Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A number of definitions have existed for various purposes over the years. Some are meant to be inclusive of all persons while others are intended to apply only to certain classifications or sub-groups of the population.
According to some definitions, complete health involves the total sum of all the physical and mental aspects of an individual, which includes his behavior, physical environment, relationships with others, capacity to engage in active life and self-awareness. Mental well-being, on the other hand, involves the capacity to achieve and sustain positive relationships with people and things, one’s aptitude for such activities, and ability to cope with stress, frustration, disappointment and anxiety. It also includes one’s capacity to pursue and achieve goals and work well in spite of poor health. The complete state of health may also refer to the absence of any physical or mental illness or disability.
For some, physical well-being encompasses the capacity to undertake all day tasks with ease and in stride, the capacity to go through difficult situations with equanimity and the ability to perform physically demanding jobs without suffering any lasting ill effects. Mental health, on the other hand, often refers to one’s ability to learn and use new skills, to deal with problems, to make progress in learning, to cope with anxiety, depression, boredom, and loneliness. This has obvious implications for education, career, and other aspects of life. It also includes the ability to overcome difficult emotions, such as anger, sorrow, and guilt. Mental health care essentially deals with dealing with emotional issues, such as feelings of sadness, anger, and despair and dealing with their negative consequences, such as overeating and compulsive eating, as well as their effects on one’s health and well-being.