What Is Health Now?

The question in the title is a very important one, and I think all of us should have this question in mind and search for a complete answer. The truth is though, that we only ask about health when we have a serious problem. A official definition of health is given by The World Health Organization who defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. For 1946 it was not a bad definition, but let’s face it, times have changed and life has evolved since then, so today we have 2 new aspects of health to consider: emotional health and spiritual health. If we take a step back and try to see the “big picture” we realize that each aspect of health influences the other aspects, for example if someone has an emotional problem it will cause physical problems, spiritual problems, mental problems and social problems too, so it’s very important to solve the problem when we first see it even if we don’t think that an emotional problem is important. In the incipient phase the emotional problem could be solved by simply talking to a friend, but if we let it develop it could need serious professional help. After this example I think you will want to know more about each aspect of health, so let’s see what they mean and how can we improve them.

Physical health – the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about perfect physical health are babies – they are the best example because they run all around the place and use their energy until they fall asleep. If we could do the same, I’m sure we would have a better physical health. A definition of physical health would be that it is a state in which all of the organs are functioning well 100% of the time, so in order for that to happen we have to give our body good nutrients, good exercise and enough rest. It may sound too simple, but it shouldn’t be more complicated than this.

Mental health – one good example for this is inventor Thomas Alva Edison, he tried and failed more thousand times to invent the light bulb, but he was strong enough mentally not to give up, and he eventually succeeded. Mental health is a state of well-being that allows you to reach your true potential and contribute to the community. It may seem strange for some of you, but actually helping others is the greatest thing that we can do and it keeps us happy and healthy, so in order to improve your mental health start by helping the people around you, I can tell you for sure that you will feel very good by doing so.

Emotional health – imagine a little girl on a Christmas evening opening her presents, that for me is an example of good emotional health, because gratitude and happiness are the healthiest emotions for us. I think emotional health is about feeling good, grateful, happy and not being afraid to share these emotions with all the people we interact with. A good way to improve our social health is by doing both physical and mental exercises that we like to do, for example if you like to play tennis and chess, please do so as often as you can.

Social health – the best indicator for social health is the ability to make friends. The social aspect of health is very important, because we are social beings and it’s scientifically proven that if someone is ill and their loved ones are with them, they recover faster than if they were to stay alone. A tip on how to improve your social health would be to understand the fact that “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”.

Spiritual health – is the most important aspect of health from my perspective because it influences all aspects of our health and often it is neglected. We have to take care of our soul as well as we take care of our physical body and the best way to do this is by meditation. Please don’t be scared if you don’t know what meditation is or how you can do it, because it’s a lot easier than you think, in fact you don’t have to do anything, just stay still and silent. If you can remain still and silent for 15 minutes a day and gradually increase this interval to an hour a day, it will have a great influence on your spiritual health and on your overall health too.

What Is Health For You?

If you enter medical schools across the nation, in theory- and philosophy-based classes you will hear the question, “What is health?” Attending a 4-year naturopathic medical school, believe me I heard that question at least once every one of those years.

So, what were the most insightful answers I heard? In fact, the classroom answers were nowhere near more exciting than seeing individual patients uniquely learn “What Health Is” for them during training and onward into practice.

I would say most people start off by feeling that if they only ate better, exercised more, had a more regular sleep schedule, and consistently took vitamins, their health would improve. There are also measures such as normal blood pressure, healthy lab values, etc. that people would like to see regarding their health.

Is that all it takes, though? What if you do all these things and you still don’t feel the type of health that you want?

If you dig a little deeper, you notice that there are other simple measures of health that are no less important to pay attention to. Is someone tackling the challenges in front of them, and if not what are the obstacles between what they want and how they can get there? What are the attitudes and beliefs that are hindering that person from going for it?

Sometimes a fear is trailing an individual and tainting how they feel about many areas of life and health. The fear may try on larger sizes the longer it manifests. Fears can be learning opportunities, and they can also be a major drag when neglected.

Many people live with expectations placed on them daily that are not their own. How they should live, what they should do, how they should prioritize, what they should value. This is a very common human experience that affects health even more than how many Skittles you eat in one sitting or whether you stay up one hour too late.

What else? Well, the list goes on, but for each of us it is a unique experience to notice which challenges we face and in what ways they are either boosting our health or draining it. They key is to recognize that it’s okay to ask yourself the question, “What is health?” and to listen to what your answer is alongside what your healthcare providers, blood pressure readings, and vitamin bottles are saying.

In fact, if you answer that question for yourself first you may find that the things you try toward your health work better. Where once you ate well and exercised and saw no improvement in weight, you may find that now weight is willing to come off naturally. Maybe once stress seemed impossible to manage, but now that you ask yourself the important question you’re better able to frame how you approach stress.

What Causes Health Problems to the Immune System?

There is no simple answer to this question. There are a number of things that could be what causes health problems to the immune system. Immune system defense mechanisms can be weakened by a host of factors. Here we look at how the immune system functions and some of the issues that can lead to a compromised immune system.

