In my own words, health is being physically and mentally capable to live life to the fullest and without being held back by a harmful condition. There are different stages of health, ranging from average health to superb health. I believe there are many factors that determine a persons health; some that can be changed by a persons actions and others that are genetic.

On the other hand, an illness is something that may hold you back in some type of physical or mental way. It interrupts your daily, weekly, or yearly plans. I also believe that, like health, there is a large range of illnesses. Some illnesses are treatable, while others are not.

When thinking about how I would define health and illness, I thought about my past experiences. My definitions of health and illness mostly come from how I was raised and my environment. Health is something that I have never taken for granted, and is something my family has always striven for. Everyday I try to eat healthy and exercise in order to improve/maintain my health. My experience as a pre-med student has also shaped how I define health. From volunteering in hospitals and shadowing doctors, I have heard a variety of people talk about health in different ways. Most of the professionals discuss bodily functions, hormone levels, etc. when evaluating a patients health.

I had a difficult time immediately trying to decide whether sadness was an illness or not. My first thought was that it was not an illness. Sadness is sadness. Everyone experiences it, and it can be gone in the blink of an eye. But then I realized that depression is an extreme form of sadness, and I believe that it is an illness. There is a large definition of sadness, which makes it difficult to assess. According to my definition I first stated, sadness could interrupt daily activities which would make it an illness.

I also had a difficult time trying to decide whether or not anxiety was an illness. I think I struggled to define anxiety because I hear the word tossed around a lot. I hear my friends say they have anxiety while watching a sporting event or while playing an intense card game. Anxiety is something that I believe is downplayed. When I think about it deeper, anxiety is something that can greatly affect a person. It can get in the way of simple tasks and can make someone feel scared of what’s next.


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