Sound financial health usually implies that a person’s finances are balanced. There are many dimensions to financial health including the income sources, fixed and non-discretionary expenses, investments, and retirement plans. Personal finances and all financial decisions impact other areas of life and directly impact physical and emotional health.
Characteristics of Good Financial Health:
- Income source sufficient to meet expenses and set savings goals
- Diversified retirement plan that balances risk and reward
- Sufficient savings to cover unexpected expenses or loss of income
- Mindful spending habits
- Wise management of credit card debt
Steps to Improve Financial Health:
- Reduce credit card debt
- Pay off and close accounts less frequently used
- Avoid special offers to open accounts or transfer debt
- Pay yourself first (include savings as an expense)
- Understand the difference between needs and wants
- Develop a personal monthly budget
- Identify areas to reduce expenses
- Visualize and write down goals for retirement
- Seek professional help for debt reduction and/or managing retirement funds
This dimension of health is most difficult to define and measure as it is highly personal. Yet it is a critical component of overall good health. Being healthy in spirit does not imply that one is religious. It does imply that a person is compassionate, mindful of how their actions affect others and their environment. A person with good moral and spiritual health feels a sense of purpose in life and duty to ensure that their actions are righteous.
Characteristics of Good Moral/Spiritual Health:
- Demonstrated feeling of purpose
- Comfortable with alone time without feeling lonely or disconnected
- Sense of belonging and significant part of a greater plan
- Frames day with intention and gratitude
- A understanding that freedom and happiness are self-driven
Steps to Improve Moral/Spiritual Health:
- Explore your spiritual core to find purpose
- Look for deeper meaning in life’s events
- Focus on and express gratitude
- Think positively
- Participate in yoga and other mind-body centering exercises
Good societal health revolves around the ability to form satisfying relationships with others within family, work, and community. It also relates to how well someone adapts to different social situations as well as the appropriateness of their actions within those relationships.
Characteristics of Good Societal Health:
- Strong communication skills
- Empathy for others
- Interest in others
- Sense of accountability to others and the relationship
Physical health is important for overall well-being. It relates to how well someone can move their physical body to meet daily demands. Muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, and flexibility are all components of good physical health. With physical training all of these areas can be improved at any age. Exercise, nutrition, sleep, a tobacco free lifestyle, and annual physical exams all contribute to improved physical health.
Characteristics of Good Physical Health:
- Perform daily activities without pain or discomfort
- Fall asleep when feeling tired and wake up feeling rested
- Body composition within national recommended ranges
- Eats balanced meals from all food groups with very little or no processed products
Steps to Improve Physical Health:
- Exercise for 150 minutes a week moderately or 90 minutes per week vigorously
- Plan meals, make nutrition a priority
- Stretch daily
- Track food and exercise with a fitness tracker or journal
- Find a trainer or friend that motivates you
- Write down achievable goals weekly
- Stay positive, small changes are a big deal
- Lives a tobacco free lifestyle
- Limits caffeine intake
Professional health is embodied when a person feels that their work and work environment gives them meaning, and is supportive of health, safety, and well-being of employees. In a healthy professional career, employees feel supported and are encouraged to continue to develop themselves through education, training, and opportunities.
Characteristics of Professional Health:
- Desire to go to work
- Feel that there is contribution to overarching mission
- Are supported to participate in education and training
- Have open communication with supervisors, subordinates, and peers
- Are encouraged to participate in health education programs
- Feel appreciated and safe at work
Steps to Improve Professional Health:
- Understand your core values
- Connect your core values to your purpose
- Revisit your purpose, remember why you chose your profession
- Write a personal code that aligns your values and purpose
- Find a mentor, mentor someone else
- Train and educate yourself every chance you get
According to WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
Characteristics of Psychological Health:
- Feel good about yourself.
- Do not become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety.
- Have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
- Feel comfortable with other people.
- Can laugh at themselves and with others.
- Have respect for themselves and for others even if there are differences.
- Are able to accept life’s disappointments.
- Can meet life’s demands and handle their problems when they arise.
- Make their own decisions.
- Shape their environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary.
Steps to Improve Professional Health:
- Talk about your feelings
- Keep active
- Eat Well
- Sleep well
- Connect with others
- Take breaks
- Accept who you are
- Ask for help