Health, in the scientific community, is defined as “a condition of the body that is capable of sustaining its own proper functioning and capable of adapting to changes in its environment.” Some other definitions have also been employed over the years for various purposes. In current use, however, health is usually understood to mean a state of good health: something that is free from illness and capable of maintaining a person’s normal range of activities. This definition of health is inclusive of healthy relationships within the family and society, and a willingness to accept the need for preventative measures and treatment if these things are found to be necessary.
A key concept of defining health is the idea that wellness refers to “the ability to achieve and maintain a balance between life’s demands and resources.” The key to achieving and maintaining this balance is having a balanced mental health, physical health, and emotional health. Mental health refers to your capacity to perceive, evaluate, interpret, and control thoughts, moods, feelings, and behavior. Mental health also refers to your ability to learn, experience, and cope with change. On the other hand, bodily health refers to the state of being able to sustain normal body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, temperature, and perspiration. Emotional health includes your capacity to emotionally respond to stress; and to positively affect others and yourself through appropriate emotions.
An important feature of the current definition of health is that it is broad and inclusive, aiming to define a range of conditions and illnesses that affect an individual. It is also multidimensional, focusing on an individual’s ability to meet his or her needs as regards health, happiness, and productive activity. Although this broad definition has some similarities with traditional sociological approaches to the definition of illness and can be used to classify a wide variety of conditions, it is important to recognize the potential limitations inherent in this approach. For instance, as society becomes more interdependent, the definition of illness has become more complex and multidimensional, encompassing aspects of the culture, communities, and individuals from various parts of the globe. Although disease and disability are now considered to be important drivers of illness research, there is an increasing focus on other dimensions of individual well-being, including emotional health and resilience, as well as enhancing self-care and reducing healthcare utilization.