Health is one of the most critical barometers of happiness. If you are healthy, you are happy. However, health has many dimensions and we need to take care of all of those dimensions. What types of health is there and how do we work on and improve our state of health.
We will attempt to understand this in this detailed guide to health. The focus would be to dig into the meaning and types of health. Are you interested in health? 🙂 Please read on.
To start with this post, I would like to mention that I am NOT a medical professional. I am just someone who is trying to understand, and explain what makes us happy as human being. Now, health is extremely important to our state of happiness. All that we do, we do it so we feel good. We want to feel good in different areas of our body and our mind. That’s the point. If we feel good, we feel happy.
Now, what types of health is there? How do we stay fit in all areas of health. Those are the questions we are trying to explore with this piece. Let us begin.
What are the types of health?
1. Physical health
Of the different types of health, this one is clear. There is no doubt that all of us understand that we have a body and either it is fit or it’s not. We understand this clearly on any given day. There are clear ways to keep our body health, and if we take care, we can stay fit. If we don’t take care of our body, it will deteriorate and we will end up sick.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. There are people who work quite hard to stay fit physically but still die of heart diseases, cancer etc. There are people who are reckless about their health, but they stay fine, and live long.
However, those are exceptions and exceptions do not defy the rule. The rule is if you take care of your physical health, you will feel fit and fine.
How do you take care of your physical health? Here are a few tips from the author, who is 39 at the time of writing this, and physically fit:
- Exercise every day- If you can’ exercise every day, exercise at least 5 times week. If you can’t find 5 hours in a week to exercise and take care of your body in a week that has 168 hours, you don’t deserve to ever complain of lack of physical fitness, because you see, you earned it.
- 6-7 hours of sleep a night- Most of us sleep at night. Nights are meant for sleep after we are done with our chores for the day. Organise your life in a way that you have at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night. There are some outstanding people who are good with 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I am not one of those. I have tried to curtail my sleep quantity, but it doesn’t help. All of us need a certain number of hours for optimal health, and there is no escaping it. If you don’t allow your body to rest, you would not be able to operate at a healthy level. If you are not healthy, you will not be happy. It is as simple as that.
- Food- Watch every bite you eat. Do not eat anything that doesn’t make your body healthier. Good food takes care of your physical body and bad food affects it. Of course, it is not always possible, so it is cool to have cheat days. The body can heal after a bout of extreme eating but it cannot heal after it develops diseases as an outcome of consistently eating harmful food. Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke. Drinks as much water as you can. This is pretty much a note to self since I am guilty of not having enough water.
2. Mental health
Over the last few years, I think I have realized that mental health is equally, if not more important than physical health. No discussion on the types of health is complete without understanding mental health and how to take care of it. Now, the problem with mental health is that it is not as simple and straightforward as your physical health. The mind is a complex organ, and if we don’t work on it every day, and every hour of every day, it can go beyond our control. Once it goes beyond our control, it is tough to get it back in control, for the lack of a better phrase.
How do we take care of our mental health?
- Watch your thoughts- If you want to take care of your mental health, you need to watch the thoughts in your mind and guard your mind against negative thinking. Your thoughts would reflect the quality of your mental health, and that of your life. So, eliminate negative thoughts before they become too harmful.
- Consume positive content- We live in the social media world and are always consuming content. Watch what you consume. It’s funny I am writing this now after having just prescribed to google the stuff I would like to see on their product-discover. I eliminated a bunch of celebrities and new organizations which I find negative and harmful to my state of mind. I will not mention them here, but you need to look at your feed everywhere. Your feed is not just your online world, but the people you spend time with. Only work with positive things and people.
- Allow time for peace- Life is busy and we don’t realize what’s happening to our minds in the hustle and bustle of life. So, make some time to spend with yourself, where you understand the state of your life and its impact on your mental health. Meditating every day for a few minutes is one way to achieve this.
- Deal with stress- Deal with stress. Do not let it overpower you. Stress is extremely harmful for our mental health. Either fix your problems or eliminate them. Do not keep unsolved problems in your life. That is one way to deal with stress.
