Posted 27 March 2014
It is probably a lot easier to define illnesses and diseases than to define health. One way of defining health is to see it as a state of optimal wellness of the body, soul (mind) and spirit. The World Health Organization ( WHO) defines health as a complete state of physical, mental , social and spiritual well being of the individual and not merely absence of a disease or infirmity. This takes into account the functionality of the the person not mere absence of symptoms.
Spiritually and scientifically, man exists in three broad categories of body, soul (mind) and spirit ( 1 Thessolonians 5:23
). According to the Book of Job: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding”(Job 32:8).Social scientists and humanists are in agreement that man has a body, mind, and spirit. According Frankl “Man lives in three dimensions: the somatic, the mental, and spiritual. The spiritual dimension cannot be ignored, for it is what makes us human” (Victor Frankl, 1973).
Increasing Understanding of these three broad existence of man will help man in optimising his health on a daily basis. There is little doubt that many people are ignorant of their spiritual health . Physical health and diseases are well appreciated. Mental health and illness are also reasonably studied and appreciated. However, there are paucity of information and knowledge about spiritual health and illness. Most knowledgeable people will agree that the spirit realm controls the physical and the mental realms.
Abasi Health Foundation emerged to create awareness and understanding on the need to draw a balance between physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Optimising these three levels of health is vital to successful and joyful living.
Sustaining good physical health requires regular good exercise, good diet, avoiding socially and legally acceptable mind altering substances, or if you can’t avoid them, using them in moderation (cigarettes, caffeine & Alcohol) . Use decaffeinated coffee or tea as excess caffeine is a well recognised cause of tension and emotional disturbance and can contribute to anxiety & distressing thoughts. Reduce or stop cigarettes smoking if you can. Regularly check your Blood Pressure , weight and BMI with your General Practitioner (GP). Be conscious of your diet. Eat a lot of vegetables , fruits and drink enough fluid daily. Quite a number of people do not pay attention to their Body Mass Index(BMI). The normal range is between 18-25. Below 18 is seen as underweight or Anorexia if severe. Above 25 is seen as overweight or obesity if severe, usually from BMI of 30 and above.
Mental Health (MH)
Maintaining mental health stability requires paying attention to your
thoughts, emotions (feelings), imaginations, perceptions, beliefs and interpretation of events around you . With the help of Thought & Mood diary, learn to increasingly challenge & resist unhealthy thoughts, imaginations &
beliefs. Talking about your problems (Talking Therapy), is a recognised way of resolving problems. Do not ‘bottle up’ distressing thoughts & feelings; speak to someone you can trust. This helps to reduce tension, anxiety, low mood, anger , frustration and aggressive feelings., Learn to promote and master RELAXATION. There are many different methods and techniques. Find out which ones suit you best. If you can write, keep a DIARY of your Thoughts, Mood (emotions or feelings), and significant daily events. Constantly challenge, question and resist unhealthy thoughts eg ‘nothing will change’ or ‘ I am never going to get better’. Do not focus your thoughts and mind on your problems or challenges. Focus on your future and have a positive mind set and attitude no matter how dark your circumstances may appear. Learn to persist and persevere in doing the right things. Start DOING the right things, rather than ‘think’ about them. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Activities of Daily Living (ADL):
I encourage you to have a flexible structure to your 7 days a week, with regard to Activities of Daily Living (ADL). How you spend every One Hour of your Time is very important. Fill up your week with positive activities in order to keep your thoughts & mind occupied. Consider spending one day per week in the local library and make use of the computer & internet to empower yourself with self -help information on relaxation and stress management. Start off going for short walks regularly, and gradually increase the duration. Consider going for swimming and later joining
the gym if you can.
Spiritual Health (SH)
Even if you are not interested in spirituality or you are not sure if you do, the truth remains that you have a spirit. Human thoughts, confessions, behaviour and interactions with family, groups and community are driven by the spirit being. Actually, spirituality is about knowledge. You do not have to be ‘religious’ about it at all, unless if you choose to. Knowing how to nourish your ‘spirit man’ would be of immense benefit to you. In spirituality, your thoughts are very important. If you can learn to keep your thoughts and mind positive and healthy, then you will begin to have good feelings and life satisfaction.
However, like every thing in life, you have to be very careful, where you seek spiritual help so that you do not go to where your problems could be made worse. Speaking to someone with spiritual knowledge can be helpful but how do you identify a person with true spiritual knowledge. You can ask you doctor to direct you though if you do not belonged to an organised faith, the doctor may not know how to direct you.
Spiritual Health helps to address the issues of truth, meaning, purpose, and add value to your life. Spiritual health awareness has been noted to significantly correlate with higher self -esteem, well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, self confidence, resilience, perseverance and life satisfaction. It helps to make sense of difficult situations. It is now increasingly being appreciated that both physical and mental illnesses have spiritual dimension which may need to be considered and evaluated. Everyone is special with a hidden talent.
Useful Health Information
Borderline Counselling,(Private charity counselling), self referral
SAMARITANS (Provide 24 hours Emotional support): tel:
Alcoholic Anonymous tel: +441904 644026
or email gso@alcoholics-anonymous
Dr Ben Bassey is a licensed psychiatrist in the UK and in Nigeria. He is the Director of Abasi Health Foundation and the Founder, the Ministry of the Word. He is also a spiritual health Counsellor.
I encourage you to access & empower yourself with self-help information on anxiety, depression, anger & stress management, as well as relaxation at NHS Choice and other useful self -help websites: