Health is a positive state of physical and mental health. We are in a state of positive health when we feel physically healthy, free from disease, satisfied and secure. Our close and harmonious interactions with family members, neighbors and friends help us to remain mentally healthy.
By this definition, very few people in the world enjoy positive health. In rich and developed countries, family ties appear to weaken, neighbors may be strangers and friendships are sometimes limited to business contacts. Environmental conditions in those countries have greatly improved, populations have achieved better nutritional conditions, and there is often plenty of money available to buy most of the luxuries of life. People in developed countries can enjoy better physical health, but they are far from achieving positive health, as many are not so satisfied mentally.
On the other hand, in developing countries, the quality of human interaction between families, neighbors and friends is often more positive. However, both the environmental and nutritional status of these populations are low, so people suffer more from poor physical health. When a person has poor physical health, there cannot be a state of positive health. Therefore, we find that positive health is putting many of us away.
However, it is not impossible for people in developing countries to achieve positive health. To help achieve this state, we need to understand how our bodies function so that we can stay healthy; We also need a clean environment and healthy food which does not cost a lot of money. We need proper education for all people which leads to understanding the relationship between health and positive attitude towards life.
What is positive health?
We must remember that a satisfied mind and healthy life can help in keeping us free from many diseases. In some ways it is easier for people. To achieve positive health in developing countries, as they have more intimate social systems with better communication between people than many people in rich and developed countries. Through the resources of sophisticated medical facilities, we can achieve positive health for the majority of the people in our communities.
That doesn’t mean we don’t need medical care. We certainly need proper medical care in certain circumstances. We need proper vaccination against infectious diseases, proper medical and surgical treatment of diseases when required, proper maternal care before and after childbirth and regular medical check-ups after the age of forty. However, our health need not be obsessive, and we should use our instincts and wisdom to decide when medical intervention is really necessary.
While most people in developed countries enjoy better health, doctors in those countries attribute this improved physical health primarily to better medical facilities. They ignore other important social factors, such as high standards of education, wealth, nutrition and the enjoyment of a clean environment enjoyed by most of these populations.
It can be helpful to realize that, although people in rich and developed countries have achieved better physical health than people in the developing world, many of them suffer from a decline in basic human values. This is often reflected in complex problems such as drug dependence, psychotic mental illnesses and stress related illnesses. Family ties are falling apart and happy human contacts are diminishing. To deal with these difficult situations, people often turn to the psychoanalyst of the psychiatrist for the help of the profession. Our elderly aunts and wise friends used to solve similar problems by listening and showing understanding and compassion because they believed that the most important thing was to relieve the distressed person’s mind.
Unfortunately, people in many developing countries are trying to achieve the same level of physical health as developed countries by providing medical facilities to deal with minor health problems. Other important factors associated with better physical health are being overlooked. Often, the result is that many families are spending more money on doctors and medicines than on healthy food and other essentials to improve their physical environment. This is a tremendous waste of limited resources for developing countries.
achieving positive health
Rather than wasting valuable resources on the provision of more medical facilities, it may be better to use our knowledge and basic common sense in an effort to maintain a healthy body and mind. For example, learning the importance of good nutrition for health and teaching this to children. And, we should use our indigenous simple home remedies to solve simple health problems instead of relying on modern medicines which are often very costly. And remember that most drugs have side effects that can be even more dangerous than the disease itself.
In nature, animals are not influenced by media campaigns and rely on their instincts. Nature has given each animal the power to monitor its body and maintain general health. As an example, salt is an essential element for all animals. Wild animals (such as rhinoceros, elephant or deer) in the forest try to find a place where salt is present in the soil. They regularly lick the soil to get the right amount of salt that their body needs. They eat only the required amount and never become obese as we humans often do. They monitor their body’s needs by instinct and do not eat more than necessary. All carnivorous animals eat grass when there is diarrhea or other stomach problems due to indigestion. And, they manage to maintain good physical health in general.
We humans seem to have lost the ability to monitor our bodies to maintain health. We refuse to understand our body’s signals and tend instead to follow the advice of doctors or the media. Sometimes, overzealous parents force babies and young children to eat not because they are hungry. Children may be fed more than their body demands or needs as some books tell how much food a child needs. As a result, children can grow up ignoring the body’s vital signals, until these signals weaken and fail to stimulate normally. People then either eat too much or too little (as in the case of some young figure-conscious girls) and fail to eat the exact amount of food needed by the body.
Expectations and Responsibilities
By instinct, most parents love and care for their children. Yet too often, their expectations and ambitions put too much pressure on children. When children do not reach the level of ambition of their parents, they can suffer from tremendous frustration and stress. This can lead to drug use and other related behaviors as a way of escaping the realities of the situation.
From the very beginning, children should be allowed to grow up in their natural happy way under the love, guidance and care of parents and without too much pressure. A change in some traditional parenting attitudes can help prevent many cases of drug dependence and other teen problems.
We should also understand the responsibilities of our parents towards the world environment. Remember that the living space in this world is limited and we should have enough space for our future generations to live happily. To achieve that goal, we must practice family planning and limit birth rates to only one or two children per couple. There should be a gap of three or four years between each birth so that every child is not deprived of the right to adequate parental love and care. Family planning actually means family welfare, as it helps to keep women healthy so as to contribute to a happy home environment. A happy healthy mother is the key to the well being of the whole family.
The mind is most important in maintaining positive health. Learning to rest properly and developing ways to cope with day-to-day stress is vital to developing a healthy mind. Many diseases, such as high blood pressure and some heart problems, are known to be related to stress, so using relaxation techniques can help you avoid many health problems.