There are a number of factors that impact our health. We have control over most of them. This means the status of our health is mostly a matter of making the right choices and deciding to live a health promoting lifestyle. Let me start with a definition of health. Health can be defined as a state of physical and mental balance; wholeness and equilibrium. It is an absence of dis-ease; or a balanced state that minimizes the debilitating effects of any disease condition.
Here are 10 factors that impact our health status.
1. Genetics. This is the one element over which we have no control. Every wonder why your doctor asks you about the disease conditions of your mother and father? It's because we inherit certain genes that may lead to particular health conditions. Some of these include obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
2. Food. The old saying, "You are what you eat" is certainly true when it comes to health. One who constantly drinks soda pop, and eats potato chips, candy bars and ice cream will have more health problems that one who snacks on grapes, apples and berries.
3. Physical Activity. The benefits of exercise are well researched. Exercise controls weight gain and leads to weight loss. It decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. It helps to prevent or helps to manage stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of canter and arthritis.
4. Stress. Stress can contribute to problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety. Managing stress will improve our health status.
5. Personal Habits. Certain personal habits can contribute to poor health. Some of these include smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, sex with multiple partners and failing to wear seat belts.
6. Environment. Where we live and spend our time can impact our health. Factors such as poor air quality (with mold, dust, smoke, carbon monoxide), tainted water, excess noise and radiation impact our health.
7. Emotions. Our emotions impact our physical health. Negative feelings like stress, sadness and worry cause a spike in the hormone cortisol, which in turn suppresses the immune system. Higher and prolonged levels of cortisol also impairs brain function, suppresses thyroid function, increases blood pressure, decreases muscle tissue and bone density.
8. Relationships. Relationship problems can lead to increased stress, anxiety, problems sleeping, weight gain and depression. Caring behaviors such as a touch on the arm or a hug produce the "feel good" hormone, oxytocin, which eases stress and improves mood.
9. Economic Status. Having a higher economic capacity will enable you to eat more expensive whole food, live in a better environment and afford preventive health care.
10. Spiritual Life. Your spiritual life gives you a sense of purpose. It influences your mental and emotional states and healthy behaviors which in turn impact our health. It addresses issues of anger, guilt, despair, hope and forgiveness.
In summary, we have control of most of the factors that impact our health. Therefore, we should make health enhancing choices and develop personal habits that will help us to live longer and feel better.
Having good physical and mental health is a true blessing. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle improves the quality and enjoyment of life. In addition, it leads to longevity making it possible to enjoy the blessings of life. A healthy lifestyle includes having your body free from diseases, aches, pains and discomfort.It means having your mind free from depression, worry and doubt. A healthy mind and body helps us to perform to the best of our ability and to be a blessing to others.