- Build a strong mind- Work on your mind every day. Look at life objectively and make efforts to understand why things are the way they are. Build a mind of steel.
- Let go of what you cannot control- It is hard but we need to learn to let go of things that are beyond our control. Once you mentally let go of things you cannot do anything about, your mental health would improve.
- Seek help when you need it- If you reach a point where you think you need professional help to deal with your mental health, do not be afraid to seek out a mental health professional like a counselor, psychologist or a psychiatrist.
3. Emotional health
Now, we may say that there is an overlap between emotional health and mental health. In fact, there is an overlap between physical health and emotional health as well. Emotions affect all parts of our body and they affect the mind. So, emotional health is highly important to our overall sense of being.
How do we take care of our emotional health? Before we answer that question, it is important to ask another question- what are emotions?
As per Wikipedia: Emotions are biological states associated with the nervous system brought on by physiological changes variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioral responses, and a degree of pleasure or displeasure. There is currently no scientific consensus on a definition.
This is quite a complex definition. Let us try to write a simpler one.
That’s what emotions are, to me. Emotions are how we feel. That’s all they are. Why do we feel how we feel is a different question altogether. The basic definition of an emotion is how we feel.
What are different kinds of emotions?
Happiness, sadness, guilt, surprise, fear, anger, love, hatred- are all examples of emotions. According to some thought leaders, emotions can be divided into basic and other kind of emotions. However, as we see, they are all definitions of how we feel at a given moment.
For example, you could be feeling relaxed and happy at the moment, as you read this. You may be feeling sad or anxious as you read this. Everything you feel is an example of an emotion.
Now that we know what emotions are, how do we take care of our emotional health?
- Be conscious of how you feel- The most important thing in your life is how you feel. The goal is to feel happy, successful, joyous, loved, among other positive emotions. You want to feel good, and you feel good when you experience positive emotions. If you don’t feel positive, there is feedback that life is not going in the right direction and you need to do something about it.
- Emotions are feedback from life- Emotions are life telling you how it’s going. If you feel good, you are doing the right things. If you don’t feel good or happy, you are not doing the right things. Pay attention to your emotions. They don’t lie. You feel your emotions in every part of your body.You feel them in your skin. Skin doesn’t lie.
- Work on negative emotions. You need to turn them around- If you feel sad, you want to eliminate the things and people that make you feel sad consistently. If you feel guilty, you need to address mentally or physically, the thing that’s making you feel guilty. Negative emotions are harmful. If you don’t work on them, they would eat up your life.
4. Spiritual health
What is spiritual health? Why are we making life so complicated?
Well, we aren’t making life complicated. We are trying to understand life better, so we can live it better and happier. If we are to live deep and meaningful life as human beings, no discussion on types of health should miss our spirituality.
Now, when I say spirit, I don’t mean that you have a soul that will wander after you die. I really don’t care what happens after you and I die. What I do care about what happens to our spirit while we live.
Do you feel spirited about life? Now, spirited is another emotion we have introduced here, and perhaps that is the answer to the meaning of spiritual health.
How do you take care your spiritual health?
- Understand what spiritual health means for you- Start by understanding what spiritual health means for you. As I said, spiritual health is the health of your spirit. Do you feel like getting up in the morning and starting your day or do you hate to get out of the bed, and having to live another day? The answer to these two questions would help you in understanding the state of your spiritual health.
- Meaning- You are spiritually healthy when you think your life means something. You think your life has meaning when you are inspired by the work you do and you think it makes the world a better place.
- Self-awareness- You are spiritually healthy when you understand yourselves and your life flows out of your awareness about who you are as a person. I have emphasized the importance of self-awareness on almost every post in this blog. You can’t be spiritually healthy or happy without understanding yourself well.
- Meditation- Meditate for a few minutes every day. Just focus on your breathing and feel that you are alive. Do not try to push away any thoughts, but be an observer to your mind. It helps in connecting yourself to yourself.
