healthy-girl-on-beach
healthy girl on beach

As you have learned, optimum health is a state of being which refers to the physical, mental, and social well being of an individual, and therefore, is indeed a unique treasure that one should continue to strive for, develop, and maintain, during a lifetime, found a 2015 Canadian Veterinary Journal study reviewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Whereas optimal wellness is the state of living a healthy lifestyle and enhancing well being.  How do you achieve Wellness Of Living?

By learning to live a lifestyle of true wellness, you will know the difference between health and wellness.  To put it simple, according to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition “Importance of Good Nutrition” study, true foundation of health resulting in wellness is good nutrition.

With your new-found lifestyle you will be well on your way, and in a much better position to achieve and maintain overall optimum health and therefore, wellness.  Good nutrition is a basis necessity for overall health and well being, if not survival.  Optimal health and wellness requires a balance that comprises the whole person.  Simply stated by The World Health Organization in their 2020 research “Constitution”………….Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not just absence of disease and infirmity………………

Let’s look at a good definition on good nutrition. According to Wikipedia, is

…..the diet of an organism is what it eats, which is largely determined by by the availability and palatability of foods.  For humans, a healthy diet includes preparation of food and storage methods that preserve nutrients from oxidation, heat and leaching, and that reduce risk of food borne illnesses.

In humans, an unhealthy diet can cause deficiencies-related diseases such as blindness, anemia, scurvy, preterm birth, stillborn, and cretinism, or nutrient excess health-threatening conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome, and such common chronic systemic diseases, as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis.

For more from Wikipedia on good nutrition read here.

couples-enjoying-healthy-foods-at-social-gathering
Couples Enjoying Healthy Foods At Social Gathering

Optimum health and well being involves balancing all other life factors (dimensions), which, are interactive and dependent on each other.  These life factors or dimensions are physical, emotional, social, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, genetics, aging, and environmental.  According to a 2017 Canadian Veterinary Journal reviewed by the NIH, simply changes your habits can change your life for the better.  Keeping all the life factors in balance is vitally important.

Quoting the study:

It’s more about living life fully, and is a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow.

People often think about wellness in terms of physical health, like nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc., but it is so much more. Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, keeping all the life dimensions in balance, and nurturing the spirit found a 2017 Canadian Veterinary Journal study reviewed by the NIH.

Life Factors Influencing Health and Wellness

Physical Health.  Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning.  Some of the most obvious physical signs of being unhealthy appear physically in ailments, sickness, and disease.  Overall physical wellness encourages the balance of physical activity and proper nutrition.

This includes maintaining or increasing your energy and fitness level through nutrient-rich foods and healthy fluids, maintaining the best body weight for your height and age through physical activity and nutrition, self-care in treating ailments, rest and relaxation, recreation, quality regularly scheduled sleep, controlling abusing drugs, tobacco, and alcohol (drink moderately), avoiding eating unhealthy convenience foods, and natural supplementation. These healthy lifestyle activities are confirmed in a NIH study “Healthy Habits Can Limit Life”.

active-happy-family-enjoying-healthy-lifestyle
Active Happy Family Enjoying Healthy Lifestyle

Physical activity is a lifestyle choice and a must, in achieving optimum health and wellness.  You should have a good blend of both leisure and structured but moderate physical activity.  Leisure activities would include hiking, playing with your pets, swimming, fishing, walking, and biking.  More structured exercise would include running, training, and sports.  Physical activity doesn’t have to be over-consuming to enjoy the benefits, as many people may think.

Nor, does one have to give up all of their favorite foods either.  According to a 2017 NIH “Some Concepts About Nutrition and Physical Activity” review , moderate exercise of 150 minutes a week is sufficient and in eating, reducing calorie intake and portion size is effective.

Rest and relaxation should include activities such as deep-breathing exercise, or meditation, or yoga, or any other activities that normally relaxes you.  That activity could be fishing, for example.

According to various NIH studies deep-breathing, per a 2017 Frontiers Psychology (NIH) study; meditation, per a 2020 “8 Things To Know About Meditation For Health” study; and yoga, per a 2019 NIH “Yoga: What You Need To Know” study, are all beneficial for not only physical health but mental and emotional health, as well.  Recreation can be anything you enjoy doing that relaxes you, brings you peace of mind, and happiness.

The NIH has numerous studies on the physical and mental benefits of recreational activities.  Here are just a couple: “Participating in Activities You Enjoy”, per an NIH “National Institute of Aging” study; and “Social Relationships, Leisure Activity, and Health in Older Adults”, per a 2015 Health Psychology (NIH) study.

