April 7: World Health Day


The World Health Day has been celebrated every year on the 7th of April since 1950. The date was decided by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the first World Health Assembly held in 1948. The WHO celebrates every World health day with a theme, the current theme being ‘Universal Health Scheme’.

As a Neurosurgeon, it is my endeavor to create awareness regarding health and healthy living. In our fast paced life in 21st Century, Health has definitely taken a back seat. We have forgotten to spend time with ourselves, for ourselves. While we are pre-occupied with struggles of life and invariably ignore our health, we live in a world where we are made to believe that health can be sold! There are numerous advertisements in Market regarding quick access with absolute success towards healthy living, say it weight loss or in achieving 6 pack abs. Before we try to achieve it, we need to understand what is Health? Is slim figure or a 6 pack abdomen a measure of healthy living? What is physiological (in other words – being normal)?

WHO defines health as ‘State of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ It is very important for us to understand the above definition in entirety. Though the world is obsessed with physical appearance of the body, we seldom include mental and social well being. In my earlier blog I had addressed Mental health, as a campaign for World Mental health day. In the current scenario, it is difficult to define social well being. Is being active on social media – a measure of social well being, or good interpersonal relationships in real and physical life (unlike virtual world of social media)?

Physical Well being

This decade has seen a lot of youngsters (irrespective of chronological age) hit the treadmill or the track and participate in marathon. It is a welcome change in our ever sedentary life style. The interest in Yoga and posture maintenance has been resurrected in the minds of people. Deep breathing exercises are a part of such physical activities, which are priceless addition to our healthy life. Apart from physical activities, our current generation are also becoming diet conscious, and know what, when and how-much to eat.  This awareness has been initiated at a very early age from schools itself. Physical activity, breathing exercises and a balanced diet are three cardinal parameters contributing to physical health.

Mental well being

From bullying in school to mental tension at work! we hardly realize the impact of mental trauma that we undergo in every day life. In big cities, even travel and commute can be adventurous, contributing to significant mental tension. The incidence of ‘Depression’ has increased several folds in current era, and hasn’t spared any community, gender, age or socio-economic status. It has become an epidemic. A major reason being our patience and tolerance has decreased significantly over years. We just cannot accept defeat or ‘let it go’. Apart from this, there exists an ever increasing gap between our expectations and performance! Our wants and needs!

Social well being

The extent of the sense of belonging and social inclusion is measure of social well being. Humans are social beings and live in society. Our lifestyles, ways of living together, traditions and beliefs are all important to our social well being. The fundamental requirement for such healthy living is Communication. The current times has allowed us to communicate with people across the globe in a fraction of second. Apps such as skype and face time has made live video communication a reality! If we are to compare the present time with couple of decades ago – the era of telegram and age of postal letters, people used to wait for days to weeks/months to hear from their dear ones. Despite the technological advancement, today we live an era of social isolation, of-course hooked on to our smart gadgets during most of our available time. Through our smart phones and apps, we connect with strangers across the globe, but don’t spend time to know our neighbours! The harsh reality of 21st century.

To stay healthy, one has to give equal importance in keeping physical fitness, staying mentally happy and have a sense of social wellness connected well with our society. Let us celebrate ‘Wellness’ as World health day, rather than mere absence of disease or infirmity.

26 thoughts on “April 7: World Health Day

  1. Vaidya

    Though we all feel we are aware of the points you have raised on all 3 aspects, little do we endeavour to put it to actual practice. A piece of writing like this only sends us into introspection and urges we practice what we are aware of. Thank you.


  2. Bhanuamathi Saikumar

    This article will be translated to Kannada for the benefit of our factory employees . The previous article of yours has reached all our workers in Kannada
    Well done and well said 👍🏻


  3. karan

    Very well said…deep dive into three aspects highlighted with respect to their relations/interdependence on each would give insights to how remain healthy and happy


  4. Kranthi

    Good effort in spreading the awareness about the World Health Day Dr.Murali. Amidst your hectic schedules you are trying your best to educate the society.

    The 3 aspects of Health have been brought out so well. This generation is very social on media but are not socially well. We have all the time under the sun to comment or click likes on Facebook or even write our experiences on a blog and feel good about the comments we receive. We don’t make the time to spend with our kith and kin that is because phones are at our disposal and that’s the easiest way to be so called keeping in touch.

    In stress or anxiety when people are asked to exercise or do mindful breathing, they look at you as if you are from a different planet. Unless we achieve wellness at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level we don’t achieve Health…

    Spiritual doesn’t mean meditation and Godly duties always, spiritual means introspection and reflection. We are scared not only to think for ourselves, about The Self but infact we can’t imagine reflecting about ourselves. Reflection is something we must practice because our Asian society is not used to it. We are so used to being busy every minute, we don’t like to take the moment of stillness to understand the inner engineering.

    I’m very glad you are trying your best to enlighten the very educated but an unlearned lot.
    Keep the momentum going Doctor, Definitely a noble selfless act.


  5. Gayatri P

    Very well written article Dr. Murali. Beyond doubt, the mind, in other words, the thought processes have a dominant impact on the health and well being. We have all seen people with positive approach to life, generally stay healthy.

    Congratulations Dr. Murali. Keep up the good work.


  6. Reshma

    Very Well narrated Murali,
    Beyond doubt, the dimensions of wellness u mentioned have a greater impact on an individuals overall wellbeing & inner peace,

    Keep up the good work 👍


  7. Pragati Malligaraj

    Thank you sir for reiterating the concept of holistic wellness with such clarity and precision. It is more relevant in today’s world than ever, and coming from a neurosurgeon of your repute validates its significance beyond doubt. Good luck sir!


  8. Pradeep Jain

    So beautifully brought out and so important for our inner peace. Time people realised the importance of all these points and start living .
    Great article Dr.Murali and thanks for sharing your thoughts .


  9. Ranganath

    Very well written Murali. Hope we all try to follow them & also teach our kids abt these dimensions of well being which is very much needed in this era of competition & struggle to be in the top spot always, where social & family values are at their worst status. Learning to accept harsh realities of life & trying to be self content in all these dimensions is the real wellbeing . Continue with such endeavours


  10. Sam jayavelan

    I truly enjoy reading your articles especially when you slowly connect the dots until the full picture emerges. Your blogs make one pause and reflect, a much needed activity in our fast paced life :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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