What is Optimal Health? (2024)

Optimal health is a state of complete physical, emotional and social well-being. It's more than just the absence of disease or infirmity, it's a life that has its ups and downs but also its joys and pleasures.

Often people set goals like getting rid of pain, losing weight or doing more pushups, but these goals fall short of optimal health. They're only useful when they are achievable, and it's important to keep them realistic.

Physical

Optimal health is the energy, vitality and resilience to live joyfully in your body and face life's challenges.

Whether you wake up full of optimism for the day or are distracted by pain and discomfort, your physical health drives those feelings. Your body's natural defense mechanisms are also working at their optimal levels.

Your lifestyle choices around sleep, diet, exercise, hygiene and relaxation achieve or derail optimal functioning.

A healthy lifestyle is a powerful antidote to all the stressors of everyday life that can drag down your health. These include a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress on the job or at home, lack of time for self-care, environmental pollution, and poor mental health.

Taking small steps in each area can lead to more optimal health over the long term. These can include things like walking or biking to work instead of driving, parking farther away from the store so you can walk a few extra blocks, and growing and maintaining a garden.

Emotional

Emotional health is a state of wellbeing, resilience, and recovery from mental health problems and/or stress that leads to a life worth living.

It’s a concept that delves into how well you are able to manage and express all the emotions that arise from what you have learned and experienced. This can be a challenge for many people, but is crucial to creating optimal health and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Developing emotional health requires a dedicated effort. Self-awareness, self-acceptance, and a commitment to care for the whole self are all essential to building a strong foundation of emotional wellness.

Being emotionally resilient means you are able to bounce back from setbacks quicker and thrive despite challenges. It also means you’re able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times more.

Social

Optimal health is the highest level of health and wellbeing that an individual can achieve. This can vary from person to person due to genetic potential and environmental factors.

A key element of optimal health is social health. This refers to the ability of an individual to establish meaningful relationships and interact with others in positive ways.

When people are not socially connected, they can develop drastic health problems like depression and anxiety. They can also have a lower quality of life and higher risk for chronic diseases.

In many definitions of optimal health, social health is one of the three pillars along with physical and mental health. However, it is often seen as separate from these other dimensions.

Spiritual

Spiritual health is a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself. It is also about developing and using your life values.

People who are spiritually healthy often have strong relationships with others and a connection to a higher power. They feel a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and they exhibit compassion and altruism.

Spirituality can help you cope with stress, illness, loss and other life changes. It can also help you develop and maintain your mental and physical health.

What is Optimal Health? (2024)
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