Health is not just the absence of disease or infirmity, it is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Maintaining your health is, therefore, more than a matter of visiting the doctor whenever you catch a cold, but practicing a lifestyle that ensures you are of sound body and mind. Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) has been a pioneer of lifestyle medicine in Lebanon, promoting this holistic approach through our conferences and research. On the occasion of World Health Day 2021, Dr. Antoine Aoun, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS) and University Physician, presents an overview of the dimensions of health and how to maintain them.
Dr. Aoun identifies seven key areas to maintain for a truly healthy lifestyle:
1. Physical health which is maintained through eating nutritious food, fitness, and can be measured by one’s ability to take care of health problems.
2. Psychological: the ability to express thoughts and emotions and cope with the challenges of daily stressors.
3. Social health is the ability to interact effectively with other people, develop satisfying interpersonal relationships and fulfill social roles.
4. Spiritual health gives greater significance to a person’s life through belief in God.
5. Intellectual health is marked by one’s ability to think and learn from life, openness to new ideas and the capacity to question and evaluate information (i.e., critical thinking).
6. Occupational health is the ability to balance work with other life endeavors.
7. Environmental health is the ability to protect oneself from dangers in the air, water, soil and various products.
These disparate dimensions of health are all interlinked and best developed and maintained through personal habits and behaviors. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of dangerous substances, and positive social connection are all essential means by which a healthy lifestyle is achieved.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, it is more important than ever to ensure that you remain healthy. Consider the dimensions of health as a means of working out where you might be lacking and what habits you need to develop to make sure you see this pandemic through and come out healthier than before.