Health and Happiness – Part 1

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. – World Health Organization, 1948

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields,
What the River Knows, 1990

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. – Chinese Proverb

If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. – Elbert Hubbard

I’ve been thinking a lot about health and it’s connection to happiness. Many of us take our health for granted. I believe that we truly underestimate its effect on our happiness. Its easier to not think about it if things are working okay.

True health comes from more than regular exercise and good diet. It really starts with a positive attitude and emotional state. That’s the secret foundation to good health and another tool to manage your level of overall happiness. Think about it, when you feel good you want to go and do something physical. You want to move around, get out of the house or enjoy nature. When you feel bad, you tend to eat poorly and lay on the couch. Your attitude is not positive and your energy level decreases.

You can exercise all you want but if you haven’t built the foundation with an inner positive outlook on yourself, your health and therefore your happiness will never be quite as good as it could be. But saying that, exercise (even small amounts) can have an incredibly positive effect on your mood. There have been many studies on this. Think about how well you feel after taking a brisk walk through your neighborhood or local park. Your body releases endorphins. Your blood flows more. Your body and mind have received a healthy dose of extra oxygen.

So, work on both. Cultivate a positive attitude and emotional outlook. Take periodic walks or some other form of regular (that’s the key) exercise. Together they will synergistically work to help increase your level of happiness.

Tomorrow I’ll touch on illness and its effect on happiness.

Have a great day!

Michael