Matter, Meet, Mind

Balancing your Health Triangle

Health is the measure of our body’s efficiency and overall well-being. The health triangle is a measure of the different aspects of health and includes physical, social, and mental health. Created in 1997 as a project for an Alaska Middle School, the Health Triangle creators used an equilateral triangle to represent these aspects of health. Because all sides of this types of triangle are equal, it stresses the equal importance of each of these aspects. Devoting more attention to one particular side, while neglecting the others, can lead to health imbalances.

This blog is divided into the 3 sides of the health triangle and all posts will be categorized as such:

mind (mental health), 
matter (physical health) and
meet (social health).

Matter: Physical Health

  • Deals with the body’s ability to function
  • Includes exercise, nutrition, sleep, alcohol & drugs, and weight management
  • Proper balance results in more energy, maintaining a healthy weight, increased confidence & self esteem, and decreases risk of certain chronic diseases
colorful vegetables and salad

Mind: Mental Health

  • Deals with how we think, feel and cope with daily life.
  • Includes learning, stress management, and mental illnesses or disorders.
  • Proper balance increases self-confidence, awareness, and self perception. It also deals with the way our bodies and minds deal with life changes and decrease risk for anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses.

Meet: Social Health

  • Deals with the way react with people within our environment.
  • Includes public health, family relationships, and peer relationships.
  • Supportive, loving relationships help eliminate stress, increase happiness and self-esteem, and help celebrate accomplishments, promoting a safe environment.
friends laughing on a hike

Reflection:

The three components are dependent on one another. For example, someone who stays out late socializing might not be getting enough sleep. Someone strict about exercise might neglect other aspects of life in order to not miss a workout or a meticulous dieter may avoid going out to dinner because of their self-imposed rules.

It’s important to reflect on your own balance. Use the below Health Inventory tool as a means of evaluating and possibly changing your habits. Do you have excellent physical health, but inadequate social health? This can lead to loneliness, which might eventually compromise mental health. Consider joining a gym and fitness class to meet new workout buddies. Connect with a like-minded group on social media. Your support system can help you adhere to healthy habits.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

Now What?

Want to take it a step further? Think of 5 of your favorite activities (hobbies, interests) and then reflect on what impact each one has on each side of your health triangle, positive or negative. For example, yoga: builds core strength and flexibility (physical), relaxes and reduces stress (mental), and you meet friends there (social). Sounds great on all sides…so make that interest a priority in the coming month!

Let’s not beat ourselves up on where we’ve been or where we are on this journey. Let’s stop letting insecurities tell us who we ought to be and let our future shape us into who we were made to be. 

I encourage you to start your journey by setting goals, practicing behaviors that achieve those goals and getting support to do so, and reflecting on what helps or hinders you achieving personal wellbeing. You’re worthy…now let’s get healthy!

Sources:

https://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/health/healthsmartva/gr9/gr9-hp-19-health-triangle.pptx#:~:text=The%20health%20triangle%20is%20a,%2C%20Social%2C%20and%20Mental%20Health.

https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/the-health-triangle-mental-social-physical-definitons-12180709.html