Are You Healthy?

What Is Healthy?

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In a recent article we asked, “Do you routinely take time to ‘take care of you’?” Most said you do “take care of you” (71%), with just over one-fourth saying you did not. One of you asked a very interesting question, “What does that entail?”

What a smart question.  What does ‘taking care of you’ actually mean?   What does it mean to be healthy?

Over half a century ago, the World Health Organization defined health as “a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”[1] These three areas of health create the health triangle.

Physical Health

Your physical health is determined by sleep, the amount of exercise you get, eating right, and even oral hygiene. Your habits are also considered when it comes to your physical health: Do you exercise regularly? Do you drink or smoke? What are your habits concerning drugs? Do you get regular check-ups with a clinician?

Mental Health

Your mental health helps you handle the stresses of your daily routine, keeping you generally cheerful and optimistic. When you think clearly, you make better judgment calls. Are you controlling your stress and/or anxiety? Do you have hobbies? Do you know how to relax?

Social Health

Finally, your social health. You work longer hours than the average person, but it’s still important that you have a healthy social life. This means you can form positive and supportive relationships with your peers. Do you take time to see your friends and/or family? Do you participate in civic or professional organizations? For many, this also includes their spiritual health.

Health Triangle

Each segment of the health triangle is dependent on the other two. Without a healthy social life, you can get depressed. This can affect your mental health, which can then upset your physical health (eg, lack of sleep, indulging in bad habits). Or you could overindulge in your social life, often out partying and staying out late. This can lead to lack of sleep—and the cycle goes on. When all segments of the health triangle are in sync, you’re taking care of yourself and your health.  However, just one weak link in the triangle compromises the other two.


Published May 3, 2012



  1. World Health Organization. Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the Internal Health Conference, New York, June 19-22, 1946, and entered into force on April 7, 1948.