What is the Health Triangle?

What is the health triangle?

The health triangle (also called the “wellness triangle”) is a simple visual that represents the overall state of your social, physical and mental health. Read on to learn why it matters and how to keep the sides in balance.

The three sides of the health triangle

The health triangle’s three sides represent your mental, physical and social health. No side is more important than any other, every aspect affects the rest and they’re all important for a healthy lifestyle. 

Here are some common ways they interact:

Mental → physical: decreases or increases the stress hormone called cortisol, affects how you approach physical activity and physical self-care

Mental → social: impacts the health and quality of relationships, encourages social interaction or isolation

Physical → mental: produces or reduce motivation, clears the mind or creates brain fog

Physical → social: affects the ability to leave home and take part in activities

Social → physical: can improve cardiovascular health, can improve the functioning of the brain

Social → mental: the health of relationships impact mental health, can encourage a sense of belonging and help you feel safe, can improve cognition

Why mental, physical and social health are key 

Since everything is so connected, experts recommend keeping all three sides of the triangle in balance. Do your best – but remember, perfection isn’t a possibility. 

The global pandemic is a great example. Out of nowhere, new social and mental health challenges entered our realities as we tried to protect our physical health. Mental and social health suffered. And while there were things that could be done to mitigate the effects, the pandemic was powerful enough to burn us all out regardless of our efforts. 

How to balance every aspect of your health 

  • Physical, Mental, Social (if shared): Start practicing a new, feel-good ritual. 
  • Physical, Mental: Exercise regularly and eat a healthier diet.
  • Mental: Keep gratitude top of mind. 
  • Social: Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Social, Mental: Speak to someone when you’re having a hard time.
  • Mental: Read, do puzzles or find other ways to challenge your mind. 
  • Mental: Find time to relax every day and try to unplug on weekends.

The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Sounds like a plan!