Let’s start with the idea of health, even the word health itself: The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.
Our health is first governed by our parents, who dictate what we eat, our level of exercise, and whether our surroundings are conducive to a happy, peaceful and healthy upbringing. It is not until much (much, much) later that a person starts to make their own choices regarding diet, exercise and general wellbeing. It is this family rearing and eventual personal choice that is so important to the idea of health, because living a healthy lifestyle requires a conscious level of determination to succeed. For the body to remain healthy, there must be harmony of the mind, body and spirit. If any of these elements are out of sync, this can lead to dis-ease.
Now there are, of course, more than one interpretation of what health constitutes. (…Which is why we wrote this article!) The notions of health and wellness are generally influenced by three models of thinking:
1. The Medical Model usually focuses on the specifics of treating an illness, an injury or a medical complaint, and is usually implemented with the aid of drugs or surgery. This model rarely focuses on the body as a whole, and tends to treat the symptoms instead of searching for the cause. This model is most widely adopted by recognized medical professionals, many of whom define wellness as the absence of disease, discomfort or disability.
2. The Environmental Model relates to external influences that have the potential of a causing detrimental effect on somebody’s physical or mental health. This encompasses outside pressures that may cause internal stress, as well as external factors like pollution and toxins that may cause internal distress. This is a very traditional model of health, one that touts the harmonious existence of humans alongside animal, plants and our surroundings. Adverse effects to one’s environment determines the health or wellness within this model.
3. The Holistic Model incorporates the whole person, and includes their surroundings and environment. The Holistic Model focuses on creating harmony in body, mind and spirit and utilizes diet, exercise, mind balance and positive affirmation to attain wellness.
Whichever model you choose to follow, one thing is for certain, and that is to lead a healthy life, you must must make a conscious decision to embrace change. Determining what your body needs to maintain balance, health and wellness is a learning process.
Exploring a healthy diet is a crucial step in this learning process, and a fundamental requirement for overall wellness. A healthy diet is balanced, and consists of the nutrients required for the body to remain in optimum shape. Good nutrition nourishes the body and mind, and creates resistance to disease and illness. As the saying goes, “We are what we eat”, and it is therefore important that our bodies are fed fresh, natural foods in order to maintain good health.
Exercise is another vital requirement for sustaining wellness within the body. Adopting an exercise regime allows movement to easily be incorporated into your every day; said regime should consist of a combination of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening activities.
Another huge factor: Your state of mind. Ideally you will be of a positive and focused mindset, paying attention to thoughts and feelings.
In summary? Taking into account diet, exercise, environmental factors and mind management will likely result in a person living a longer, happier and more fulfilling life. (Sign us up.)
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