Unlocking Wellness: Navigating the 3 Pillars of the Health Triangle by Darlene Marshall
Are you someone who struggles with balancing your well-being? With all the health and wellness information available it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, unsure how to spend your time, energy, and resources to craft a well-balanced wellness practice.
The health triangle is a framework and visualization tool to help you understand the three key aspects of overall well-being: physical, mental, and social health. Each of these areas is interconnected and plays an important role in achieving balance.
WHAT IS THE HEALTH TRIANGLE?
Initially created as a school project and embraced by the World Health Organization, the Health Triangle is a tool for understanding and balancing your own unique well-being. While most of us are familiar with physical and mental health, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to spend our time and energy.
Further, social health is an often-overlooked aspect of wellness. By embracing and understanding the health triangle you can use this visualization and self-assessment tool to get a better understanding of your own areas of opportunity.
One benefit of the Health Triangle is the recognition that separation between the aspects of wellness is a misleading myth. In fact, your physical, mental, and social well-being are interconnected, and each have an impact on one another. The balance between these 3 aspects is paramount to your longevity and satisfaction with life.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL HEALTH?
Physical health is likely the aspect of the health triangle you find most familiar. Physical health refers to the state of the body and its ability to thrive in everyday life. This aspect of the triangle includes nutrition, exercise, sleep, and the absence of disease. Our physical health impacts mood, vitality, physical capability, and overall quality of life.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
Mental health is another commonly known aspect of well-being. In the case of the health triangle, it refers to your emotional and psychological well-being and includes the balance of negative and positive emotions, your relationship to yourself, how you tolerate and manage stress, and your resilience to life’s challenges. While many people conceive of mental health as the absence of mental health issues, the field of Positive Psychology has added tools and ideas of mental fitness and the positive sides of life.
WHAT IS SOCIAL HEALTH?
Social health relates to the quality of your relationships and interactions with others and is an often-overlooked aspect of well-being. Human beings are social, and we require a support network and shared beliefs to be well. This aspect of the health triangle includes communication skills, support, the feeling of belonging, and the sense that each of us matters. Dr Isaac Prilleltensky at the University of Miami refers to as “being valued and adding value.”
WHY IS THE HEALTH TRIANGLE IMPORTANT?
The health triangle is a tool to help you gauge the balance of your overall health. As an equilateral triangle, with equal sides, it represents the equally important aspects of health and well-being. Many of us have been taught to prioritize our physical health but may not be considering our mental or social aspects as important.
Or, some people may prioritize friends and community contributions, so neglect sleep and exercise. By taking the time to assess the balance of your own health triangle you can address the areas of your well-being you may otherwise neglect.