What is health?
Language often shapes the world around us and the definition we give something will often impact our mindset and actions.
The Oxford English dictionary defines health as “being free from illness or injury”
Often, most people look at health as the absence of disease.
On the contrary, the World Health Organization defines health as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
You can see that there are different definitions of health from different sources.
I challenge you to ask yourself what is your definition of health?
How does your definition of health influence your thoughts, mindset, decisions and actions?
There are many hypotheses around how language affects the world around us. For instance, in the Russian language there is a word for dark blue and light blue rather than just one word for blue like we have in English.
In the language called Guugu Yimithirr, which is spoken in a remote area of Australia, they don’t have words for right and left, instead they use North, East, South and West. This means that language creates a difference in the way that English speakers and Guugu Yimithirr speakers orient themselves in space and are able to describe that to others.
These are just a couple examples of how differing languages and meanings can potentially affect how we think which can then ultimately shapes our decisions and actions. There are many language differences like this and scholars have been studying how language shapes our reality since at least the 6th century.
Now, let’s take that knowledge back to our original question of what is health and why it is important how we define it. If we were to just take the definition of health as the absence of disease, we might not even think about our health until something goes wrong. We might not pay attention to it until all of a sudden we feel symptoms. Was it really all of a sudden or did we just not pay attention to our health until our body couldn’t take it anymore?
This is having a reactive mindset towards health, where we react only when something already happens.
On the contrary, what if we defined health as having extraordinary energy, vitality, strength and mental/emotional clarity? How would that change your thoughts, actions and decisions? You might be more in tune with you body. Maybe you are having an off day and not feeling quite right, so you take action to get yourself into a peak state. Maybe you feel tired, so you realize you need to add something into your diet, take a supplement or adjust how you are sleeping. Maybe you feel good but you do things to make your health even better!
This definition will lead to a more proactive lifestyle where we take care of our health before something ever goes wrong and we continue to improve our health leading to more and more energy within ourselves!
When we have the latter definition of health, it spills over into our relationships, finance, career, dreams and anything else you can think of. You can feel amazing while you play with your kids or take the vacation you dreamed of. You can feel outstanding when conducting that important business meeting or having that romantic date with your partner. These things will be so much more enjoyable and successful when you feel amazing inside.
This might seem like a simple idea but if we don’t look at our belief patterns around something, they can subconsciously rule our decisions, actions and life.
So, today I challenge you to ask yourself “what is health and how is that definition affecting my life?”