The saying “health is wealth” may seem like an overutilized and over-generalized phrase, but it does have some level of validity. Without your health, other things in life seem much less important.
This saying resonates deeply with those that suffer from health-related issues. If you were to ask an individual who is affected by a detrimental disease if they would want their health back or a trip to the Bahamas, a vast majority will choose their health and well-being. When impacted by health issues, it can become difficult to enjoy the other things in life.
The reality of health and wellness is that it can seem to 180 in an instance. One moment you're fine, and the next you are unwell with a chronic issue. While this is often the perception people have, there are generally subtle signs of decline.
If you monitor the three aspects of your health and wellness you can be much more in tune with yourself and can catch problems proactively. Below is a look into the three aspects of overall health as well as ways you can monitor each of these aspects.
#1: Mental health
Mental health is a large component of your overall health and wellbeing. Mental health covers a wide range of human experience and includes mood, feelings, personality, stress, motivation, and other mental concepts.
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mental health is made up of your emotional, psychological, and social well-being that determines how you handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Mental health in recent years has had more emphasis placed upon it. In the past mental health and wellbeing was somewhat of a taboo topic. Stating that you are depressed or have anxiety today really isn’t out of the ordinary as mental health is continuously becoming more normalized. Monitoring your mental health may seem like a tricky task, but with practice and persistence, it can become easier.
Below are three ways that you can monitor aspects of your mental health. By monitoring your mental health you can observe changes and determine the cause of your mental distress or other changes.
Monitoring your mood
While your mood fluctuates on any given day, typically people will follow a general pattern of mood. Tracking your general mood each day is a great way to start monitoring your mental well-being. Over time you will typically see a pattern of mood. Sudden changes to your mood can indicate that something in your life is impacting your mental wellbeing and that it may need to be addressed.
By monitoring your mood, you are also training yourself in how to identify feelings and mood which is a very great skill to have. Many people will feel symptoms of a bad mood but are unable to recognize the cause or feeling itself. Recording how you feel each day is a great place to start monitoring your mental health.
Monitoring your stress
Stress is a common part of people's lives that can cause mental health problems. When an individual experiences chronic stress, it can affect more than just their psyche. Chronic stress can have negative health implications if left unchecked.
Like your mood, tracking your level of stress each day is a great way to monitor your mental health. If you find that you have more stressful days than unstressful, it may be advisable to go to the doctors to determine if you have a stress or anxiety disorder.
Monitoring your stress level over time is also a great way to gain insight into the things that increase or decrease your stress level. As an example, if you find that you typically record higher levels of stress on the days that you are sitting for long periods of time, you may want to consider getting a standing desk or finding other methods to reduce your stress. When done over a long period of time, you can gain a ton of insight into what makes you tick and what stresses you out.
Monitoring your motivation
Motivation is the drive to get things done. Motivation is a component of your mental health and is an interplay of many different mental health concepts. Your mood, emotions, and psychological state all impact your motivation on a given day. Because of this, tracking your feeling of motivation as well as what you are able to accomplish in a day is a great way to track your mental well-being.
Monitoring your level of motivation as well as the number of things you accomplish in a day can give you incredible insight into the things that make you more efficient with your time and facilitate your motivation. Each person is different when it comes to motivations for doing something and having a log of your motivation can help you to find what motivates you and utilize it to your advantage to feel more productive.
#2: Physical health
Physical health is the aspect of overall health that people most typically think of when thinking about wellness. Your physical health encompasses the health of all of your body systems and their proper functioning.
Some parts of your body naturally decrease in their ability to function, but there are steps you can take to minimize these. The functioning of the mitochondria is a great example of this. COQ10 is naturally produced by your body, and hangs out in the mitochondria and helps support energy production while also doubling as a powerful antioxidant. Traditionally, COQ10 levels diminish as age increases. MitoQ, however, is a supplement that you can take to increase COQ10 levels in the mitochondria to help support mitochondrial efficiency.
Traditional doctors visits focus on your physical well being where they do a series of different assessments to check for proper functioning and health.
While it is impractical to continuously monitor every body system, there are biomarkers that can give you a generalized insight into your physical health. Below are three ways to monitor your physical health and wellbeing.
Monitor your blood pressure
Blood pressure is an important measure that should be monitored for the assessment of physical health. Normal blood pressure is a crucial component of your health and elevated blood pressure can have detrimental impacts on your physical wellbeing.
Monitoring your blood pressure over time can give you an idea of what your normal is and if things begin to change over time. Knowing the risks of high blood pressure and how to reduce them is important and by monitoring your blood pressure you can ensure that any changes to your blood pressure will be caught early.
Monitor your overall physique and BMI
Weight is a measure that many people watch to monitor their health. The fact is that weight by itself is not a large indication of overall physical health and needs to be paired with other factors to mean something. A better metric to utilize in the assessment of your physical well-being is to track your BMI and physique.
If you begin a workout regime you will lose fat, but also simultaneously gain muscle. On the scale this would result in little change in weight and doesn't provide the full story. BMI and physique measurements like waist circumference, bicep measurements, etc. are much better metrics.
Taking advantage of bloodwork
Routine blood work is something that you should get done yearly at the very least to monitor your health. Measurements like cholesterol and blood sugar provide insight into your physical health. Both cholesterol and blood sugar levels can be key indications of diminishing physical health. Elevated cholesterol can increase the chance of cardiovascular issues and elevated sugar levels can be indicative of poor blood sugar control.
#3: Social health
Humans are social beings and as such, social health is a large component of overall well-being. Social wellbeing takes into account relationships, circumstances, and belongingness within society. Having a healthy social life is an important component of your overall wellbeing and below are three ways that you can monitor it.
Checking your relationships
The friends and family that you develop a relationship with through life are a big component to your social health. These individuals are the ones that make life less lonely and allow you to be yourself and express yourself. Mentally checking in with your relationships is a great way to monitor your social health and wellbeing. Making a conscious effort to mentally check in with your relationships also gives you an opportunity to reach out and improve your relationship with that given person.
Monitoring your purpose
Feeling like you have a place in the world is a large component to social wellbeing. Fitting in and knowing where you fit into the bigger picture are important concepts to both your mental and social well-being. Monitoring purpose is about periodically reminding yourself of your purpose and place in society and reaffirming that you have value. These concepts can facilitate a greater self-worth and your overall well-being.
In summary, your overall well-being is impacted by many different factors. The three aspects of overall health and wellbeing include the social, physical, and mental aspects. Monitoring the health of each aspect is an important part of being able to seek help when it is needed. Following the advice above, you can work towards living a healthy and fruitful life and resting assured knowing that you are proactive in your health and are in tune with your body.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.