Recreation and leisure activities sort of overlap here since they both bring enjoyment and make you smile and laugh, meaning they are not only beneficial physically but psychologically, as well.  The NIH confirms these benefits in several studies:  “The Laughter Prescription” , per a 2016 American Journal Lifestyle Medicine (NIH) study; ” Laughter is the Best Medicine, per a 2016 Journal of Epidemiology (NIH) study, a Cross-Sectional Study of Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Japanese Adults”; and “Effects of laughing, smiling, and howling on mood”, per a 2002 Psychology Report (NIH).

healthy-restful-sleep-for-physical-and-emotional-intelligence
Healthy Restful Sleep For Physical and Emotional Intelligence

There is overwhelming documented evidence that getting a minimum of 7 hours of quality sleep is not only beneficial for physical health and wellness but also for mental health and wellness.  One 2013 NIH “The Benefits of Slumber” study confirmed that lack of quality sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections.  The study also confirmed the following:

Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another:  molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood,

says Dr. Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at NIH.

Another 2017 Nature and Science of Sleep (NIH) study confirmed that sleep plays a vital role in brain function and systemic physiology across many body systems.  For example, all-cause mortality is also increased in men with sleep disturbances.  For those with underlying medical conditions, sleep disruption may diminish the health-related quality of life of children and adolescents and may worsen the severity of common gastrointestinal disorders.  Relaxing and occasional napping is desirable for your body to rest and rejuvenate, according to a 2009 Journal of Sleep Research study out of Ontario, Canada and reviewed by Wiley Online.

Eliminating the use of drugs, over-use of prescription medication, and smoking are crucial to your physiological health and wellness, per this NIH study “Physiological Effects of Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco on Women”.  However, surprisingly, natural fermented wine and beer are even considered healthy and beneficial, particularly in cardiovascular disease, if consumed moderately, according to a 2012 Nutrients study reviewed by the NIH.

unhealthy-harmful-addictive-junk-foods
Unhealthy Harmful Additive Junk Foods

Eliminate or at least reduce eating convenience foods such as unhealthy processed or refined foods, or precooked foods, high-sugar, processed meats, or high-sodium foods, fried foods, or microwavable foods.  Substances which alter mood or bodily functions, should be restricted or avoided because of addiction that is a biological brain disease that is chronic and relapsing in nature, per an NIH study.  Addictive personalities and others with known health risks, should avoid these types of substances completely since they exert their effects on the user’s nervous system and change the user’s feelings, emotions, and behavior, found a NIH study “How Stimulates Affect the Brain and Behavior”.

Self-care of common ailments, injuries, or mild sicknesses should routinely addressed and treated at home.  Signs of serious sickness or injury, other serious or life-threatening symptoms, should receive emergency or professional medical care.  These recommended activities are the basics for achieving overall physical health and wellness.

Emotional Health. Emotional health is an important part of overall health and wellness. What’s incredible is many of the healthy life activities discussed above under physical health are just as effective and beneficial in dealing with emotional and mental issues, as noted.

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are able to cope with life’s challenges.  They can keep problems in perspective by being resilient and bounce back from setbacks, according to a 2005 Journal of Perspective (NIH) study.  Positive emotions play a crucial role in enhancing coping resources in the face of negative events.

Emotionally stable individuals feel good about themselves and have strong relationships. Maintaining positive emotions about oneself and life in general benefits your physical and mental health, according to a 2015 NIH “Positive Emotions and Your Health” study.  Having strong social relationships , both quality and quantity, positively affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk, another 2011 Journal of Health and Social Behavior (NIH)study found.

meditation-and-a-happy-healthy-honest-grateful-life
Meditation and A Happy Healthy Honest Grateful Life

Being emotionally healthy does not mean one is happy all the time, however. It means one is aware of their emotions.  They can deal with them, whether they are positive or negative.  Emotionally stable individuals and individuals who can regulate their emotions, is associated with greater well being, income, and socioeconomic status and success, an 2014 Emotions study reviewed by the NIH revealed.

Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, sadness, and the whole array of emotions or trauma troubled people face but reflect more resilience in dealing with these challenges, per a NIH review “Understanding the Impact of Trauma”.  But, they know how to manage their negative feelings or have the ability to develop strategies to offset emotional disturbances, per a 2014 Emotions study reviewed by the NIH.

Depression, anxiety, stress, poor body image, grief, loss, chronic illness, a major change in your life such as becoming a new parent can all affect your mental and emotional health and day to day living.  Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are experiencing is depression or sadness, worry or anxiety.  For example, studies like a 2000 Western Journal of Medicine (NIH) study, confirmed the link of mental illness developing from chronic disease from uncontrolled emotions.

In order to stay healthy patients with chronic conditions often have to adjust their aspirations, lifestyle, and even employment.  Many grieve about their predicament before adjusting to it.  But others have protracted distress and may develop psychiatric disorders, most commonly depression or anxiety.

Fortunately, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), a 2020 “Building Your Resilience” study shows that most people are resilient and over time are able to bounce back from tragedy by learning how to control their emotions. It is common for people to experience stress in the immediate aftermath, but within a few months most people are able to resume functioning as they did prior to a disaster, life changes, disease, or other events.  However, not all people are successful and don’t bounce back as quickly, found a 2013 APA “Recovering emotionally from disaster” study

enjoying-benefits-of-close-family-ties-and-healthy-lifestyle
Enjoying Benefits Of Close Family Ties and Healthy Lifestyle

So, here are some suggestions to build emotional well-being and gain a sense of control: