three domains of the health triangle. Yoga poses tone muscle while developing
flexibility. Most yoga classes include a final relaxation and
meditation that promote peace of mind. Finally, the principles of yoga, like acceptance
and nonviolence, encourage healthy
relationships with others. If you were to complete a health triangle of your
own, what activities would you place in each
corner of the triangle? Would your triangle seem balanced? What activities could you add to your lifestyle in
order to improve your overall health and make your triangle more balanced?

12 thoughts on “What Is This Thing Called Health?

  1. A definition of health, including a discussion of the three branches of health on the Health Triangle: physical, mental/emotional, and social health.

  2. Answers to the questions:
    1. True
    2. Social
    3. True
    4. False (In the spot where true normally is)
    5. True
    6. Feel
    7. Activity (I know it says stress but it's activity. The question is messed up. Stop telling your friends and listen.)
    8. False
    9. Abusive (Ha)
    10. 8
    11. True

    Your welcome pal. (GwG)

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