By Akan Harison
Good health is the greatest gift anyone can have. it is the ultimate determinant of success in life and work. It gives you the freedom to do the things you desire to do. And it sets the stage for a fuller, joyful and fulfilled life.
The attainment of optimal health is everyone’s dream. It is not surprising that we do everything from diets, fasting to physical exercises just to achieve it. Gyms are attracting not just those seeking to develop sculpted physiques; it is also attracting people who desire to stay healthy. Interest in health and fitness has reached new heights in recent years. According to a 2019 report by Global Wellness Institute, physical activity is an 828 billion dollars market that is moving towards 1.1 trillion dollars plus by 2023.
To be sure, optimal health cannot be achieved by cultivating the physical body alone at the expense of other dimensions of health. A healthy lifestyle means much more than doing things that enhance the functioning of the physical body. It involves the cultivation of all dimensions of our being.
What is health?
The starting point for achieving optimal health is to know what health means in the truest sense of the word. World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition is contained in the preamble to its constitution which came into force in 1948.
WHO’s definition looks at health beyond bio-medical perspective, which is centred around the functionality of the physical body and mind. It links health with wellbeing. Tchik Davis defines wellbeing in her article posted on psychologytoday.com as “the experience of health, happiness and prosperity.” In that article, she goes on to state that it covers not just physical health, but also mental health, high life satisfaction , a sense of meaning or purpose and the ability to manage stress.
The Five Dimensions of Health
Public Relations is a very demanding and stressful job. It draws energy from every dimension of your being. PR professionals who stay on top of their games cultivate the following five dimensions of health:
- Physical Health
This is the starting point of every health cultivation endeavour. It is the ability of the body to function in a way that meets the demands of work and play. It includes the ability to respond effectively and efficiently to emergencies as well as the absence of disease affecting vital organs such as the heart and the nervous system.
Cultivating physical health can be accomplished only when you do the following:
- Put your body on a diet free from junk food and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your muscles, bones, cardio-respiratory system and maintain a healthy weight. United States Centre For Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobics like running. And in addition to this aerobics activity, it recommends that people do muscle strength exercises twice a week for a healthy weight.
- Be safety conscious.
- Get adequate sleep. According to a 2017 study published in Nature and Science of Sleep as reported by Nancy Clarke in livestrong.com, disrupted sleep increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes and colorectal cancer.
- Drink plenty of clean water daily. Most health practitioners recommend eight glasses or more.
- Practise safe sex.
- Take alcohol moderately.
- Avoid smoking.
- Manage your stress effectively.
- Do regular medical check-ups and following through on the findings.
2. Mental Health
American Psychiatric Association (APA 1980) defines mental health as “simultaneous success at working, loving and creating with the capacity for mature and flexible resolution of conflicts between instincts, conscience, other important people and reality.”
Indicators of good mental health include:
- Freedom from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders.
- Ability to demonstrate a positive attitude towards self and life in general.
- Ability to learn and grow.
- Ability to cope with the stresses of daily life.
- Ability to adapt or respond to the change.
- Ability to make choices and accept responsibility for their outcomes.
- Ability to solve life’s problems as they come without capitulating to fears, anger, guilt and other negative emotions.
- Ability to show respect for the wants and needs of others.
- Ability to love and accept the love of others.
Cultivate these abilities and you can be sure of attaining superb mental health.
3. Social Health
This is the ability to develop and maintain interpersonal relationship with others. It includes the ability to operate comfortably and act appropriately in different social situations or settings.
Social health depends heavily on other dimensions of health such as physical health, mental health, emotional and spiritual health. It takes a balance in all other dimensions of health to have the stamina to navigate interpersonal relationship terrain and other social encounters effectively.
It is easy to cultivate social health when you do the following:
- Clarify your values.
- Master the principles of interpersonal relationship management.
- Remain open to others and practise vulnerability.
- Give your time, skills and other resources to others as much as you would love to be given.
- Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas to others effectively.
- Disagree with others in non-violent ways.
4. Emotional Health
When you can express your emotions appropriately, not suppressing them and not becoming prone to violent outbursts, then you have excellent emotional health.
Excellent emotional health is the outcome of the following:
- Unconditional self-acceptance.
- A positive attitude towards life.
- Effective self-management.
- Ability to manage stress.
- High self-esteem and
- Ability to give and receive love.
5. Spiritual Health
This is the ability to feel connected to the source of life and know how to tap into it for inspiration and direction in all that you do. It includes having a sense of purpose and meaning.
You must have balance in all other dimensions of health in order to cultivate spiritual health successfully. And it requires constant practice of the following:
- Prayer and meditation
- Integrity (living by your core values).
- Presence in everything that you do, and
- Doing good and loving others as they are.
Your health is a key resource for progress in your PR career. No one can manage it for you. “Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself”, so says Naval Ravikant.