Healthy "U" July Newsletter
Whole Person Health - Health is not merely the absence of disease
by Dr. Paul Soong, Assistant Professor of Physical Education
What is health? In 1948, almost 70 years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Good health should not be viewed simply as the absence of illness. The notion of good health has evolved considerably and continues to change as scientists learn more about lifestyle factors that bring on illness and affect wellness.
Inside our body, systems and organs work together as one team. For example, when you run, you only feel your muscles and skeleton working, but your heart, lungs, brain and all the other systems are working. All the systems support each other and affect each other.
Outside our body, a number of factors affect our health, such as the place we live, the people we contact, the job we do, the food we eat, the stress we have to deal with, the exercise we practice, and more. All the external factors affect our health, and they also affect each other.
Whole person health implies a constant and deliberate effort to stay healthy and achieve the highest potential for well-being, which requires implementing positive lifestyle habits to change behavior and thereby improve health and quality of life, prolong life, and achieve whole person heath. Living in whole person health is a personal choice, but you may need additional support to achieve your whole person health goal.
For example, you may be prepared to initiate an aerobic exercise program, but if you are not familiar with exercise prescription guidelines or places to exercise safely, or if you lack peer support or flexible scheduling to do so, you may have difficulty accomplishing your goal.
Similarly, if you want to quit smoking but do not know how to do it and everyone else around you smokes, the chances for success are limited. To some extent, the environment limits your choices.
Whole person health is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Whole person health is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
Whole person health has eight dimensions: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, occupational, and financial. Each dimension of whole person health is interrelated with others. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health. One can reach an optimal level of health by understanding how to maintain and optimize each of the dimensions of whole person health.
• Physical whole person health is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
• Social whole person health is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world and establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
• Emotional whole person health is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. It is also the ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness, stress, hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner.
• Intellectual whole person health is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. It includes the desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.
• Spiritual whole person health is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives, develop congruency between values and actions, and realize a common purpose that binds creation together.
• Environmental whole person health is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us. It includess the ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment, be it our homes, our communities or our planet.
• Occupational whole person health is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. It also includes the desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society.
• Financial whole person health involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Financial stress is repeatedly found to be a common source of stress, anxiety and fear. Money plays a critical role in our lives, and not having enough of it impacts health.
Mindfulness Meditation and Relaxation
Watch for the schedule this fall.
Weekly Chapel Services
Chapel services will resume in the fall.
Sol Yoga sessions will continue in the fall.