By: Anca Budau
I keep hearing people talking about mental health, being spiritually awake, and other weird things. What is that all about?
Mental health means much more than the absence of mental illness. Mental health is what we all want, whether we know it or not. When we think of happiness, peace of mind, satisfaction, joy, we are actually referring to mental health.
Traditionally, people have defined health in different ways. A leading person with an athletic structure will say that health means the regular practice of a series of exercises and the provision of carefully prepared meals for maintaining a normal weight and a good physical condition. A doctor will consider health to be the absence of disease. A psychologist will argue that health includes the ability to solve problems from emotional and traumatic events.
The modern view is that health has a few dimensions - emotional, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual, each one of them contributes to the welfare condition of a person. In order to maintain good health, a person must examine each of these dimensions and orient himself in the direction in which he is allowed not only to live a long life but to also enjoy life to the fullest.
The amount of our habits is reflected in the state of health that we have. Your mood is also the result of your own lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle means more than a set of rules which we follow to avoid certain diseases. By living healthy we build a world in which we reach our maximum potential, both on the physical and emotional side.
There are four health dimensions: biological health, mental health, social health, and spiritual health.
Biological health refers to the state of the body and its answers in front of external “aggressors”. It consists of a good operation of organs, tissues, systems, and cells, individually, and as a whole, under any conditions.
Mental health is a part of everyday life. We build it every day in the family, at work, in our circle of
friends, in society. Mental health means how everyone can harmonize their desires, ambitions, abilities, ideals, feelings, and consciousness to be able to cope with the demands of life. There is a clear line between mental health and mental illness. There are a variety of aspects of mental health. Nobody owns at all times all the characteristic features of a perfectly healthy mind.
Social health is the ability to engage, contribute and take advantage and enjoy relationships with others. Man is a social being and the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our interpersonal relationships. Social health refers to the ability to fulfilling our role in life, such as the role of a son or daughter, parent, husband, friend, or citizen, in an efficient and comfortable way and with pleasure, without disturbing the climate of social ecology, and the protection of other
people. Each of these roles involves different responsibilities and risks. All require effective communication on the model of “offer and take” because healthy relationships never unfold in one sense only.
Spiritual health means the capacity of consciousness, balance, and harmony, which is manifested mainly through self-education. It is our ability to become aware of our identity and find the shortest, simple and harmonious paths to a fulfilling, understanding life, acceptance, and compassion. Spiritual health is the feeling, the experience, after which the behavior and fundamental values of a
person are in harmony. Some health professionals claim that spiritual forces affect and are affected by health as a whole. Spiritual health can include a deep sense of religious faith or the feeling of inner peace regarding someone’s life. It evolves through the effort of developing meaningful relationships with the universe and with life itself. Numerous studies have shown an association between religious affiliation and a low rate of chronic diseases and mortality. Some people attribute these effects to religious rules, stating that religion discourages conduct that can lead to severe health problems. Other people said that religious affiliation can directly contribute to the state of health and
good mood in general.
If you do not keep in touch with your spiritual side, here is a good reason to start doing it: it could have benefits on keeping a healthy mind.
A recent study shows that no matter what religion we belong to, spirituality, in general, is related to mental health. In this study, spirituality was linked to decreased neuroses and increased extra-version (orientation toward things outside one's self). "People who have a higher spirituality focus less on themselves and have a greater sense of unity and connection with the rest of the universe. Interestingly, the frequency of participation in religious activities is not significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion, and health” said Dan Cohen, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the qualitative aspects of a healthy life. These do not diminish the role of the somatic and physiological integrity of the body, but it is desired to emphasize that health means more than that. In this context, two concepts become relevant, namely: well-being and life quality.