I view health as a balance in the body and as a peace of mind. A harmony between mind and body must be achieved to be in an optimal state of health. On the other hand, I view illness as any ailment of the body. This ranges from vitamin deficiencies to negative self-talk to disease to anxiety. Illness to me is a broad “umbrella” term under which many biological and psychological ailments reside. The criteria off of which I base my definitions is from personal experience.
Society, media, family, and school all play into this personal experience. For example, a friend in high school introduced the practice of yoga to me. Since I’ve started practicing years ago, yoga has gained popularity in the media. This practice focuses on a healthy mind, body, and spirit, and the popularity gained through media has had positive impacts on the lives that it touches. Furthermore, health is emphasized in society. Outlets of health exist from hospitals to gyms. The fact that so many exist demonstrates its place in society. Ultimately, the criteria for which my definitions of health and illness are based off of come from personal experience, which recognition given to society, media, school, friends, family, etc.
Like many of you, I do not view shyness as an illness. Shyness is merely a behavioral characteristic and not a cause of ill health. Another interesting condition is menstruation. Menstruation is a normal process for healthy women, although its symptoms may be unpleasant at times. Because a women experiences cramps or any other affect of the menstrual cycle, I do not consider the process itself as an illness. I would even argue that the absence of menstruation might be the sign of illness, like a vitamin deficiency or a symptom of the female athlete triad.