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World Health Day 2009: Personal Aspects of Health

(Thanks to Heather for taking the time to put together this post for World Health Day)

Healthy Living is more than diet and exercise

Everyday we find ourselves bombarded with advertising for the latest exercise machine or diet programs. I know I do. The media at large wants us to believe that living a healthy life simply means to eat better and exercise.

I have found myself wondering why advertising makes it seems so easy, and yet it is so hard. Even when people succeed, the cruel fact is that the success is short lived.

A few months ago, I took a health and wellness class, assuming that it would be all about diet and exercise. I began the class thinking I would hear the same thing I have heard many times from nutritionists, diet counselors, doctors, and personal trainers.

I was wrong, and I found out how unbalanced my life was in respect to health. I was surprised to learn that health means every facet of my life.

There are personal aspects of health that we all face but probably do not consider, and within those health aspects, we also have levels of change.

The personal aspects of health that I learned about were:

Environmental – how healthy am I in respect to my environment, do I recycle? Am I involved in conserving energy, water? Do I buy local and organic foods whenever possible?

Stress – Do I know and practice stress relieving techniques? Am I aware of my stressors and how to counter them?

Sexual health– Do I practice safe sex, am I in a monogomous relationship?

Emotional health– Do I think in a healthy fashion? Do I pursue happiness or have I fallen into a place of negative thinking?

Social– Am I involved in my community? Do I have a set of close knit friends? Do I have a support group? Do I allow others to be there for me? Am I there for others?

Intellectual– Do I make an effort to increase my knowledge? Am I aware of my surroundings? Am I aware of what’s going on in the world, and how it affects me?

Spiritual – Do I have a spiritual basis or belief system? Am I comfortable with it?

Physical– Do I eat right, at least five fruits and vegetables a day? Do I limit my sugars, salts, and saturated fats? Do I drink water ? Do I weight train for muscle and bone mass building? Do I do at least 45 minutes of cardio most days of the week? Do I stretch?

Oddly, there are levels which we all must go through in our pursuit of change in order for the change to stick.

Precontemplation– when we are either in denial or have no desire to change

Contemplation– We’re thinking about what might need to be changed, but we’re really not ready to do anything about it

Preparation– we are taking the steps toward making a change

Action– we have begun to make a change

Maintenance– when we have been consistent for 6 months

I realize that for some reason I am in a rut. It’s easy to do, a change in routine can easily push me back from action to contemplation in every aspect of my health. My life consists of upheaval and changing routines, so I have allowed my rut to become my routine that I cling to.

I hope to change that. Tuesday is World Health Day. While the World Health Organization has their own theme for this year, my choice is to go back and look through my Behavior Change Contracts I wrote for myself with every aspect of my health that I felt needed attention. I have been ignoring not only my physical health, but also all the others in some way. My main problem is support, so today I am hoping I can begin achieving a better social health by inviting you to join me.

What about you? Do you have aspects in your life that may need change aside from the physical changes the media encourages us all to make?

Would you like more information on how to write a Behavior Change Contract, or where to begin?

What is lacking in your health arena? What is working for you?

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • WickedCourtni April 7, 2009, 11:45 am

    I really try to be a health-conscious person.

    I could use to be more environmentally healthy though… I dont put as much effort into that as I do the other.

  • susan April 7, 2009, 11:56 am

    I like to eat healthy most of the time. I found giving into small cravings is good. However the one thing I know I need to clean up are my friends. Sometimes I wonder how we are friends, the gossiping and backstabbing. My parents always taught me if they talk about other “friends” behind their back what are they saying about you when you are not there? Its hard not to get sucked into something like that when people say so what’s going on with so and so and you know a lot about what’s going on.

    i should work on being more active but with commuting 3 hours each day and being at work from 8:30-5:30 leaving my house and getting back at 7 it just makes me tired to want to do anything else besides what I have to do such as cooking, cleaning, walking my dog and other things like that.

  • Miss Tricky April 7, 2009, 12:24 pm

    Hello Gunny’s Girl!

    I expected to feel a deep, dark shame come over me while reading this post. I expected to feel like I am unhealthy and unbalanced….I am pleasantly surprised. Having a child with very strict diet restrictions has given me a much needed push in the direction of healthy eating. We eat non-dairy, wheat -free organice (local when possible) sustainable foods. Just dragging my sorry ass down to Whole Foods opens up awareness about what I put in my body, and what I put in the trash. After a month of eating and living this way I feel better as does my son. Next stop new community to immerse myself in! My next goal is to want to quit smoking….I know how dumb it is to continue to do so….I just have to want to. And yes, I would love more info on the Behavior Change Contract!


  • Jaime @ Fast Times April 7, 2009, 12:25 pm

    I’m lacking in a lot of ways. I’m a very negative thinker when it comes to myself.

  • Twinkie April 7, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Very informative post. Wow. YES I would LOVE more information on writing a Behavior Change Contract. Even though I feel very happy with my life choices I know there are probably lots of things I need to work on for myself.

  • Anne April 7, 2009, 2:09 pm

    Yes, I’m interested in learning more (hopefully binding myself to) the Behavior Change Contract. I’d also like to read more from you about this topic overall.

  • Raeann April 7, 2009, 4:55 pm

    Always in need of help in this area.

  • Dizzy Girl April 8, 2009, 2:27 am


    I would love some more information about this. My major problem right now is stress. I’ve been doing good on everything else but I just can’t seem to get a grip on fixing my stress level. This was a very informative and helpful blog.


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