What is positive health? Is it complete physical health, complete mental health, or both?
If one is not ill, he is well. Not according to the World Health Organization’s Preamble which states:
“Health is a state of complete positive physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Margin E.P. Seligman breaks down this argument in “Positive Health.” While applauding the works of psychology and psychiatry in terms of research and solutions for treating depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. Seligman notes that after these disorders are addressed, positive mental health does not naturally ensue.
Personal case in point: Back in the 90s, I was independent, in college and trying to cover the chaos that was my childhood by controlling food. I was closing in on 100 lbs and eating no more than an apple a day some days. My ribs were poking out my back, my hair was falling out, and I couldn’t stop crying.
My mom booked an ‘emergency’ trip to the psychologist where I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. The doctor prescribed a 12-week outpatient program that consisted of weekly group meetings. Our group was quite the motley crew of disordered eating. At one point, one lady who was obese and struggling with OE (over eating) chastised the anorexics in the group for bemoaning our inability to eat.
Still I attended every group and did my homework: Eat. I passed the program which pleased everyone so they could stop worrying about me. I was sent back to school feeling no more equipped or supported – and fatter than ever.
After these disorders are addressed, positive mental health does not naturally ensue.
Perhaps you’re facing a diagnosis, i.e diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or maybe you’re simply struggling to start exercising or finding the motivation to make a career change. If you need a plan and a way to stick with it, you don't have to go it alone. I am happy to help.
 Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946). Official Records of the World Health Organization, 2, 100.
 Seligman, M.E. (2008). Positive health. International Association of Applied Psychology, 57, 3-18.