The first immune system defense that bacteria and other invaders encounter is the skin. The skin contains keratin (which inhibits bacterial growth) and the sebaceous glands, from which hairs grow and sebum is secreted. Sebum is composed of fatty acids and inhibits the growth of some types of bacteria and fungi. If the skin is healthy and good health habits are practices, such as washing hands before touching the face, then many invaders can never enter the body proper.

Certain viruses, germs, bacteria and fungi are airborne, but there is an immune system defense built into the lungs and upper respiratory tract to fight them. Cilia (tiny hairs) lining the nose, throat and lungs can trap and help expel foreign bodies through coughing and sneezing. Cigarette smoking can be what causes health problems to the immune system, because the nicotine paralyzes these tiny hairs allowing bacteria or viruses to remain in the respiratory tract longer than they should. Cigarette smoking also inhibits the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C and other essential nutrients. Vitamin C plays numerous roles in proper immune system function.

White blood cells are the primary infection fighters in the immune system defense mechanisms. Any disease, condition or chemical which affects the body’s ability to produce adequate white blood cells can be what causes health problems to the immune system. Additionally lack of proper nutrition necessary for the body to produce white blood cells can lead to immune system problems.

Diseases which can lead to a compromised immune system include HIV/AIDS and a number of congenital abnormalities that relate to the lymph nodes and other portions of the immune system defense mechanisms. Treating these diseases may not always lead to the healthy function of the immune system.

In other cases, the treatment of some diseases leads to a compromised immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and a number of other diseases are theoretically caused by a dysfunction of the immune system, in which white blood cells attack healthy disease-free cells of the body causing inflammation. Treating these diseases with immuno-suppressant drugs is what causes health problems to the immune system in some cases. These drugs limit the body’s natural ability to fight infection.

Anti-cancer drugs, corticosteroids and antibiotics can all lead to a general weakening of immune system defense mechanisms. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, exposure to radiation and/or environmental toxins can all be what causes health problems to the immune system. If health problems of the immune system is defined as a weakened immune system response, then any of the things mentioned here could be the cause. Additionally, studies have shown that stress, depression, age, lack of sleep, lack of exercise or excessive exercise can all impair the body’s natural ability to defend itself.

What If Health Replaced Wealth As a Measure of Success?

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” ~ M K Gandhi

Money has been the world’s primary measure of success over the last 200 years. Nations want bigger GDPs. Corporations want higher market capitalization. And we individuals all want fatter bank accounts. The assumption is that if we have the money, everything else can be acquired. Money can buy us better health, more leisure time – and even increased happiness.

Our experience, however, has shown that wealth does not necessarily bring us health, time or happiness. Research shows higher levels of unhappiness – stress, divorce, etc. — in wealthy nations like the US. Health care — or rather, disease care — remains a major concern, costing the country around $2 trillion to treat the 300 million citizens.

Let’s indulge in a bit of fantasy. What if health replaced wealth as the primary measure of success? Would we be better off as individuals, as companies, as countries and as a world?

If health were the ultimate measure of success, we would eat the right food – fresh and nutritious. We would take our time over our meals, enjoying conversation with friends and family. We would follow a more balanced lifestyle, allocating time for exercise, for reading and learning, and for rewarding relationships. We would follow our creative passions and pursue our true calling, rather than chasing stressful careers that leave us exhausted and burnt out. Isn’t it likely that we would be happier than we are today?

For companies, health would translate to longevity. Companies that survive the longest, making a meaningful contribution to the world, would be considered the healthiest. This would lead to more organic approaches to growth, rather than the intense focus on quick fixes and rapid expansion. Companies would discover and live up to their long-term potential rather than the short-term bottom line each quarter. Rather than settling for minimum standards and acceptable performance, companies that intend to be around for centuries would invest the time and energy to excel.

As countries, success would mean that every constituent part – the citizens, the cities and villages, the institutions and the systems – are healthy and vibrant. Governments at every level would be focused on eliminating poverty, squalor, pollution, crime, corruption and disease. Citizens would demand leadership to ensure that every part of their country gets the necessary infrastructure and basic amenities like education, health care, water, electricity, and law & order. Countries would vie for the cleanest, healthiest and liveliest environments to potential citizens and corporations.

A healthy world would be a clean and sustainable world where bio-diversity is maintained and all beings co-exist in their natural environment. In such a world, non-renewable natural resources would be consumed in moderation while renewable resources would be used and replenished diligently. Countries would agree to share common resources. Global institutions would bring peace and good health to humanity as a whole.

The purpose of this piece of fantasy is to show that a slight shift in our goals can bring about dramatic changes in the way people live, work, consume and enjoy their lives on this planet. Why don’t we, as humanity, choose a better way? Why don’t we choose health and happiness over wealth as our primary measure of success? Do stay engaged and contribute to this dialog.