The word “Health” refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well being. The World Heath Organization(WHO), defines Health as a state of complete physical, emotional and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The human person has a physical body and a spiritual or immaterial soul. A breakdown of the parts of the human person is as follows;

A.Physical-The human body is a single structure but it is made up of billions of smaller structures of four major kinds: Cells, Tissues, Organs  and Systems.

i. An organ is an organization of several different kinds of tissues so arranged that together, they can perform a special function

ii. A system is an organization of varying numbers and kinds of organs so arranged that together, they can perform complex functions for the body.

iii. There are ten(10) major systems which include the Skeletal, Muscular, Nervous Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Lymphatic, Respiratory, Digestive, Urinary and Reproductive system.

iv.Body functions are the physiological or the psychological of body systems.  Survival of the body depends on the on the body’s maintaining or restoring homeostasis, a state of relative constancy of it’s internal environment.

v. Human life process includes organization, metabolism, responsiveness, movements, reproduction, growth, differentiation, respiration, digestion and  excretion. All these processes work together in fine-tuned balance, for the well being of the individual and to maintain life.

vi. Life depends on certain physical factors from the environment, which includes water, oxygen, nutrients, heat and pressure.  

At this juncture, it is appropriate to say that human beings have some features in common with all other living organisms .Common similarities include  cells having the same chemical composition, having organ systems and physical  characteristics, ability to reproduce, carrying the  same kind of genetic information system.

However, our features on health is  centred on the human person. What uniquely makes the human person distinct and different from the animals and other living organisms  is the fact that the human person possesses a spiritual soul with special unique  powers or abilities.

B. The Spiritual Component of the person can be discussed as follows;

i. The Intellect-this can be referred to as the Mind and gives the person the ability to reason, learn, discern, form convictions; it is the set of faculties that includes cognitive aspects such as consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking and intelligence.

ii.The Will-this gives the capacity to act or refrain from acting

iii. The Memory-this involves the ability to both preserve and recover information we have learned or experienced.

iv. Emotions- These are instinctive or intuitive feelings as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge. The seven  universal  emotions are Anger, Fear, Disgust, Joy or Happiness, Sadness, Surprise and Contempt.

We have done an overview of what makes up the human person-the physical and spiritual characteristics. What makes for wellness or good health is what promotes the general well being of the person . Good health is holistic; it spreads across the whole person. We can broadly categorize Health as follows;

  • Physical Health-A person with physical health is likely to have bodily functions and processes working at their peak. Regular exercise, balanced nutrition and adequate rest all contribute to good health. Physical well being involves pursuing a healthful  lifestyle, to decrease the risk of disease. Maintaining  physical fitness for example, can protect and develop the endurance of a person’s heart and breathing function, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition.
  • Mental Health-This refers to a person’s emotional, social and psychological well being. Good mental health is not only categorized by the absence of depression and anxiety, or other similar disorders; it also depends on a person’s ability to enjoy life, bounce back after facing difficult experiences and adapt to adversity, balance different elements such as family and finances, feeling safe and secure and achieving his or her full potential.
  • Spiritual Health-The core spiritual faculties in the human person are the Intellect and the Will; this means that the core spiritual activities are Thinking and Willing.

Spirituality comes from the Latin word “Spiritus” which refers to a non-material life force within the body. The spiritual quest involves the search foe existential meaning, whether in the context of a well-defined religious tradition or not.

Spirituality is a globally acknowledged concept which involves belief and obedience to an all-powerful Force usually called God, Who controls the Universe and destiny of the human person. Spirituality is not only about an individual’s relationship with God-it also includes a communal dimension; the relationship between man and his Creator is the root of the moral attitude of man toward his fellow men.  It involves the ways in which people fulfill what they hold to be the purpose of their lives, a search for the meaning of life and a sense of connectedness to the universe. Although the universality of spirituality spreads across creed and culture, at the same time, spirituality is very much personal and unique to each person. Spirituality produces in the human person, qualities such as Love, Tolerance, Patience, Detachment, Faith, Compassion, Hope etc and all contribute to the overall health.

HOLISTIC VIEW OF HEALTH

A holistic view of health encompasses a state of homeostasis between the mind-body and the spiritual aspects of human beings. An imbalance or disturbance of homeostasis can result in illness or disease.

The three components of health are closely linked and they reciprocally impact one another. People with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health; poor physical   health can cause worries, anxieties, depression, stress, lack of concentration  and lack of spiritual involvement,

People with serious mental health problems   are at high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions. Poor mental health can weaken the immune  system , making the person vulnerable to diseases and viral infections. Mental illness can alter hormonal balances and sleep cycles; may  impact social cognitive functions and decrease energy levels, which in turn can negatively impact the adoption of healthy behaviors. People may lack motivation to taking care of their health such as adopting unhealthy and sleeping habits. People with mental illness often experience elevated levels of stress hormones, obesity and heart problems. 

Spiritual decadence can disturb healthy mind-body balance through negative thoughts, deviation from righteous deeds, insecurity etc.

Caroline Ademiluyi is a Lagos based Pharmacist.