What is health to you? How assessing our relationship to health is the first step towards improving it.

If I asked you what is health? You might say something like, not getting sick, eating plenty of vegetables, being slim and fit, or exercising regularly.

Have a think of a time where you have said to yourself, ‘I am going to get healthy!’. What triggered it? Was it an illness, or when you struggled on a long walk? Was it witnessing the achievement of someone else, or an image you saw on social media?

What happened next? Did you get healthy in the way you wanted to?

Many of us say these things without really understanding what that means for us and our lives.

In this blog I am going to look at why it’s so important to think about what health means to you and get real with where you are now before embarking on any health journey.

First up – let’s look at the general definition of health.

The World Health Organisation defines it as follows:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Many people aim to ‘get healthy’ without really defining or thinking about what it means to them. We take in messages and see images of good health everywhere and we want that, yet without consciously assessing what that means for ourself.

For one person, getting healthy could mean simply giving up smoking, for someone else, training to run a marathon, or losing weight. Another may see good health as attending wellness retreats and meditating daily.

Perception vs Reality

We are all individual and one huge aspect of improving our health in any area is to first assess where we are and what our current relationship with that area is.

To do this, it’s important to be honest and answer the question, ‘what does health mean to me?’

Take your understanding of the word health, and then consider your idea of what optimum health for you would look like for you? Now, what is the difference between those two definitions? 

Once you’ve compiled your ultimate definitions of health and wellbeing, it’s time to get things moving towards them.

Get real about your current beliefs and habits. Be honest with yourself about your current state of health. This is the only way you’ll be able to move forward.

What are your priorities? To begin, ask yourself these questions:

1. What have you allowed to take priority over your health?

2. Are you prepared to tackle this lifestyle factor in order to take back control of your health?

If the answer to the second question is NO, then you still need to do some searching to uncover the true value of changing that answer to a YES!

How is your physical health?

Physical health is very important to consider when assessing our relationship with health and yet it is not the only important aspect.

Very often in today’s world (especially on social media), health is portrayed as a peak state of physical fitness. This often sets unrealistic ideals for most of us to meet, causing unnecessary stress, and ironically lowering overall health. It could also mean that you give up on your goals, as they could feel unachievable.

This image is damaging on many levels, and it is often difficult for people of all ages to distance themselves from the idea that their body must look a certain way to be healthy.

In reality, every body type has a different state of optimum health, and the only way to obtain this is to become more self-aware and consciously choose to prioritize your individual needs.

Eating right, exercising for your body type, gender and age, and maintaining an overall sense of positivity and wellbeing are key to keeping your physical health in alignment.

The Importance of your mental health

Remember that WHO definition? Being in good mental health is just as important as physical health. Our bodies work in perfect harmony and messages continually flow from the brain to the body. Therefore, it is so important to assess this aspect when looking to improve our overall health.

While poor physical health will manifest itself as illness and other familiar forms of imbalance, mental health might not be so obvious. Signs to look out for include:

• Regularly fluctuating moods

• Poor self-image

• Negative self-talk

• Repeated negative behaviours

• Overall negative outlook on life

• Difficulty concentrating

If you feel you are experiencing any of the above, it may be your mental health which requires a little more attention.

Set realistic goals

If you are really serious about improving your health, it’s important to set realistic and achievable goals for YOU.

It’s all too easy to have great intentions which never come into fruition. Or to set goals which are unrealistic to achieve meaning you are more likely to give up.

Therefore, setting goals that align with your truest and most realistic intentions is so vital for any journey to health.

Setting smaller goals over a longer period is more realistic than the choice many people make to go full-force on a new health plan for a few days or weeks and then give up.

That’s not to say you can’t have a long-term goal, but simply making sure the steps to get there are smaller and more achievable is a huge benefit!

Finding balance to keep going

One thing we need to stress on this road to achieving health is that it’s not a straight path. We sometimes NEED to hit the low points in order to realise that something needs to change. These negative experiences are often exactly the motivation we need to keep going and achieving higher levels of health.

Neither ignoring nor obsessing about our health, mindset, exercise, and food habits are healthy. It’s important to monitor your beliefs and thoughts surrounding your efforts to maximize them.

It’s helpful to ask yourself

 1. Is my relationship to exercise/food/wellbeing beneficial or obsessive?

2. Can I miss a day of exercise/wellness practices and NOT freak out?

If the answer is no, then it could be you need to do some more work on your mental health to eliminate some of that behaviour.

We are not in control of everything, and sometimes we need to adapt and be flexible. If you give up or get stressed out by missing a day’s training or not being able to eat in a certain way, then enquire why you feel that way?

The ultimate question

By assessing your health habits and how you relate to them on a day-to-day basis, the ultimate question comes down to this:

Are you prepared to accept the habits which may hold you back from experiencing optimum health? Do you actually WANT to experience optimum health?

Making the choice to change the way you view health is ultimately a very personal one, and will look different for everybody. That’s why it’s important to do some deep self-introspection as you embark on the journey to improve your health. Be open, honest, and realistic with yourself about what may need to change, where you want to go, and how you will get there.

If you would like some support on this journey then get in touch and let’s talk.

Published by daniatrapani

I believe in teaching, educating and making people aware of their health, diet and lifestyle choices. I encourage my clients to understand the importance of a healthy diet as well as a balanced lifestyle in order to achieve optimum results. Each of my clients is treated as an individual and I combine a mixture of nutrition and naturopathy to create a tailored health programme.

Thoughts or questions? Let me know...

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