The Health-Illness Continuum

  1. The health-illness continuum is an illustration of the process of change in the life of a human being where an individual experiences different fluctuating conditions of health and illness throughout their lives. It is a tool that emphasizes the reason as to why well-being does not only mean the absence of disease but also entails a person’s mental and emotional health (Payton, 2009). It draws the link between wellness paradigm and treatment paradigm. The tool is composed of two arrows joining at a neutral point and pointing in different directions.  As an individual move to the right of the instrument, it indicates an increase in, and it can be achieved in three steps, which include awareness, education, and growth. Conversely, a movement to the left indicates decreasing state of health and can be obtained through signs, symptoms, and disability. It is critical to consider the perspective of the health-illness continuum because it also contains the six components of personal health which include physical health, emotional health, spiritual health, mental health, environmental health, and social health.
  2. I can consider my well being as positively aligned to an extent with the following domains.  I experience more positive than negative affective states in life, I am relatively satisfied with my psychological and biological functioning rates, and I believe my material possessions and social relations are adequate enough for optimal functionality. Furthermore, I try to abide by the moral value and ethics that the society and I both consider upright. I believe my wealth-illness continuum is facing in the direction of a high level of health, which means I have a positive outlook.
  3. Options and available resources that help an individual to move toward wellness in the on the health-illness spectrum.
  • Observing physical health- Since no individual can be immune to all diseases, it is essential to prepare our bodies to be strong enough to fight infections (Winett et al., 2016). This can be done by employing prevention methods which include washing our hands, eating balanced diets, immunizations, doing exercise and health screenings. There are also natural factors that impact on our health such as age and our genetic make constitution, yet we have no control over them.
  • Observing emotional health- emotional health entails the ability to express feelings constructively. Keeping emotional health is usually useful to both the lives of the particular individual and that of the people around the individual. Since it is reasonable to encounter conflicts in the day to day life, it is realistic to imagine living a life where conflict can be managed in a manner that is beneficial to both parties. The main options, in this case, involve creating a peaceful and enabling environment.
  • Observing mental health- Just like physical and psychological health, it becomes a challenge to control activities that impact our life mentally. Since human beings encounter different needs at different times, which are insatiable, it is crucial that an individual learns how to control the demands in life and cop with the pressure. It also includes finding ways of managing stress in life.
  • Observing social wellness- Social wellness can be achieved through practicing self-care which involves basic needs such as getting adequate sleep, bathing and maintaining dental care, eating well, and avoiding negative habits that may be harmful to an individual’s health such as smoking or excessive drinking (Winett et al., 2016) .  Social wellness can also be achieved through knowing an individual’s self, values and preferences, fulfilling your role in every relationship and minding of commitments made and observing them. Moreover, an individual should minimize blame games, criticizing and judging of others and instead nurture relationships with respectful, supportive and positive people. An individual should also learn to appreciate themselves and other people too.
  • Promoting environmental health- A healthy environment can be achieved through ensuring the safety and security of an individual’s surrounding and thus creating physical comfort, cutting the clutter, delight your senses by finding things that you like seeing in the surrounding and ensuring their presence, and avoiding chaotic environments. Other methods include identifying a healing space within your environment, avoiding too much noise in your backyard, and planting trees. Some people prefer embracing nature since it helps them to control stress and increase pleasant feelings.
  • Maintaining spiritual health- Spiritual wellness is arguably the most personal component of the puzzle when trying collecting the dimensions of wellness together.   It can be achieved in several ways, which include exploring an individual’s spiritual core whereby individuals ask questions intending to find out who they are and their meaning. An individual can also observe physical health by expressing their ideas and thoughts in real life to maintain a focused life.  Experts also advise individuals pursuing spiritual health to try yoga, which is a technique that reduces emotional and physical strains in a person’s mind and body. Traveling to places with fewer mind distractions is also a perfect way of improving spiritual wellness since it allows an individual to clear any stress and re-establish a connection with themselves. Besides an individual may set time to think positively, talk to a counselor, meditate, or take a temporary vow of silence.  


Payton, A. R. (2009). Mental health, mental illness, and psychological distress: same continuum or distinct phenomena?. Journal of health and Social Behavior, 50(2), 213-227.Winett, L. B., Wulf, A. B., & Wallack, L. (2016). Framing Strategies to Avoid Mother-Blame in Communicating the Origins of Chronic Disease. American Journal of Public Health, 106(8), 1369–1373.

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