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How Do You Know If You're Really Healthy?

Most of us think we're pretty healthy, but in reality, we may not be as healthy as we think we are.There is more to knowing for sure than you think.

I taught Middle School and High School Health Education for 8 years. This course
focused on defining being Healthy as having a balance of each of 5 aspects: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual. Throughout the semester, we would learn what it looks like to have balance in these aspects by further breaking them down.

In Physical health we studied how exercise affects heart health, body composition,
athletic performance, and disease prevention. In Mental health, we dove into
what causes us stress and how to handle it in a productive way. Understanding
that your self-esteem can be established from childhood experiences and in
turn affect your decision making as an adult, is another part of one’s mental
health we discussed. Emotional health surrounded how to express emotions in
non-harmful ways. In Social health, we defined what a positive relationship is
and isn’t, as well as how to talk to someone in a conflict situation. In our
Spiritual health unit, we discussed how God fits into your life. Where I teach
at Westminster Christian Academy, we talked about how Jesus Christ is the focal
point of your life and is actually the foundational aspect that supports the
other four.

Again, BALANCE of these aspects is the key. If you’re a superstar athlete with
six-pack abs but are suicidal because your career is about to end, doesn’t mean
you’re healthy. Just because you’re a pastor but weigh 350 pounds, doesn’t mean
you’re healthy.  Just because you have lots of friends (real ones, not Facebook ones) but believe your self worth comes from clothes, money or status, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. We also pointed out that each aspect is connected to each other and affects each other (i.e. high stress can cause people to get a cold, low self-esteem can cause you to make friends with people who may be an negative influence, being an emotional eater can cause you to gain weight, inability to handle stress well can lead to alcohol or drug addiction, or difficulty in handling anger can isolate you from your friends and family.)

Of course we can’t be perfect in every aspect but we should at least be striving
to be the best we can be in all aspects while recognizing we're still human
and will make mistakes. When it comes to being healthy we’ve got to look at the
whole “puzzle” and not just one or two pieces of it. Perhaps one way to begin
your self-evaluation is to rate yourself from 1 to 10 in all aspects.
Then have one or two people who really know you also evaluate you in the same
way with the goal being to have an average score of 7-9 in each aspect. When you’re done, you’ll have the information necessary to begin a rebuilding process if necessary, or at least feel encouraged about where you are. Either way, if you’re not sure you’re a totally healthy person, a self-assessment of some kind needs to be taken to establish a baseline and then repeated every now and then to measure improvement or lack there of.

But if this is going to work, you have to be honest with yourself and allow those
really close to you be honest with you too. If you can do that, you’re on your
way.


About Dave Schall: Dave has been the Head Strength
& Conditioning Coach at Westminster Christian Academy for the past 6 years.
He is a former Division I and Professional Soccer player and holds a Bachelor’s
Degree in Physical Education and Health and a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology
and Physical Education. Dave earned a Certified Strength and Conditioning
Specialist credential in 2000. He has been married to Stephanie for 7 years and
has a 4- year old daughter Madeline and a 2-year old son Colton.

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Jeanne Martin June 13, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Beautiful!! This should be taught in every school in our country!
James Baer June 14, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Agreed! And self evaluation is so very important. So is relying on those closest to be honest with us about our health.
Dr. Nick Barnes June 19, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Exactly! Thanks so much Dave for being another local voice for health.

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