Health and Well-Being: Meaning & Significance

What is health? Is it an absence of physical illness, so one is healthy? If one is skiing, is s/he healthy or weak? If one eats a good amount of food, Is s/he healthy? If one is focused on eating a little amount of food, can one be considered healthy? Everyone has their definition of health, and this is also affected by the culture that we are brought up in. Is well-being only related to the physical aspect of health? If we are not healthy, does that indicate we are not well, or vice versa? Are Health and well-being related to each other, and are they affected by any factors?

What is Health?

As described by World Health Organization, "Health is the state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being, and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity" is the most accepted definition of health. This definition includes all aspects of health and gives a comprehensive view of what health is. Physical health encompasses physical aspects like weight, height, food, and the presence or absence of any physical ailment. Good weight and height are considered healthy, but this is also subjective. Both weight and height should be in proportion, and physical health varies from person to person. Mental health includes the presence or absence of any mental health disorder, the kind of content we consume, thinking patterns, and related. Social health would include having good social support, close friends, and family. Spiritual well-being would include having faith in something and being contented and satisfied with what you have or what you want, and this is more in abstract terms.

The Indian Concept of Health

Ayurveda presents an alternative viewpoint on life and health that strongly emphasizes completeness, integration, freedom, connectedness, creativity, and enjoyment. The word "Ayurveda" has an etymological connection to a long, healthy life. It asserts that any physical or mental problem expresses itself both in the somatic and the psychic domains through the intermediary process of the vitiation of the "humor," which is consistent with its theory of the unity of mind and body. Ayurvedic therapy aims to balance the doshas, imbalances, and derangements of the physiological humor, specifically Vata, bodily air, pitta, bile, Kapha, or phlegm. According to Fields (2001), healing entails restoring balanced states of being inside the organism, specifically at the level of the doshas or components of the mind/body complex and between an organism and its environment. It accomplishes this by bringing together all the individual's physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities while acknowledging that the essence of these powers is an outpouring of cosmic forces.

According to Charaka, a person is considered to be functioning normally when they have the following characteristics: reduced pain, normal voice, normal complexion, increased strength, appetite, proper digestion and nourishment of the body, proper elimination of waste, proper sexual function, enough sleep at the right time, no dreams that indicate morbidity, happy awakening, and unimpaired mind, intellect, and sense organs.

Well Being

According to the Eudaimonic approach, psychological growth and development have specific demands or attributes that must be met to grow and develop psychologically. When these needs are met, a person can realize their full potential. An illustration of the EWB tradition is the idea of psychological well-being. Ryff proposed six essential characteristics of persons who function effectively in life, drawing on the ideas of Erikson, Jung, Maslow, and Rogers. Such people should be mature enough to follow their moral principles (autonomy), be able to trust and love others (positive relations), be able to manage external stressors and take advantage of opportunities (environmental mastery), have a positive view of themselves (self-acceptance), have significant objectives and goals (purpose in life), and accept themselves as they are.

Factors affecting Health and Wellbeing

Many factors affect health and well-being. The kind of environment one lives in, the lifestyle one leads, the number of calories, the kind of content one consumes, and many more factors. The factors that affect health and well-being are

Family environment

These include mistreatment, neglect, growing up in a home with domestic violence, abusing drugs or alcohol, and parental divorce. Evidence suggests that children who have stressful and unsatisfactory childhoods are more likely to exhibit health-harming and antisocial behaviors, perform poorly in school, commit crimes, and eventually are less likely to contribute positively to society.

Social environment

A person will suffer from social isolation and social deprivation if they do not have opportunities to interact with others, which will negatively influence their well-being.

Physical activity

Positive results and well-being are supported by an atmosphere that is stimulating, safe, caring, and helpful. Well-being is supported by a setting that promotes physical activity (such as cycling and walking) and has access to sporting facilities. High-quality water supplies, no chemical pollutants.


Employment Because financial security encourages independence and is proven to guard against issues with physical and mental health, employment plays a significant role in health. We are aiming to give folks the most assistance in finding employment.

Life events

Sudden and unexpected events can cause stress, affecting your health and well-being. Stressful, complex, and prolonged events increase the chances of mental health and physical problems like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraines, etc


Health consists of physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. Health is not only the absence of illness but the presence of other health aspects. Well-being and health are connected and interrelated. Many things affect health and well-being, like the family environment, education, employment, social networks, physical activity, diet, life events, stress, etc. To be a "healthy person," one should focus on various aspects of health and not just getting physically fit. To live a fulfilling and satisfying life, one should pay attention to his/her health.

Updated on: 04-Jan-2023


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