5 Dimensions of Health

For a long time now I have been wanting to be healthier. People think I am healthy because I am thin and don’t eat much ‘junk’ food, but I’m not healthy. I don’t exercise, I don’t eat enough, my sleeping habits could be better, I feel stressed all the time – that’s not healthy. Every time I try to pull my life together I only manage to go a few days before relapsing into my old habits, mostly because I would be trying to make major changes all at once, or even when I tried to slow down, not going slow enough. Now I am going to try to do this step by slow step. Focus on only one change at a time.

Recently, my sister (grade 5) did a project at school about health:

5 Dimensions of Health

1. Intellectual Health

To be smart/intelligent enough to develop skills and knowledge to enhance your life.

  • Setting goals. Our goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.
  • Have an open mind to learning new things.
  • Be aware of how other people expect you to behave.
  • Have a positive outlook, especially when dealing with conflicts.

2. Social Health

To build and maintain satisfying relationships. Being socially accepted and accepting, social health is also connected to our emotional wellbeing.

  • We should increase our ability to interact with people and their ideas.
  • Build networks among different kinds of people.
  • Accept and understand each other.
  • Adopt a positive self image.
  • Enhance your interpersonal communication skills (try and talk to more people, become friends with more people, etc.)

3. Emotional Health

Our ability to accept and cope with our own and others feelings.

  • Know and accept our strengths and weaknesses.
  • Handle stress and seek help, if needed.
  • Build strong communication networks among family, friends and peers.

4. Physical Health

The health of our bodies.

  • Eat nutritious food; to keep the body and mind energised.
  • Never skip meals or overeat.
  • Water is essential for cleansing the body.
  • Fitness through exercise will increase immunity and endurance levels of the body.
  • Regular medical checkups can help in finding an illness in its early stages.
  • Sleep for at least 7 hours non stop.
  • Avoid addictive substances.

5. Spiritual Health

Our good health is incomplete without being spiritually healthy. To seek meaning and purpose of life is termed as being spiritual. Being spiritually healthy means that we have personal beliefs and values and try to live by these.

I saw her poster was intrigued by this information. I did know all of these things, just not represented quite in this way. Interestingly enough, we tend to split “health” into three sections  – either “mind, body and spirit” or “attitude, food and exercise”. Here, in the 5 dimensions of health, ‘mind & spirit’/’attitude’ has 4 dimensions but ‘body’/’food & exercise’ is only one! This just reinforces how important a healthy mind is for a healthy existence. Good food and exercise can only get you so far. That being said, all five are equally important. You can’t be truly healthy if any of them are lacking.

Take the example of stress: you could eat really well and exercise regularly, but if any of the four ‘mind’ dimensions are not in balance (in this example, you are stressed out) then this impacts the health of your body. So although you eat well and are fit, your body may not be very healthy due to your stress levels. It is impossible to have one dimension covered but be lacking in others, and vice versa, because the 5 dimensions are far too interrelated. As such, I realised while looking at this poster that I am not healthy in any of the 5 dimensions.

Now is the time for change. This time they are hopefully permanent (positive) changes. I hope this blog will help to keep me accountable, and give me a place to write down my struggles, progress and findings as I go on this journey to healthier living.


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