1.0 INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITION
Health is derived from the old English word “whole”. The definition of Health is intended to include those things that “make a person whole” which means more than just physical well-being.
In 1948, World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, social or relational well-being and not merely the absence or disease of infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.
In 1984, WHO added spirituality to its list of factors necessary for optimum health. If we are to be truly healthy, the physical, mental and spiritual elements must be functioning as God designed them to function. The physical may be the most unimportant of the three because with good mental and spiritual health, we can still be content even though our bodies may be unhealthy.
From ancient to modern times, authoritative sources indicates that health is continually defined in terms of the physical, emotional, mental, relational and spiritual well-being.
Health is a major topic in the Bible and it is viewed primarily as the restoration and strengthening of one’s personal relationship with God. It is also viewed as a healthy lifestyle (physically and emotionally) that focuses on passing healthy relationships with your family and with other people.
Being highly healthy means being healthy in every area of your life during every stage of your life. It means being balanced in these areas: body, mind, spirit and community usually taken as the four “wheels” of Health. By balancing these aspects of health, you can become blessed and thus, highly healthy.
2.0 PRINCIPLES ESSENTIAL TO BEING HIGHLY HEALTHY
a. The essential of balance
b. The essential of self-care
c. The essential of forgiveness
d. The essential of reducing SADness (Stress, Anxiety and Depression)
e. The essential of relationships
f. The essential of spiritual well-being
g. The essential of positive self-image
h. The essential of discovering your destiny
i. The essential of personal responsibility and
j. The essential of empowerment
k. The essential of team work.
These are designed and programmed into the very core of our beings. It is important they are understood, learnt and applied in our daily living in order to become highly healthy.
3.0 FOUR WHEELS OF HEALTH
These wheels are likened to the four wheels of a stable car with strong spokes for each wheel all wheels in balance. They represent the:
a. physical health – the well-being of one’s body
b. emotional health – the well-being of one’s mental faculties and one’s connection with his or her various emotions.
c. relational health – the well-being of one’s association with family, colleagues and friends in the context of a community that is healthy and
d. spiritual health – the well-being of one’s relationship with God
Further indepth into them shows:
(a) The physical wheel
Maximum physical health occurs when the body with all its chemicals, parts and systems is functioning as closely as possible to the way God designed it to function. For a person to be physically healthy, disease must be prevented whenever possible and treated as needed. When illness or disorder is incurable, physical health involves learning to cope with and adapt to physical disease.
With good emotional, relational and spiritual health, a person can still be highly healthy, even though his or her body may not be “whole”.
The major determinants of physical health are the activities you engage in (exercises, walk), rest hours (sleep, relaxation, vacations, recreation). Intake into the body (water, good, and toxins) fruits and vegetables, mineral in-take of caffeine, tobacco, soft drinks, saturated fats, highly processed foods, fast food and sweets, illicit drugs, alcoholic drink, beverages); elimination (urine, stool, bowel movements).
(b) Emotional wheel
This is the state of maximum emotional and mental well-being. It is not the absence of emotional distress which is unavoidable for any imperfect human being. Being emotionally healthy requires learning to cope with and to embrace the full spectrum of human emotions each of us faces everyday throughout our lives. It requires healthy brain function. If the brain dyefunction is untreated, it becomes non-functional and throws his physical, emotional, relational and spiritual wheels out of balance. This has to do with stimulation (too hot, too cold or just right). If you experience too much or too little stimulation, if you are too busy or exceptionally bored, you are suffering from emotional health. Enough quiet is required in everyone’s life. Another aspect which is quietness (peace, tranquility in one’s soul), lack of self-worth, lack of intimacy with others, loneliness associated with accumulated grudges towards others or yourself, lack of intimacy with God are the major causes of emotional pain. Any of these lacks can lead to simmering, embittering anger towards others or yourself or God.
