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In order to live a healthy life, and lead fulfilling relationships, we must balance the three central components of human experience: the Physical, Mental, and Emotional (sometimes referred to as spiritual). We must pursue activities that contribute to growth in all three areas, and let go of anything that doesn’t contribute, or that contributes negatively, to these categories.

As they are very closely linked, one area can be overlooked, or blurred. Of course, nothing can ever be perfectly balanced (100% isn’t even divisible by 3). But striving for well-being in all three different domains is the only path to overarching happiness.

PHYSICAL

Physical health pertains to the body and the tangible sensory experience. These are the material and substantial wants and needs. A lack of physical health leads to sickness, such as the flu, strep throat, or more seriously, cancer, diabetes, STIs, etc.

Individual tips to improve physical health include exercise (any sport, dance, or movement), a balanced diet, and good sleep. Having the base material resources needed (clothing, shelter, etc.) is also a matter of physical health, therefore this includes activities such as shopping or cooking.

In social contexts, physical health can be improved by group work-outs (collective dance, running groups, yoga, etc.) and gestures such as hugging and smiling.

MENTAL
Mental health pertains to the mind and the academic and educational experience. Lack of mental stimulation causes ignorance and boredom.

Individual activities to improve mental health include reading (diversely and richly), writing, blogging, listening to music, watching thought-provoking videos/ films, playing interactive games, doing puzzles or research, traveling, and reflecting.

In social contexts, mental stimulation comes from school, lively debate, and progressive conversation.

EMOTIONAL
Emotional health pertains to the soul and the intangible sensory experience. Lack of emotional stability can result in illnesses such as depression or eating disorders.

Individual activities to improve emotional health are entirely subjective. However, they may include reading or watching movies/shows for pleasure, pursuing artistic hobbies (crafts, writing, painting, etc.), or pursuing any personal interests that invoke happiness.

In social contexts, emotional fulfillment comes from spending time with friends and family. The manner of time spent depends a great deal on preference, and therefore varies greatly.

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS: THE PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND EMOTIONAL

In a romantic relationship, physicality is characterized by non-sexual interaction (holding hands, casual kisses, hugs, etc.), as well as sexual.
Physical cheating (in a monogamous relationship) is when these gestures are shared with a third party.

The mental aspect is characterized by conversation. Daily catch-up conversations are one part, but lengthy intelligent conversations are what count most.

In a romantic relationship, the emotional aspect is characterized by expression of love. This (ideally) includes sex and non-sexual quality time, giving presents, and verbal proofs of love (terms of endearment, saying “I love you”, giving compliments, reassurance, etc.).
Emotional cheating (in a monogamous relationship) is when your partner is not your principal source of emotional fulfillment, and/or they are not the one that you invest yourself most in (in terms of time, effort, love/care, conversation, trust, etc.).

Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love

The Triangular Theory of Love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg (shown above) roughly depicts the roles these three components play in interpersonal relationships.

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