Health is the measure of our body’s efficiency and overall well-being. The health triangle is a measure of the different aspects of health.
Most people could name maybe one or two sides of the health triangle. Can you name all three sides?
If not, here is why you should pay attention to the health triangle and why all three sides need to be balanced to achieve overall wellness.
What are the Three Sides of the Health Triangle
The three sides that make up the health triangle and contribute to your overall health are:
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Social Health
Most people have heard of physical health, some may even be aware of mental health, but social health is often overlooked.
We are often taught that nutrition, exercise, and sleep are the priorities of maintaining our health. Sometimes we hear a little about mental health, but social health is often something completely new for people.
What is physical health
Physical health deals with your body’s ability to function normally and how well it is operating. This includes your diet and nutrition, getting enough physical activity and enough sleep to recharge for the next day.
Physical health can also include other things that you may not realise such as your hygiene; this includes taking care of your teeth and keeping your body and hair clean – all important aspects to consider.
What is mental health
Mental health focuses on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Stress, anxiety, and emotions such as anger are all encompassed under mental health. It is the ability to cope with stress and problems that are a normal part of life.
Being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour allows you to be healthy mentally. It also enables you to learn and develop new skills. The development of skills, behaviours, and knowledge helps you to grow as an individual. Learning can also increase self-confidence, awareness, and self-perception.
What is social health
Social health encompasses our relationships with others. Whether that is family, friends and co-workers. Social health measures the way a person reacts to people in their environment.
It includes how they can communicate, care for others, seek and lend support, and the ability to make and keep relationships. These relationships could occur at home, school, work, or social gatherings.
Why is the health triangle important
Each of the three components of the health triangle contributes to your overall wellbeing and need to be equally balanced. They are interlinked.
If you thought physical health was the only thing that mattered, you are not alone. Focusing only on nutrition and exercise is what we are taught from an early age to stay healthy. But mental and social health have equally an important impact on your overall health. Neglecting any of the three aspects of health can impact the other two states.
Think of the health triangle as a structure. If the health triangle is balanced, the three sides are equal and the structure maintains a proper triangular form. However, when one of the sides becomes weakened, the overall structure becomes unstable. So when you neglect one aspect of the health triangle, that side becomes weakened.
Assess Your Health
Assess each of the aspects of your health triangle by answering Yes or No to each of the questions.
- I get seven to nine hours of sleep each night
- I eat a well-balanced diet, which includes a healthy breakfast
- I keep my body, teeth, and hair clean daily
- I do at least 30 minutes of some form of physical activity each day
- I avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
- I see a doctor and dentist for regular checkups
- I generally feel good about myself and accept who I am
- I can express my feelings clearly and calmly, even when angry or sad
- I accept constructive criticism
- I have at least one activity that I enjoy doing by myself
- I have awareness of my thoughts, emotions, and behavior
- I like to learn, think about new things and develop new skills
- I have at least one close friend that I keep in contact with regularly
- I show respect and care for my family and friends
- I know how to disagree with others without getting angry
- I am a good listener and able to communicate clearly with others
- I get support from others when I need it
- I say no if people ask me to do something I feel uncomfortable with
Count the total number of times you answered “Yes” for each aspect of the health triangle. This number represents your score for that aspect.
You can illustrate your health triangle based on the score. If you received a score of 5 for physical, draw a line up till 5 on the physical side. Repeat this for each side of the health triangle. Once all 3 lines have been drawn, draw a triangle connecting the end of each line to make the health triangle.
Reflect on your triangle and describe what your overall health looks like based on the results. Think about and comment on the following:
- Does your health triangle have equal sides?
- Is there one area you are strong in?
- Is there an area you need to improve on?
Once you have your health triangle and would like some support to improve it, feel free to get in touch and we will do what we can to help.