In this article, the author presents a conceptualization of positive health.
Well-beingis the pursuit of continuous growth and balance in the seven dimensions of well-being. Many people think of well-being only in terms of physical health. The word brings to mind ideas about nutrition, exercise, weight control, blood pressure, and more.
However, well-being is much more than physical health. It is a comprehensive integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being that leads to quality of life. Emotional well-being is generally understood as having the capacity to feel and express human emotions such as joy, sadness, and anger. Spiritual well-being involves having a set of beliefs, principles, or guiding values that help give direction to life.
Environmental well-being is an awareness of the fragile state of the Earth and of the effects of its daily habits on the physical environment. Emotional well-being is a dynamic state that often fluctuates with the other six dimensions of well-being. For those who practice helping professions, like us in veterinary medicine, well-being is a professional and personal responsibility. Physical well-being encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors, such as adequate exercise, proper nutrition, and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. The development of occupational satisfaction and well-being is related to one's attitude toward their work. Attention must be paid to all dimensions since the neglect of one will eventually negatively affect the others and ultimately a person's health, well-being, and quality of life. Spiritual well-being encompasses a high level of faith, hope, and commitment to individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose.
Intellectual health involves using available resources to expand knowledge and improve skills. Occupational well-being means successfully integrating commitment to one's occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding. Achieving optimal health requires attention to all seven dimensions. It is important to recognize that each dimension affects the others and that neglecting any one can lead to an overall decline in health and quality of life.