Life long learning is important to one’s health. As the physical exercise helps the heart, muscles and bones, stay healthy, your brain benefits from mental actuality. Continuing to educate yourself and staying mentally active are ways to protect yourself from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Regular reading, having a challenging job and participation in ongoing education is linked with sharper mind later in life. Teaching, crossword puzzles, class or church education all help the maintenance of emotional wheel.
(c) Relational Wheel
This is the state of maximum well-being in all our social relationships – those with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, co-workers, broader community. Relational stress and discord are inevitable as we interact with fellow human beings. We have to do all we can to prevent and “treat” disordered relationships. Relational wheel involves trusting people and relations, parents, children, spouse, extended family, friends and support groups.
The relationship you have with your parents plays a critical role in determining your ability to have good relationships with others. If your parents balanced love with discipline, freedom with limits, and nurture with training, and if your relationship with them when you became adult was healthy, enjoyable and affectionate, then you have a good relational health. The same with children and spouses. Our relations – sisters, brothers aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews have profound impact on our mental, physical and spiritual health.
Friends also play important role in predicting premature death and disease. People who have nobody caring for them, who do not feel close to anyone, have no one in whom to confide are likely to suffer premature death or disease more. Having friends who love, care for us with unconditional support give us powerful positive health benefits.
(d) Spiritual wheel
This is defined as the state of maximum well-being in our personal relationship with our creator. To be spiritually healthy, any separation or disharmony on our relationship with God must be prevented or treated. This is the most crucial one of all the other aspects of health.
Healthy people make their spiritual well-being a consistent priority by actively seeking to understand Gods plans and design for them in terms of their physical, emotional, relational and spiritual condition, seeking and accepting their creator’s personal instructions and direction in their lives. If the spiritual wheel is given less attention than the other three, we cannot be highly healthy while, we are not promised a perfectly healthy physical life, the Bible promises those who have a vital personal relationship with God an abundant life one that will be full and meaningful – infused with purpose, contentment and joy.
To have spiritual health, trust in God, pray and meditate and fellowship in a faith community and faith sharing.
4.0 HOW TO BECOME A HIGHLY HEALTHY PERSON
The Essential of Balance: Set a wise balance in your life – the “health car” with its four “wheels of health” cannot run smoothly without all wheels running well i.e. being in balance. Neglecting one or more of your wheels of health will result in imbalanced health problems. You cannot become a highly healthy person without first diagnosing your unique areas of disease and maintenance.
b. The Essential of Self-care: Be proactive in preventing disease.. The secret to becoming and staying highly healthy is to prevent “disease” in body, mind, spirit and in relationships as much as is possible.
i. Exercise makes you feel healthier than eating does. Regular exercise help to control weight, improve overall health, reduce risk of such medical problems as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
ïi. Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week.
iii Exercise regularly and consistently to control your weight
iv. avoid highly processed foods.
v. eat nutritious diet and do not over eat. Eat foods with high fibre content, whole grains, nuts, sugar yogurt and low in calories, salt, saturated fats and refined sugars. Health enhancing fish is important too.
vi. drink lots of water and do not smoke.
vii. consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
viii. do not consume alcohol or tobacco products.
ix. Practice and enjoy regular sex with your legal spouse in mutually monogamous relationship.
c. The Essential of Forgiveness: Practice acceptance and letting go.
F = Forgiving is highly healthy
O = Organize your thoughts by writing
R = Review your experience
G = Give the Boot to anger and Regret
I = Invest in removing resentment
V = Victory comes in forgiving others
I = Increase your gratitude for the past pain
N = Navigate to inner place
G = Give comfort to others.
d. The Essential of Reducing SADness-stress, Anxiety and depression). Lighten your load.
1. STRESS is any change that required you to adapt or change the way you are doing something. Stress is virtually unavoidable in contemporary life. Stress can come from big things – retirement, job change, pregnancy, new baby, loss of loved one, new school, new job or from little things – change in weather, flat tyre or traffic jam, sudden deadline, misplaced house keys or an electrical outage. These events are technically called stressors. Some stress is good. We are made to withstand some amount of stress which can help us grow physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Too much stress at one single time or for too long a time usually called chronic stress can lead to weakness in all 4 of our health wheels. We are created to respond to stress in a variety of physical, emotional, and spiritual ways. When confronted with more stress than we are designed for – a large stress all at once or smaller amount of relentless.
