The Elements Needed to be Healthy

What does it mean to be healthy?  

Today we are going to delve into the six areas of our lives that we need to pay attention to if we want to be healthy and whole.  All the elements come together to make up, hopefully, a whole and healthy person.  

1. Physical Health

First up, physical health.   This asks how our body feels, functions and performs.  Ideally you would feel healthy, energised and thriving. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t feel this way.  The key remedies are good nutrition, movement every day, hydration, stress management and yes…a good nights sleep.  

If you have any questions at all about your physical health pop them in the comments section below and we will get back to you today!

2.  Mental and Cognitive Health 

Second up today is mental and cognitive health (not to be confused with emotional health – spoiler alert – that’s number 3).

This area of health looks at how well we think, learn and remember.  It identifies our outlook on the world and our capacity for insight, our creativity and our problem solving abilities.  

Do you feel alert?  Do you learn well, remember things easily and solve problems well? 

If not, how can you improve this?  Well, it is linked to the things we outlined in physical health.  In particular, your diet plays a key part in your mental and cognitive health.  Are you stretching yourself daily by reading books, challenging yourself at work etc.  

What do you do to stay sharp?  Comment below. 

3.  Emotional Health

The third element is your emotional health.  This relates to our general mood.  Good emotional health is feeling the full range of emotions (good or bad), but having more positive than negative (over time).  You will have the ability to recognise and express your emotions, regulating them when challenges come in a resilient and productive way.  

Sometimes life pushes us into depression, anxiety and states of anger, bitterness, disappoint and hopelessness.

What do we do if we get stuck in these places? Reach out to family, friends or one of the helplines here on our lockdown resources page:

4.  Existential Health 

The fourth element is our existential health.  Big word, for a big idea!  This is all about our sense of meaning and purpose.  Thriving in this area means having a deeper sense of why you exist.  It means having a strong sense of belonging and who we are.  Ideally, we would feel part of something bigger than ourselves e.g. a powerful mission or vision in career, calling and/or family.  

So, what if you don’t feel this way?  Acknowledge that it is all about the journey.  Think about the causes you care about.  Identify your current strengths and skills (and areas you need to develop).  Buy some books and study.  That’s just one quick way to bring some existential health into your life.

5.  Relational-Social Health 

At the risk of going all Bruce Willis on you – check out the fifth element, our relational-social health.   Do you feel connected  with others?  Do you feel supported?  Do you have and maintain authentic, fulfilling relationships?  This has been hard to do during lockdown.  Why not put time into your schedule to regularly meet with friends?  Men, we are particularly bad at this, but it is vital for our overall health.  Or, take your family on an adventure (this will hit all SIX elements in one go!).

6.  Environmental Health

Last up, your environmental health.  This relates to your surroundings – do you feel safe and secure?  Is your health and wellbeing supported by your surroundings?  Do you have access to the resources you need (e.g. health care, healthy food, places to exercise etc)? 

This is important.  Data and studies show that the healthier cities in the USA have things like more opportunities for daily-life activity like walking to work or cycling in the park.  They have better access to healthy foods, and more opportunities to enjoy outdoorsy and play-type activities.  

What do you need to do to get access to these things?

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