Everyone wants to be healthy throughout their life. Good health makes life more enjoyable, and makes us more hopeful and more successful in all our endeavors.
Good health is part of our happiness and is a key part of the foundation we build for living life to the fullest.
So, what is health?
Believe it or not, the notion of health—as central and important as it is to our lives—has not been easy to pin down and usefully define. Physical health? Mental health? Emotional health? Spiritual health? A passive state? A dynamic proactivity?
The World Health Organization (WHO) first defined “health” in its 1946 Constitution. Since then, the term has been discussed, studied, and worked over to improve the word’s usefulness when it comes to both setting health and related policies and communicating a useful, common understanding to the world’s populations.
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social
wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
-World Health Organization
Our health is ours to build, maintain and improve.
Health – The Ability to Adapt
In a 2009 discussion paper (“What is Health? The ability to adapt”), The Lancet proposed a refined and complementary notion: Health is the ability of a body to adapt to new threats and infirmities. This introduced the notion that one can be proactive in facing, interpreting, and addressing one’s own environment to pursue and ensure one’s own health.
How should we do that?
The drive to promote and improve our health continues. In their attempt to frame a better understanding of how we can achieve health and wellbeing (physical, mental & emotional, including personal fulfillment and satisfaction), the Global Wellness Institute defines wellness this way:
“The active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”, where holistic includes physical, mental, spiritual, environmental, social and emotional aspects.
Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, defines wellness as “…the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.”
Think of it this way:
We actively strive through intentional, individual actions in our daily lives to achieve health and wellbeing. This allows us to thrive in the enjoyment of life and the things we love to do.
Randall Lightbown is the founder, head coach and face of S+.