- Religion- Personally, I am not a religious person but there are people around me who are religious. They pray to a power which controls the world, and it makes them spiritually aligned. I am not sure if this works for you, but if it does, pray by all means. While you do that, remember that there is one universal power, no matter what the religion.
Please feel free to add more to the list or discard the list altogether. However, I do think these are useful ways to start on the journey of your spiritual health.
5. Sexual health
What is sexual health? Why is this a separate area of health? Sex is an important part of our lives. The presence of a healthy sex life or the lack of it affects the state of our well being and happiness and that is why we have included it here in the types of health.
Well, like I said in the beginning, all these types of health are entwined with each other and each area of health affects the other positively or negatively depending on how well you take care of each.
Sex is joy and celebration, and you would only want to celebrate when you are in a mood to celebrate. If you are struggling with your health at any level, you would not feel in a state of having any sexual activity.
How do you take care of your sexual health?
- Positive and healthy relationships- One of the most important ways to be sexually healthy and active is by being in relationship/s where you are happy with your partner. Relationships which are unhappy because of lack of compatibility or any other reason are terrible for all areas of your health for both partners.
- Take care of your physical and mental health- It is simple. If you feel terrible physically or mentally, you would not be in a state of having any sexual contact. Take care of your overall health for a healthy sexual life.
- Use precautions- Since STD’s are for real, take precautions while having sexual contact with your partner/s and stay safe from any diseases that you may attract if you are not cautious.
- Reduce stress- Take whatever steps you need to take to reduce stress from life. When you are stressed, it is difficult to even want to engage in sex. It is a happy thing to do.
6. Financial health
Now, so far, the types of health we have mentioned here are within our body. However, as I thought of the subject of types of health, I realized that there are other factors also that affect our health, which are beyond our body and mind. Financial health is one of those.
We need to be financially healthy to be able to take care of all areas of health. To be able to take care of physical and mental health, we need healthy food. We may need a gym membership to be able to exercise in a motivating environment, which gyms are.
7. Intellectual health
Learning is an important part of life. If we keep learning, we keep growing. Hence, intellectual health must be a part of the important perspectives and types of health. Intellectual health is not the same as mental health. Mental health is our ability to operate mentally. Intellectual health is our inclination to learn, expand our horizon and learn more about the world we belong to.
Only a few people take care of their intellectual health, and those who do are always learning and evolving as people. In order to take care of your intellectual health, read the minds of the most fulfilled people on the planet, and learn more about the world. Have enriching conversations with people who have depth, and grow intellectually, while you live.
8. Macro or environmental health
There is one more area of health, which is largely beyond the control of most of us, but we need to be aware about it. Anything that affects our well being is one of the types of health. What do we mean by macro or environmental health?
Imagine living in a highly polluted city. That’s a macro factor affecting your health, on which you don’t have much control. If you are born in a developed country, you would have better access to a positive environment than you would have if you were born in a third world nation. You would need to exercise greater control over your health in the latter scenario, for example, wearing masks to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Other macro factors affecting your health could be viruses like the corona virus which affected the entire world in 2019-20.
If you feel the macro factors have a high bearing on your state of health, consider moving to a place which has positive macro indicators for your overall health. It may not be always possible, but you need to take a call depending on the gravity of your situation.
The way we have looked at types of health in this article, it is more from a wellness perspective than a disease perspective. Wellness is multidimensional concept including: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Career, Intellectual, Environmental, Social (SPECIES). Wellness is a full integration and the pursuit of continued growth and balance in these seven dimensions of wellness. In the SPECIES acronym, social can be construed as environmental. The point is to understand everything that affects our state of health, and take care of it.
Thank you for reading.
The purpose of this blog to help you find your happiness. Please read the other posts on the blog, and follow so that you get updates when new posts are published. Please share any posts you like with your friends so that they can also find their happiness. If you have any feedback for me, please leave it in the comments and I would be happy to work on it. If you would like to support my writing and this blog, you may please send a donation through PayPal here.
I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.