The key to happiness and health is….
……..Balance and Moderation!
It’s that time of the year again when people reflect back on their lives, and think forward as to how they can be more happy and, most of the time, healthier in their life’s.
There is however countless articles out there that claim they have the answer to these problems, and I’m sure some of them do, in part. But that is almost the problem these days. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough; it’s that we have too much! For a start there is too much advice out there to follow and it is constantly changing so can become confusing and overwhelming. One minute chocolate is bad for you, the next it’s good. Same for wine, fats, juice, exercise, and a hundred different things.
If we are taking the subject of happiness, we need to go back to basics and realise what happiness is. It’s a chemical/hormonal controlled emotion within the body. A trigger in the brain causes these chemicals to be released (Eg. Endorphins or Serotonin), these cause a series of effects that eventually reach and stimulate receptors making you feel good and happy. BUT, you CANNOT be permanently happy, this cannot be a continuous process, at some point they have to flow back the other way or get re-absorbed and dispersed out through the body leaving you with a ‘Down’. Now, the good thing is, if you have a healthy lifestyle, one of the factors of which is getting enough SLEEP at the right time, then this happens when you’re sleeping so you don’t feel this down so much. Hence why happiness and a generally healthy lifestyle go together.
Now, the other part as I mentioned earlier is Balance and moderation. For every good health fad out there you will find an article opposing it, most of the time these reports are created for some financial benefit towards one product or another.
You can be the prime example of health in the sense that you don’t Smoke, drink, do drugs, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise all the time, but if you’re stressed to the max and don’t take time out to relax you could still end up with a heart attack by the age of 40. If having that piece of chocolate or 1 glass of wine makes you happy and gives you a sense of well being then go for it, but just consider why you are doing what you’re about to do and ask yourself if it will really give you enjoyment, rather than doing it out of habit (it’s what you always do?) or social pressure (That’s what everyone else does?). They say it take’s 45days to break bad habits or form new good habits, an interesting point to bear in mind. I said earlier you can pretty much have a bit of anything you fancy, however, here’s where the important MODERATION bit comes into it. Anything in moderation is fine, but everything can be harmful in excess. Unfortunately us humans sometimes struggle with this concept. We always want more. A lot of people also have addictive personalities which doesn’t help matters, we get addicted to the ‘high’ of the previously mentioned chemicals from whatever it is we are gaining pleasure from. Also I’m sure we all know by now the unfortunately doing the same thing over and over again no long gives the positive effects it did in the beginning. You’re mind and body adapts and gets used to it, so the journey to health and happiness is a constantly changing one.
Just as an example; I know Juicing has been a big trend for a few years now, and yes, having a juice of mixed fruit and vegetables every day is a good way to get in those vital nutrients. However, if you are surviving on just 3 of these juices or shakes a day instead of proper meals, then no, it is not natural and certainly not healthy.
Exercise; I am a fitness instructor, it’s my life, it’s what I do. Movement of the body is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but, there is such a thing as too much exercise. You’re body can tire out and injure itself if you’re not careful. Unfortunately we live in a very competitive and consumeristic world, pressure to do more, have more, be the best. We don’t all have to be perfect; perfection in itself is a relative term. By all means, read the current ‘advice’, try the latest new concepts, but don’t think they will magically solve your problems and make you happy. A combination of small things with the aim of contentment may be your best line of focus? Some people of a spiritual nature seem to have found the key, but they are specific to say they have contentment, not happiness. They are 2 different, but not mutually exclusive emotions. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you one specific point that will bring you health and happiness, no one can, if they saw they can, they are lying.
So to recap:
– Everything is ok in moderation
– Find balance in your life, Work, family, ‘you time’ (and don’t feel guilty about it) Read, Run, Cook, Take up a new hobby… whatever suits you.
– Continuous happiness is an impossibility so don’t think you have failed if you are not always happy and positive, and don’t worry so much about what other people think. It’s YOUR life.
– Sleep well
– If all else fails, stick on your favourite song and dance like a crazy person around your bedroom for a while! 😉