Health. It’s a word that evokes a slew of raw emotions, ranging from feelings of disappointment and defeat to yearnings for vainglory and vitality. We’re constantly barraged with ideas about health, but how often do we pause to take inventory and ask ourselves to define good health before it is defined for us? What does good health look like? Is it a set of washboard abs or a certain body fat composition? Maybe it’s the ability to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded? Or perhaps it is simply getting through the day without any debilitating aches and pains?

 The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided one of the most well-known definitions: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” I’ve always found this definition to be sorely inadequate with it’s mere three components, although our knowledge of health and it’s related domains has increased by leaps and bounds since this definition was penned in 1948.  Some definitions nowadays have expanded to include up to 8 dimensions (e.g. intellectual, occupational, spiritual).

These additional layers of complexity increase the imperative to define health for ourselves. Why, you might ask? Simply that the more that you look outside yourself for this answer, the more likely you are to become prey to profiteers peddling patently false or misleading information. No one ought to be more invested in your personal health than you, especially if they only care about making a buck. Granted, it’s advisable that you look to credible sources like the WHO and CDC to ground your health paradigm in solid science. While you don’t want to give too much power away when it comes to your health, nobody can reasonably claim that they know it all.

So here’s where the rubber meets the road. What does health mean to you? There are many facets to mine, but one exists in the form of this conditional statement:

“I’m healthy when I’m wholly able to pursue life to full without restriction.”

I invite you to explore this question on your own and share your thoughts on the subject. Get creative! The possibilities are endless.