What It Really Means to Be Healthy


As you make lifestyle changes toward a happier, healthier you, consider making your healthy living efforts threefold and focus not just on physical health, but on mental and social health as well. Here are some tips for healthy living in each of these categories.


We often think of health like the dictionary defines it—being free from illness, disease, or injury. In reality, being healthy is much more than that. We can’t be truly healthy until we’ve taken care of ourselves not just in a physical sense, but in a social and mental/emotional sense as well.

Physical health is what we usually focus on most because it’s the easiest to understand: Eat healthy, feel healthy. Exercise is good for your body. Don’t over-exert yourself—you might break bones or pull muscles. Social and emotional health are just as important, though, and when we focus on being healthy in these ways as well as in a physical sense, we have a complete picture of what being healthy really means.

So what is mental/emotional health?

It’s more than just being free of mental illness and depression. People who are emotionally healthy feel content, are excited about living, have self-esteem and a sense of purpose, and are able to deal with stress. This is where the emphasis on positive thinking comes in—many believe that our thoughts and feelings have a direct impact on our health. Negative emotions lead to health issues, while positive thoughts help our bodies heal.

Social health is how you get along with other people, how other people react to you, and how you interact with society. There is evidence that indicates isolation can bring about both physical and mental illness, while positive interactions with others can aid a person’s ability to overcome illness.

As you make lifestyle changes toward a happier, healthier you, consider making your healthy living efforts threefold and focus not just on physical health, but on mental and social health as well. Here are some tips for healthy living in each of these categories:

Physical

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Take a walk at lunch
  • Substitute one of your meals for a nutritional smoothie
  • Cut down on your bread and sugar intake
  • Do a relaxing yoga routine after work

Social

  • Volunteer for a local cause that helps others
  • Plan a weekly or monthly gathering with friends or family
  • Stop hanging out with people who bring you down
  • Greet your coworkers each morning with a smile

Mental

  • Spend 10 minutes in the morning or at night reflecting and letting go of stress
  • Make time to do your favorite hobby at least once per week
  • Write positive, inspirational thoughts on post-it notes and stick them where you’ll see them
  • Make a list of at least 10 things you can be thankful for

 


For more information or ideas about healthy living, check out our Tools & Resources.  You'll find wellness apps, healthy living guides, and access to our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. 

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