The State of Health: What it Really Is

Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well-being where infirmity and illness are absent. It may affect the physiological and psychological welfare of the individual. In a human being, health is largely affected by the environment, lifestyle, genes, and experiences. The person who lacks health is seen as unhealthy, unsound, and as a burden to society. A person with weak health has to struggle through his life, limiting his options and even participating in less socially productive activities.


The above-described definition of health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is more than that. According to the definitions proposed at the recent international health conference in Vienna, the state of being healthy includes all the following: the ability to live a life in complete harmony with himself; an ability to achieve goals and aspirations; a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.


Wellness as described above is related to the physical, mental, and social health. Health is influenced by both internal and external factors. The interrelatedness of these three factors is called the wellness concept. Mental wellness is affected by the quality of one’s relationships, social connections, occupational settings, and their social impact on the individual; physical wellness is affected by the capacity of the body to adapt to the environment, to the challenges placed on it, to the extent that it can tolerate pain and suffering; and emotional wellness is influenced by the nature of the relationships and interactions with other people. The concept of wellness therefore covers the three aspects of life that have a direct bearing on health.


The concept of wellness implies that a person should have a proper balance between the three aspects of the person’s life to achieve optimal health and well-being. It is the combination of all these aspects that brings about a balance or a positive outcome for the person’s well-being. The term “wellness” itself does not refer to any specific set of characteristics, but more to a general outlook on life. The concepts of emotional, physical and social wellness are interrelated and interdependent. The overall quality of life achieved depends on how well each aspect is satisfied.


According to the study conducted by the Monitoring the Future Survey (MPFS), a total of sixty-two percent of the respondents defined health as “the ability to enjoy a balanced lifestyle consisting of good health and emotional, physical, and social well-being”. This same survey also indicated that fifty-nine percent of the respondents agreed that they felt happy and satisfied most of the time, which was another common characteristic identified by the MPFS. Furthermore, fifty-one percent of the respondents defined wellness as being in control and having the ability to cope with challenges. Google scholars also conducted a study on a sample of two thousand college students and found that wellness was closely related to academic achievement and the willingness to do well in school (Kauffman & Nosek, 2021). A different study on the relationship between physical activity and mental wellness and well-being showed that those who engage in outdoor physical activities are more likely to be in better physical condition than those who are sedentary (van den Heuvel, 2021).


Wellness, as defined by these experts, is the result of the maintenance of certain bodily and mental qualities that enhance the individual’s capacity for experiencing life. In addition, these qualities do not just exist on a physiological level, but are also related to an individual’s experience of life at the deepest level. The good health we all strive for truly is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. To get there, all that is needed is to make sure that we find ways to appreciate and nurture our bodies, minds, and hearts, so that we can realize the true joy of life.