Goals for Good Health

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Health is dynamic quality, changing from day to day. Even if you are in good health most of the time, you will have days when a cold, allergies, or other problems will make you feel not quite so well. But in general, good health would mean most of the following things for most people:
1. A health-promoting lifestyle
An extensive study has shown that people whose lifestyles include the following behaviors have a lower chance, statistically speaking, of developing diseases and a higher chance of living :
- Not smoking cigarettes
- Not drinking alcohol
- Eating breakfast every day
- Not eating between meals
- Maintaining normal weight
- Sleeping seven to eight hours each night
- Exercising at least moderately
2. Attention to the body`s needs
To stay in good health, you have to be able to deal with small problems before they become big ones. You have to be able to “read” the messages your body sends you about its needs-needs for more rest, for example, or different foods, or exercise, or a change in your environment-and respond accordingly. You should have basic home health-care skills to cope with small medical problems at home. You should be able to deal with health-care professionals and institutions (such as hospitals) in the event of a larger medical problem; and you should take responsibility for obtaining regular checkups and tests, sucs as breast examinations and Pap smears for women.
3. Social health
Having good social health means being able to perform your roles in life-as a friend, neighbor, citizen, perhaps lover or spouse, perhaps parent-comfortably and with enjoyment, without doing harm to other people.
4. Emotional health
Essentially, emotional health includes :
- Being able to work, study, or pursue personal activities productively and with enjoyment.
- Understanding your emotions and knowing how to cope with everyday problems.
- Managing yourself in stressful situations, and not feeling compelled to turn to chemical substances such as alcohol or psychoactive drugs to deal with or escape them.
Four thousands of years, people have known that our emotional health can influence our physical health. For example, a person may be healed by a placebo ( a medication that contains no active ingredients but is believed to be effective by the patient), or by faith or just by laughter. Physicians frequently see more commonplace demonstrations of the mind-body relationship: For example, people with good meltal health have a lower rate of stress-related diseases such as ulcers, migraine headaches, and asthma, and people with intact families have lower rates of mortality (death) and borbidity (disease) than do people who have recently been widowed or divorced. We experience stress and emotional upheavals in the brain, which is part of the human nervous system and contains a network of specialized cells that send electrical impulses to every part of the body. The brain also contains areas that activate the endocrine glands releasing chemical substances called hormones, which help coordinate the various body systems. When stress or emotional turmoil continues for a long time, our nervous and endocrine systems may function improperly, wearing out our body defenses and putting us at greater risk of disease.
5. Spiritual / philosopichal health
Some people believe that good health also includes a feeling that one`s behavior is in rhythm with one`s basic valus. This feeling may also include a sense that life has meaning and is worthwhile, a sense of awe at the beauty and majesty of nature, or just a deep tranquility when you sit by yourself and ponder.
Health is partly a matter personal values and preferences : Some people feel healthy only if they get at least an hour of strenous exercise four of five time a week; others get depressed and fatigued unless they spend at least an hour a day with friends, no matter what other obligations are looming. The ingredients for health also vary with one`s age and physical status : A twenty-year-old woman may want to be able to run four miles a day, an eighty-year-old woman may feel satisfied with her physical health if she is able to walk a mile a day. The key is : Both these individuals have good health if they are able to do most of the things they want to do in their everyday lives, with a minimum of stress.

References :
N. Belloc and L. Breslow, “Relationship of Physical Health Status and Health Practices”, Preventive Medicine I, 1972.
Marvin R Levy, Mark Dignan, Janet H Shirreffs, Essentials of Life & Health, Fourth Edition, Random House, New York, 1984.

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