Stress, our blood pressure and pulse increase. In the short run, this is healthy but in the long run, if the natural fight (stress) response becomes our way of life and can hurt in many ways:
ii. it can damage blood vessels and heart
iii. it can cause the body to release hormons that cause the liver to release sugar, store fat.
iv. it can cause adrenal glands to “poop out”.
v. it can cause our muscles to tense up
vi. it can increase the release of stomach acid and affect the motility of the intestine and colon leading to a variety of gastrointestinal upsets and disturbances.
vii. it can suppress the immune system – possibly making us more susceptible to infections and to certain chronic illnesses.
viii. Too much stress can and will keep you from becoming a highly healthy person.
2. ANXIETY in its most basic form is healthy – designed by our Creator to arouse us to and get us ready for action. Anxiety can prepare you physically and emotionally for a threatening situation. Anxiety is designed both to help us cope and to assist us in performing at a high level. But an anxiety disorder occurs when normal anxiety does the opposite – instead of helping you cope, it prevents you from coping and dramatically disrupts your daily life.
General anxiety disorder comes on without any trigger. People with general anxiety disorder worry about health, money, job, family or work. They are unable to relax and often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Their worries are almost accompanied by physical symptoms such as trembling, twitching, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating or hot flashes; nauseated, go to bathroom frequently, have palpitations or atypical chest pains, feel tired, cannot concentrate and suffer depression. This is more common in women than in men.
3. DEPRESSION weakens the emotional wheel and prevents people from becoming highly healthy. It often accompanies anxiety disorder. Depression is commonly accompanied by feeling of sadness, apathy and hopelessness as well as changes in appetite or sleep. Depression can also make it difficult for some people to concentrate. Some types of depression can be treated using modern anti-depression medications, dietary supplements, nutritional therapies, exercise, light therapy, pastoral counseling or psychotherapy. Some researchers conclude that depression is caused by an imbalance in the hormones of the brain.
4. The Essential of Relationship: Avoid loneliness. Loneliness leads to evil plans. If your brain stays idle, it becomes sick and deteriorates into the devil’s workshop and you become automatically the devils work tool. Always engage yourself in meaningful ventures.
i. live with and depend on the extended family who offer cradle to grave security and support.
ii. avoid loneliness, relationships with neighbours, family and friends are vital.
iii. respect the elders so that when they become elderly, they enjoy the admiration, honour, esteem and affection of their families and of society.
iv. Build family intimacy.
5. The Essential of spiritual well-being: Cultivate a time for spirituality.
The Bible promises that if we choose to trust God and live according to the purpose he designed for each of us or we can rely instead on our own finite plans and efforts. It promises also that if we choose God to fill and empower our very Souls, then we will develop spiritual fruit that endures, regardless of our circumstances or the state of our physical, emotional, or relational health. All the good things of life – right marriage, right job, right kids, right amount of money, right car or house or clothes can only be added to the most important element of wellness, namely, seeking, knowing, and pleasing God. If we believe in and trust God, if we make an intimate relationship with him a priority, if he controls and empowers our lives and we seek our purpose in his grand design, then we will experience wholeness at the deepest level of our being.
Spiritual healthiness ensures longer life, lower Blood pressure, improved surgical outcomes, shorter hospital stays, improved mental health, overall well-being:
i. Place your relationship with God at the centre of your life
ii. Read, memorize and meditate on Bible passages daily.
iii. Spend time on meditation and prayer daily.
6. The essential of a positive self-image: See yourself as your Creator sees you.
Our human nature is to compare ourselves to others. This results in feelings of inferiority. This is called compare and despair problem.
If your self-esteem is low, you need to do these: