World Health Day is observed across the globe annually on April 7, to raise awareness amongst the general public about widespread health issues, highlight grave ailments and contemporary illnesses plaguing the world’s population, provide solutions to resolve the maladies and promote overall wellbeing of the people. This universal health campaign was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which held its first World Health Assembly on April 7 in 1948 and thereafter earmarked that specific date as World Health Day, beginning from the year 1950.
The theme of World Health Day 2022 is, “Our Planet, Our Health”, which underscores the need for not merely fit individuals but healthy societies, communities, cities and countries as a whole. As much as active steps are being taken to safeguard one’s health, so should dynamic measures be implemented to protect the health of the environment around the world. For it is widely known since time immemorial that our bodies, minds and souls are intrinsically linked with that of Mother Earth and causing any harm to Her health invariably triggers problems for our wellness.
The WHO has stated that apart from medical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, COVID-19, diabetes, asthma which hamper people’s health, pollution of air, land/soil, water, unprecedented climate change, excessive use of fossil fuels, surplus greenhouse gas emissions, rampant deforestation also contribute to increasing the global incidence of chronic and even life-threatening ailments in persons of all ages. Thus, this year, World Health Day events and discussions shine focus on the necessity of government bodies, healthcare associations, medical professionals, local communities and the general public to work together, take progressive actions, diminish geographical, socioeconomic inequalities in healthcare and promote sustainable eating habits and development practices, to preserve the wellbeing of the entire Planet Earth, for present as well as future generations.
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In this regard, the overall wellbeing of individuals is of utmost importance to work towards environmental conservation and maintain a healthy planet. While people generally consider the external appearance of a person to be the sole indicator of health – such as looking pale implying sickness and having a hale fit body meaning good health – there is actually much more to wellbeing than what meets the eye. Personal health of individuals comprises five dimensions – physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and all these aspects are crucial for wellness.
Effective Ways To Augment Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social And Spiritual Health:
Physical health includes the proper functioning of the body, making sure that external and internal organs like the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach, brain, bones and joints all operate smoothly and promptly reporting any symptoms at once to the doctor for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. Diet, exercise and sleep form the three pillars of physical fitness and some basic tips for a healthy body are:
- Consuming a balanced, nutrient-dense, wholesome diet
- Ensuring ample rest at night, with 7 – 9 hours of sleep every day
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, consisting of walking, running or active gym workouts
Also Read: COVID-19 Lockdown: This Is Why You Need Sound Sleep To Prevent The Deadly Infection
Mental health chiefly consists of healthy brain functions to improve cognitive abilities, memory, intellect and increase productivity at work and home. Just as in the case of physical symptoms, any defects in cerebral functions such as forgetfulness or lack of mental coordination should be informed to a physician immediately for a precise diagnosis and pertinent medical care. Fundamental practices to foster mental wellness are:
- Performing problem-solving activities like crossword puzzles, sudokus etc. to stimulate the thinking functions of the brain
- Eating nourishing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants which have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, to help prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s
- Avoiding unhealthy habits of smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol and ingesting recreational drugs that impede brain health
Emotional health entails the emotions that our minds go through on a regular basis, which majorly influence moods and decision-making skills. While it is not possible to be happy all the time for any person irrespective of age, gender or social status, it is still vital to encourage positive thoughts on a daily basis and steer clear of situations that incite negative feelings. Furthermore, when facing issues of undue stress and anxiety, it is pivotal to seek the advice of a mental health expert, to address the problems and restore optimal wellbeing. Simple tips to uplift emotional health are:
- Practicing yoga, meditation sessions daily for at least 20 – 30 minutes, to regulate breathing functions, remove all problems from the mind, uplift mood and destress
- Avoiding hesitation in consulting with a psychologist or attending counselling/therapy sessions fearing social taboos and going ahead and seeking help from a mental health professional whenever required
- Imbibing gratefulness for all the things in life and staying positive in times of difficulties and challenges
Developing deep meaningful connections with family, close friends and the surrounding environment aids in boosting social wellness. Moreover, during the tough times in life, a person’s close social circle helps in resolving demanding issues and removes the burden of having to go through the testing phase all alone. Effective ways to bolster social wellbeing are:
- Meeting with family and close friends regularly, talking to them in person and sharing all happy times as well as sad, difficult circumstances at home, work and life
- Staying away from toxic relationships and walking away from people who only bring negativity in life, even if they were once close friends or relatives
- Getting involved in volunteer activities in the neighborhood like in homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, which help establish a friendly and healthy connection with the society and community
Last but far from the least comes spiritual health. While this does not automatically imply that one has to be religious, spiritual wellbeing focuses on creating a profound connection between one’s inner soul and the world around them, providing a sense of purpose and adding meaning and principles to life. Basic steps to uplift spiritual health are:
- Spending time in nature, appreciating the plethora of natural bounty that provide sustenance and help in leading a healthy life
- If a person is religious, visiting places of worship regularly as well as taking time every day to practice one’s faith ensures a purposeful driven life
- Few minutes daily in silence, to introspect about one’s thoughts, words, actions, calm the mind and enrich the soul