The Three Pillars Of Health
Do you think your definition of health would match that of the World Health Organization? Looking after your well-being involves tending to three equally important aspects of life and living. So what are these three pillars of health?
The World Health Organization defines health as "A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity", which tells us a few things about health:
- Overall health is reliant on a combination of wellness physically, emotionally and socially.
- To be without sickness or struggle does not always equal health; health is the presence of fitness, happiness and social connectedness.
For some, considering health in this way may move the goal post. Balancing maintaining relationships and making new ones with eating well, exercising and looking after your headspace can be challenging and time-consuming.
Setting your goals as staying active, spending time with loved ones and seeking joy can feel a bit different compared to aiming not to get sick, not to be isolated and not to feel sad. One focuses on the presence of health, and the other focuses on the absence of illness.
Looking after the three pillars of health
This is perhaps the most straightforward pillar or the first one that comes to mind when you think 'health'. Supporting your physical health can look like:
- Finding an exercise you enjoy
- Eating a balanced diet
- Supporting your diet with supplements where needed, such as immune-support vitamins
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking care of your skin
- Practising good hygiene
Mental health overlaps with physical health in many ways. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, taking care of your body and getting enough sleep will all help your mental well-being too. Further ways to prioritise your mental health can include:
- Practising mindfulness
- Seeking professional support, like a therapist or psychologist. A professional may help you develop coping strategies, process trauma, shift your perspective, improve your self-esteem, build communication skills, and so much more
- Reaching out to trusted people in your life to discuss your headspace or ask for support
- Keeping a gratitude journal or mentally listing what makes you feel thankful
- Journaling in general – getting your thoughts on paper can help you work through them
Social health refers to the quality of the connections in your life; are they fulfilling? Do they help you grow, learn or have fun? Supporting your social health can include:
- Being mindful of the company you keep. Do the people around you inspire and encourage you, or do they push you toward bad habits or negative thinking?
- Set boundaries. Be respectful but clear in communicating things like how much time you have for a person, what topics you're comfortable discussing, and what activities you're comfortable doing together.
- Reach out. Connection is a two-way street, so initiating time to spend with your loved ones can help you be active in your social health and show others that you're invested.
- Be a friend to yourself. Stay home when you need to, and go out when it feels fun.
Perfection is not the goal
Being constantly 100% healthy is almost impossible. You'll get sick or feel sad sometimes – that's life. When you're feeling emotionally drained, RESCUE Remedy® can help provide some stability and resilience.
These three pillars of health interact and impact one another. There will be times when you feel down or overwhelmed. There will be times when you haven't cooked for yourself in a while, or you're finding it hard to make time to see friends. There will be times when your health takes a hit; there's always time to shift your thinking, change your habits, or give yourself a chance to bounce back. There's always time to live a healthier life.