Health encompasses all aspects of well-being, including physical, mental, and social wellness. While being free from disease is one part of health, there are other important factors that contribute to a healthy life.
If you're trying to answer the question of what does being healthy mean to you, it's important to understand that health looks different for everyone. Sometimes, such as during a time of grief, your mental health may need more focus than other aspects of your health. Other times, such as after a tough diagnosis, your emotional and social health may take a back seat as you prioritize your physical health. Our health and well-being needs fluctuate over time, and it's normal to focus on different parts of your health as your seasons of life change.
Here, we'll take a look at some of the different types of health, factors to consider when working to improve your health, and how you can work to achieve an optimal state of wellness.
Types of health: What does it mean to be mentally and emotionally healthy, as well as physically healthy?
Health is personal, and what means positive health for one person may not for someone else. It's important to get to know what makes you feel your best. Three common focus areas of well-being include physical, mental, and social health.
Your physical well-being--including physical ailments, injuries, immune system function, cardiovascular health, etc.--is an important part of your overall health. Physical health can be more cut-and-dry than other types of health. Target numbers (like getting into an ideal blood pressure range) can help people know when they're making progress with their physical health.
It can be harder to pinpoint progress with mental well-being than with physical well-being. Mental health can be more subjective. Scaling and other mental health measurement tools can offer insight into a person's mental and emotional well-being. That being said, understanding whether a mental health treatment (such as therapy or medication) is working can be harder than understanding whether a treatment for a physical ailment is working. While finding the right mental health support can take time, it's well worth your effort.
Humans are social creatures, and our interaction with one another is an important part of our well-being. When we don't feel connected socially, our physical and mental health can suffer. Being a part of a family or a community is key for health. Your social support system doesn't have to be the one that you're born into--it can be the one you choose. Close friends, neighbors, coworkers, and chosen family can all play a significant role in improving social health.
Factors for good health
If you want to improve your health, it's important to have a starting point. Taking stock of where your health is doing well--and where there is room for improvement--can help you stay motivated to keep improving your health.
You can't choose your genetics, but you can choose behaviors that allow you to make the most of what you've got. Understanding your genes through talking with your family about their history and taking certain DNA tests can help you understand what you're up against. If you find that you have significant genetic issues, working with a genetic counselor can provide you with the information you need to be as healthy as possible, no matter what your genes. Working on your genetic health understanding helps you get an idea of what to expect health-wise over the course of your life--and can provide extra motivation to engage in healthy behaviors.
Tips to boost genetic health:
- Talk to your doctor about any DNA tests that might make sense for you based on family history
- Talk with your family members about health issues that run in your family
- Schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor if you have concerns
Your environment affects both your physical and mental well-being. Creating a clean, safe environment can help your health thrive. When it comes to the basics of environment, you'll want to make sure that your home, workspace, and anywhere else you spend time are clean and pleasant. Staying away from smoke and other pollutants and allergens can allow your body to focus on vital processes, rather than trying to fend off allergens. Allowing sunlight into your space, cleaning regularly, and working to spend time in outdoor spaces when possible can make your environment work for you.
Tips to boost environmental health:
- Get outside when you can--being outdoors is healthy for the body and mind.
- Keep your home and workspace clean and free of clutter.
- Stay away from allergens, including smoke.
Health inequity in the United States--and around the world--is stopping many individuals, communities, and populations from achieving optimal health. A lack of access to healthcare, resources, healthy food, clean water, and preventative care can all make it devastatingly difficult for people in certain areas or with certain difficulties to thrive. Many health disparities between groups are preventable, and advocating for your care--and helping others advocate for their care--can help to reduce inequity in the healthcare system.
Tips to stop health inequity:
- Write to your local and state elected officials demanding policy change.
- Talk with your local hospital about opportunities to serve those in need.
Generally, a low resting heart rate is indicative of good cardiovascular health. Most hearts beat between 60 and 100 times per minute. The more efficient your heart, the less your heart may need to beat at rest--for example, an Olympic athlete's heart may only beat 40 times per minute while they're resting.
Tips to lower your resting heart rate:
- Practice stress management techniques, like meditation and yoga.
- Stop drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Get regular cardiovascular exercise--at least 20 minutes, 3–4 times per week.
Evidation: Start keeping track of your health today.
At Evidation, we provide you with the health data you need to ensure that you're moving toward optimal wellness. We're proud to put you in the driver's seat of your own health. Download the app today to start making your health data work for you.