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1.3: Broader Perspectives of Health

  • Page ID
    11643
  • The most widely used of the broader definitions of health is that within the constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), which defines health as: A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This classic definition is important, as it identifies the vital components of health.

    Well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. In simple terms, well-being can be described as judging life positively and feeling good. Well-being is associated with numerous health-, job-, family-, and economically related benefits. For example, higher levels of well-being are associated with decreased risk of disease, illness, and injury; better immune functioning; speedier recovery; and increased longevity. Individuals with high levels of well-being are more productive at work and are more likely to contribute to their communities.

    Many practitioners have expanded their focus to include wellness at the positive end of the health continuum. Wellness is being in good physical and mental health. Because mental health and physical health are linked, problems in one area can impact the other. At the same time, improving your physical health can also benefit your mental health, and vice versa. It is important to make healthy choices for both your physical and mental well-being. Remember that wellness is not just the absence of illness or stress. One can still strive for wellness even if he/she is experiencing these challenges in life.

    To more fully understand the meaning of health, it is important to understand each of its individual components.