Health is an overall state of mental, physical and emotional well being where infirmity and illness are absent. It encompasses aspects of mind and body through the five elements: air (the element that we breathe in), earth (which includes the physical environment), fire (which is the element that gives off heat), water (which includes our personal bodily fluids) and wood (which are the element that produces a home). The human spirit is also part of this totality. This can be broken down into five parts: intellect, will, sensation, emotion and thought. Each part is interdependent on all the other.
The interdependence of these five elements highlights their interrelatedness in promoting our physical, emotional and mental health. Each one affects and depends on the other to be expressed and realized. It is this interdependence that makes them difficult to achieve as a whole. In our fast paced, ever changing and noisy world, it is important for the focus to shift from individual improvement to collective improvement. The challenge of improving the health of the masses, while at the same time developing effective public health education has therefore become more than just a pipe dream.
One challenge facing the wellness and physical well-being of the population is the lack of understanding of what constitutes health. Many people in the United States and other developed countries fail to grasp the concept of health or physical well-being. They often believe that their wealth, superior social status or advanced medical treatments provide them with a sense of health. The reality of poor health conditions and a low quality of life are too much to bear for many people in the developed countries.
A healthy diet is critical for everyone to achieve a healthy body. However, this is a relatively unknown concept in the United States and some developing countries. A healthy diet is something that is consistent between countries. This means that there is no ‘American style’ healthy diet versus a ‘European style’ healthy diet. A healthy diet should include lean meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and seed oils. A healthy diet is a basic concept and it can be influenced by public health programs, lifestyle choices, stress levels, and environmental factors such as air pollution.
Mental health is also essential for overall physical well-being. People who are mentally healthy are able to appreciate and take advantage of opportunities instead of being run down by stress. Being mentally healthy includes being open to learning new things, having an interest in new activities and having creativity. People who are mentally healthy are generally happy and have high self-esteem. In order to have a physically healthy life, people need to engage in a regular physical activity and eat a good diet rich in vegetables and protein.
People need to pay close attention to environmental factors such as noise, toxins and chemicals in the environment. These chemicals can affect both mind and body. Some common environmental factors that affect mental health include being in a traffic accident, living in a poor neighborhood or area and living in a household that has domestic violence. Other common mental health conditions include depression and Bipolar Disorders.