Health is a condition of mental, physical and emotional well-being where infirmity and illness are absent. It is the state where one feels fresh, energetic and full of vitality despite the challenges of modern life. It is the state of mind that one can access through exercises and a healthy diet. Being fit, happy and strong is the ultimate goal of health.

Although there are many determinants of a person’s health status, lifestyle choices are one of the most important determinants. Lifestyle choices include diet and physical activity. To maintain the ideal level of fitness and health, we need to make adjustments in these areas. In order to do this, we will be discussing some of the lifestyle choices that directly affect the physical and mental determinants of health status.

One factor that directly influences the level of mental and physical health is our capacity to adapt to stress and anxiety. When we encounter stressful situations, we experience anxiety and fight back when we feel threatened. Fighting back produces chemicals in the brain and can cause anxiety and depression. If we engage in regular exercise and eat right, we can reduce tension and boost our mental state.

The physical determinants of health also include our ability to live a healthy lifestyle. This means that if we have a healthy lifestyle, we are less likely to develop illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Also, living a healthy lifestyle allows us to avoid diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, obesity, etc. The objective of all public health programs is to promote optimal health by preventing and fighting diseases.

The fourth and final determinant for good health is our capacity to recover when illness strikes. We can remain physically active, but we can only achieve optimal performance if we are mentally and emotionally ready to do so. In other words, we must be mentally and emotionally strong to battle the physical challenges that we encounter every day.

As you can see, there is a strong relationship between physical illness and mental illness, and the primary solution to both is optimal health care. However, many people with mental illness choose not to acknowledge or seek treatment. This, unfortunately, can have devastating consequences. Because few people with mental illnesses receive treatment, they increase their risk of other serious health issues, such as suicide.

The good news is that with the right resources, including therapy, there are several ways to address these diseases. For instance, the National Institute of Mental Health has developed a variety of interventions to treat mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, psychosis, etc. The goal of these interventions is to minimize the negative impact of mental disease on physical functioning. In fact, some of the diseases we now know about, such as diabetes and heart disease, were once thought to have no causal association with physical illness. By addressing the physical illness, this disease can then be better treated and perhaps even avoided.

In addition to getting treatment, there are several ways to manage the risk factors for mental illness. One way to do this is to manage the stress we encounter in our lives. Research indicates that the link between physical and mental illness is largely due to increased stress. A simple thing you can do to reduce stress is to learn how to relax. Some simple meditation techniques and deep breathing exercises are very effective ways to control the stress in your life.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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