Health is a condition of mental, physical and emotional well-being where infirmity and illness are absent. Being healthy involves the maintenance and regulation of physiological processes and responses to environmental challenges that are encountered throughout everyday life. Mental health refers to the ability to cope with stress and to acquire, apply and utilize knowledge for the improvement of one’s own personality, self-image and attitude. In addition, it also entails coping with the mental health of others and the promotion of well being.
Stress is one of the important components of poor health. It results in fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, digestive disorders, irritability, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia and many other physical symptoms and illnesses. In the case of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, stress also plays a major role in its progression. However, stress can also cause health problems if it is not managed properly. The most common symptoms of stress are increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased blood sugar levels, accelerated aging, insomnia and headache.
It is well known that physical illness contributes to poor psychological well-being and vice versa. Illness results in physical weakness, debilitation and disability, whereas psychological problems make the individual to withdraw from society and shun away from people. Therefore, a combination of both physical and mental health is necessary for maintaining good well-being. In fact, research has shown that people living in unhealthy environments, those with high levels of stress and those with poor coping skills are more likely to develop physical illnesses.
The United States has an unhealthy population with high levels of stress. This unhealthy population is one that lacks the coping skills to handle stress and its adverse health effects. A major contributing factor to the development of physical illness and the development of health problems is the level of occupational health that most developed countries offer. In developed countries, occupational health ensures that employees are able to maintain their optimum productivity and that they have a greater sense of job security.
The lack of adequate health care and the increased rate of deaths related to heart disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions are indicators that we are not providing the right kind of physical education and relaxation techniques to our people. Studies have shown that physical education classes lead to decreased rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Less physical activity leads to an increase in stress levels, which is also associated with the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, and depression. More recent studies have proven that a lack of social interaction and mental stress is one of the primary causes of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer in the developed world.
While lifestyle choices can often be changed, such as through diet and exercise, a major step in improving overall health and the prevention of illness and disease is to create a healthy environment by reducing environmental pollution and improving our physical environment. Smog and other air pollution can lead to a myriad of respiratory illnesses; outdoor air pollution is also a leading cause of chronic illness and disease. Combating both of these issues is vital for the long-term prevention of illness and disease. Reducing indoor pollution, while increasing outdoor recreational opportunities and promoting better indoor environments is a good start toward creating a healthier lifestyle choice. However, it is important to consider the complete picture of a person’s lifestyle choices in order to eliminate the risk of developing illness and disease.