Self-Care Pillar 1: Knowledge and Health Literacy
3 min read
Did you know that by brushing your teeth you can decrease the risk of some forms of heart disease?
Or that meditation decreases blood pressure and lengthens your attention span?
How about moving every 30 minutes may help you live longer?
When I come across something I didn't previously know and is proven to have huge health benefits, I always say "Why didn't I know this before?? Why didn't someone tell me?!"
Which leaves me pondering: How can I have access to information that is beneficial to my health?
Well, it's my responsibility to keep up to date, stay curious and constantly search for credible information on staying healthy.
According to the International Self-Care Foundation, Pillar 1 is:
"The theoretical knowledge and understanding of health, disease, and self-care. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health literacy as representing “The cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways to promote and maintain good health.”
By understanding the information provided to us either by a health care professional (physical or mental) or by being curious and doing research on our own, we're more likely to engage in behaviors that promote overall wellness.
The level of our health potential is directly related to the information we have available.
Lack of knowledge limits our access to behaviors that prove to be beneficial.
If we aren't aware of the hazards of poor health choices, or what those are, we're more likely to engage in those behaviors and not even know we're causing ourselves harm.
Most importantly though is staying engaged with our own level of well-being and always being mindful about what our needs are at any given moment.
Here are some examples of health literacy:
Being aware of major diseases and how they can be avoided
Knowing when you need to do essential screenings at various ages
Understanding how medicines work and when it's time to seek a physical or mental health professional
Staying curious about physical or mental health information by researching and asking questions
Being open to exploring self-care practices and using them effectively