If you answered "absence of disease (primarily
physical)", you are not alone. By and large our society tends to think of
health in this way, but there are problems with this definition:
"healthy" people are chronically tired, stressed and worried.
Many others with chronic health problems (e.g. heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
high blood pressure) would be precluded from ever being considered "healthy".
New Definition of Health
We need a definition of health that potentially
includes all of us, regardless of our situation. Hitchcock et al define health
as "a state of well-being that is dependent on the nature of relationships
within the (body-mind-spirit and environment) system". Jesus simply called
it "abundant life".
Since we can't eliminate the problems, stress, worries and
health challenges of our lives, how can we achieve a state of "health"?
The key is learning how to manage our individual situations so that they don't
overwhelm us. Parish nursing is about helping individuals, families and groups
deal with life circumstances in ways that promote health.