Physical, mental and social health are some of the dimensions that determine the state of human well-being, far beyond the simple absence of disease.
In fact, the very concept of health is related to an integral vision of the human being, which considers aspects of the body, mind, environment, society, habits and much more.
According to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), published in 1946, health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Furthermore, health and access to healthcare is fundamental human right that must be ensured.
And it doesn’t stop there: health can also be financial, environmental, intellectual, occupational and even spiritual.
After all, human beings have very complex needs and their balance depends on various aspects of life, which must be in harmony for a full and fulfilled existence.
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7 Main Dimensions of Health and How we Deal With Them
To know if you are really healthy, it is important to analyze your physical, mental, social, financial health, among other essential areas.
Get to know the main dimensions of health and understand how we deal with them.
1. Physical Health
Physical health is the most basic dimension of human well-being, represented by a body in good working order, free of disease, well-nourished and active.
To reach a physically healthy state, it is necessary to have a balanced diet, practice physical activities, sleep at least eight hours, among other basic medical recommendations.
According to the last National Health Survey, carried out in 2013 by the IBGE and the Ministry of Health, only 37.3% of Brazilians consume the indicated portions of fruits and vegetables, while 22.5% practice the recommended level of physical activity.
Another more recent study, released by First, in 2018, shows that eight out of ten Brazilians are striving to improve their diet and opting for healthier products.
2. Mental Health
Mental health is synonymous with quality of emotional life, i.e., the balance between emotions and feelings in the face of challenges, conflicts, changes and other life events.
Being mentally healthy means being good with yourself and with others, being able to accept adverse situations and knowing how to deal with good and bad emotions, always recognizing your limits — including seeking help when necessary.
According to data from the Pan American Health Organization published in 2019, Brazil has the highest rates of disability caused by depression (9.3%) and anxiety (7.5%) in the American continent.
In addition, the country has already been considered the most anxious in the world by the WHO, with 18.6 million Brazilians suffering from an anxiety disorder in 2019.
3. Social Health
The social health concerns maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends, co-workers and community. As social beings, we have needs for support, recognition and esteem from others, and support networks are fundamental to keeping the other dimensions of a health balanced.
The difference is that social health depends on collective behaviour and culture, and not just on our own circle of coexistence. Thus, more solidary societies tend to have healthier levels of sociability, while more individualistic ones make relationships between people more difficult.
In 2019, Brazil ranked 74th in the World Giving Index global solidarity ranking, published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) — an important advance, as the country occupied 122nd place in the 2018 ranking. The study considers the frequency of attitudes like helping strangers, donating to charity and volunteering.
4. Financial Health
Financial health is another essential dimension of human well-being, which influences all other areas of life in our economic model. This is because a good part of human needs depends on money to be met, from resources to take care of the body and mind to conditions to improve sociability, for example. Lack of it, on the other hand, not only limits human access to a healthier life, it also causes health problems.
- Anxiety (63.5%)
- Stress and irritation (58.3%)
- Sadness and discouragement (56.2%)
- Anguish (55.3%)
- Insomnia (42.8%)
- Changes in appetite (32.3%)
- Aggravation of addictions (28.2%)
- Unproductivity and low performance (30%).
It is also worth remembering that financial health is not about having or not having money. The concept goes much further.
A healthy person with their finances is organized, can meet their essential needs, have leisure time and save to carry out their plans.
In addition, she has a financial reserve that protects her from emergencies and prepares her for retirement.
The feeling of security, balance and tranquility that financial health can bring is essential for physical, mental and social health, as the relationship with those close to them tend to be lighter.
5. Intellectual Health
Intellectual health is developed through cultural activities, learning, exercising creativity and other activities that enrich our personal repertoire and expand our knowledge.
After all, oxygenating the brain with new ideas is critical for mental health and self-esteem.
According to the survey “Portraits of Reading” published in 2016 by Instituto Pró-livro, 56% of Brazilians cultivate the habit of reading, mainly motivated by taste, cultural update, distraction and personal growth, in addition to religious reasons.
In addition to books, intellectual health can also be stimulated by films, plays, music, and any form of art and culture that contributes to thought.
6. Occupational Health
Occupational health is achieved through meaningful work that leads to professional and personal fulfilment.
To ensure this dimension of well-being, the individual must choose a career in which he can develop to his full potential, in which he feels useful and satisfied with his daily duties.
In the Randstad global job satisfaction ranking, published in 2019, 76% of Brazilians said they are satisfied with their jobs, while 9% are dissatisfied and 15% consider themselves neutral.
This places Brazil in 11th position among the most satisfied with professional life in the world.
7. Spiritual health
Finally, spiritual health is the dimension of well-being related to human beings’ faith and beliefs.
To achieve spiritual well-being, one must have the freedom to exercise faith, values and personal purpose, whether through religion or philosophy.
This dimension is very important, as Brazilians consider religious faith more important than education to improve life in the country, according to a survey carried out by Oxfam and Datafolha, published in 2019. According to 28% of respondents, religion has the most important role in the country’s progress, against 21% who prioritize education and 19% on health care.
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