In today’s world, what many people refer to as health is no longer only the absence of sickness and disease. It has become a way of life. People take their health for granted and do all they can to keep it that way. But what is health? And how does one attain it?
Health, according to the World Health Organization, has been defined as “a state of full physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just the absence of illness and disease”. Various definitions have also been applied to health over the years. Some people have viewed health as the absence of disease while others view it as complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. It is important to note that the first definition, a state of full physical health, has been associated more with physical therapy and health maintenance treatment while the second definition, a state of complete mental health has been associated more with psychotherapy and other counseling practices. Although there are various ways in which people view and measure health, most agree that it includes the well being of the person and the ability to cope with normal daily activities.
Although the above two definitions describe a fact rather than a quality, they do describe how some people view and evaluate their health. For some, illness and disease are things that happen to them and for others, illness and disease are perceived to occur “just because”. Many researchers agree that, in the US, illness and disease are viewed as if they were events rather than parts of a process that requires attention and focus. According to this third definition of health, a person who has a constant state of health is one who has taken the steps necessary to manage their disease so that it does not prevent them from living a full life.