What is health? Great question. But more importantly: What does it mean to you to be healthy? I think it’s a very valuable question to ask, especially if you are considering making some lifestyle changes to move yourself in a healthy direction.
There’s a standard dictionary definition of healthy: Showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being; being free from disease (From Merriam-Webster’s dictionary). And the World Health Organisation defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
I read these definitions and I think “Yes, that’s not wrong.” But I also think that on a personal level, this can be much more specific. For each different human being, being healthy might mean:
- Decreasing the medication you need to take
- Moving without pain or restriction
- Waking up without feeling tired
- Feeling good after eating a normal meal
- Having the energy to get through your day without dragging
And of course, many other things could be “healthy” for someone. All of these do fit into the official definitions above, but as we get more personal with our own definitions, they become more meaningful and therefore more motivational.
Making “healthy” personal
If you aren’t sure what healthy might look like for you, there’s a quick thought exercise you can undertake to shed some light on it:
First, pretend you are the healthiest version of yourself. This is a perfect world situation, so just for the moment, forget about all the things that might be holding you back from perfect health right now. Don’t worry about running around after the kids, a job with too many required hours or high stress, or a partner who just doesn’t like vegetables. Let your imagination run wild and really get to know this Healthiest You.
Once you’ve spent some time with Healthiest You, you’ll have a better idea about what they might do for:
- Eating and drinking
- Exercise or movement
- Work time and relax/unwind time
- Stress management
- Sleep routines
- Anything else that boosts your health
This is a great starting point for planning. It gives you clarity around what “healthy” actually means for you, and it helps identify some starting points to start moving in a healthy direction. Not bad for a few minutes of thinking!