The Concept of Well-Being
The definition of health has changed quite a bit over the years. It has originally been defined as “the condition of being fit and healthy.” Today, health is a term that is used to describe the quality of life we experience and the quality of the ecosystem’s people live in. Healthy diets, regular exercise, and good hygiene have all been associated with good health.
Health, as determined by the World Health Organization, is a “state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not simply the absence of illness and infirmity.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years. One school of thought is that health is achieved when a person can carry out the basic requirements for health: breathing air, taking in food, absorbing nutrients, and responding to pain or injury. Another school of thought believes that health care is about preventing illness and making it easy for people to survive when they are sick. In this view, health care is about managing and preventing potential illness, while health behaviors are important in the determination of peoples’ health. This last school of thought is most closely related to the social determinants of health.
The main components of health are physical health, mental health, and social distress. A person’s ability to meet his physical needs is a major factor in determining his or her health. Age, gender, ethnicity, and the prevalence of chronic diseases all affect this equation. Long-term illness or disability can also result in a poor self-image and reduced opportunities for employment. Social conditions such as poverty and unemployment are associated with the higher rates of chronic diseases.
Good health depends on a variety of factors that can be influenced by both external and internal causes. Illness, injury, and trauma are all potential causes of physical illness. Mental health can be affected by negative attitudes and behaviors (e.g., depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder), low self-esteem, lack of coping skills, and negative interactions with others. These behaviors may contribute to the increased rate of chronic diseases, especially those that are associated with poor physical environments, such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, good health can be influenced by changes in the physical environment, such as pollution, tobacco smoke, ultraviolet radiation, chemicals in food, and other occupational hazards. These changes can promote both physical and mental illnesses and contribute to poor lifestyles.
Poor health can be influenced by external causes, such as environmental toxins and pollution, and internal causes, such as social conditions and genetics. People living in poor environments are more likely to get sick. They have lower life expectancy than people living in healthy environments. Moreover, people who experience early death are more likely to have poor health.
Healthy and unhealthy states of mind and body reflect social well-being. The dimensions of healthy and unhealthy psychological and physical states reflect three separate aspects of psychological and physical well-being. The dimensions of a healthy body are reflecting the physical state and the quality of the relationship between the physical system and the mind and body. The dimensions of unhealthy body are reflecting the mental state and the quality of the relationship between the mind and body. The dimensions of healthy mind are reflected in the quality of the relationships between the mind and other people, and the society as a whole.