As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to establish new goals for ourselves. When choosing a resolution to benefit or improve your health, it is recommended you keep the health triangle in mind. The World Health Organization (WHO)1 defines health as the balance of mental, physical and social health, also known as the health triangle. Having a good balance in all three areas is essential to living a healthy lifestyle.
Below, Dr. Sally Salman, Internal Medicine, outlines components of the health triangle to help you determine what your health resolutions should focus on in the new year.
Almost everyone experiences anxiety and stress at some point in their life. How you handle and cope with tough situations or setbacks can determine whether you need to focus on this component of the health triangle. Mental health can impact your physical and social health as it can cause anti-social behaviors and extreme feelings of fatigue. You may choose to seek professional help when faced with stress and anxiety or simply when you need support when dealing with your feelings and emotions.
Mental health resolutions can include:
- Scheduling regular therapy or counseling appointments
- Starting a gratitude journal
- Practicing mindfulness when faced with anxiety
- Finding a hobby that helps ease your anxiety (exercising, painting, etc.)
Maintaining good physical health includes attending yearly wellness checkups and screenings. Ensuring you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and maintaining a healthy body weight are a few ways medical professionals can evaluate your physical health.
Physical health resolutions can include:
- Attending a workout classes or participating in exercise regularly
- Limiting alcohol to one to two drinks a week
- Adding one more serving of vegetables to your diet each day
- Scheduling appointments for all your health checkups, screenings and vaccines needed throughout the new year
Your social health is determined by your comfort-level when faced with social situations. Socially healthy people feel comfortable joining in on conversation and can adapt to new situations when faced with changes. Your ability to make new friends as well as maintain friendships are also significantly important to good social health.
Social health resolutions can include:
- Volunteering once a month at the organization of your choice
- Making small talk with your neighbor whenever you see them
- Meeting someone new once a month
- Calling a friend once a week
Before choosing a health-related resolution, check in with or seek advice from your medical professional.
To learn more about how to be the healthiest version of yourself for the new year, schedule an appointment with one of our family medicine physicians or our mental health professionals at dupagemedicalgroup.com/schedule.