An Overview of Health and Spirituality
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an awareness of the self-fulfillment of human health with the assurance of the capacity to provide goods and services that enhance health, life and quality of life”. A number of definitions have also been applied for different purposes over the years. What we mean by “healthy” is subject to individual assessment.
The need for a comprehensive approach to health promotion and maintenance is evident in the fact that there has been a radical decline in life expectancy over the past two decades. This graph of life expectancy was achieved through efforts in various sectors such as public health, civil society, education and lifestyle, all of which were designed to achieve well-being as well as quality of life. Although there is a perception that there is a decline in the quality of life across all domains of life, there has actually been a steady increase in the quality of life, particularly in terms of health promotion and maintenance. It is believed that the changes in public attitudes and views on health promotion and maintenance led to a decrease in the quality of life.
Health promotion is an important concept, which has been incorporated into many policy frameworks. The Global Burden of Disease Study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) projected that in the next 25 years the number of deaths due to diseases could increase by alarming rates. To arrest this trend, the WHO developed the strategy known as “Global Health Promotion and Maintenance” or “Hepad”. This strategy calls for the expansion of current public health programmes as well as the extension of those already in existence. As part of this effort, the WHO developed a new definition of health that was agreed by all member states in 2021: a total well-being of the person, his family, friends and community. much a definition of health as it is a description of what a healthy life should be. It emphasizes the value of health in terms of reducing the burden of disease, disability and mortality. The idea behind this concept is that health is a sum of several values, each of which is influenced by individual decisions, actions and circumstances. For example, a healthy individual would take care of his body, mind and spirit in order to live a full life. The value of healthy living therefore encompasses several aspects of an individual’s life. These include his physical health, mental health, social well-being and emotional health.
A healthy society would, in addition, be able to provide the necessary conditions for an individual to be able to lead a healthy lifestyle. In other words, the quality of life of the individual would be reflected in his society. The society as a whole would be healthy and its members would also enjoy a sense of community and belongingness. It should be noted, however, that this notion of a healthy society has much work to do with governmental policy and programs and is not an independent principle.
There is some evidence that suggests that having an individual religious faith and being raised in it have positive effects on the health of an individual. Religious involvement and beliefs can also act as a protective shield against unhealthy lifestyles and behaviours. There are many theories on the relationship between spirituality and health, and numerous studies have been conducted over the years. However, there is no clear consensus on the issue.