By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Live a happy life, live a healthy life
Happiness is a state of mind characterized by contentment, joy, pleasure and hope.
Health is a condition in which all functions of the body and mind are normally active.
The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Who determines well-being, the health professional or the individual? Many persons enjoy a state of well-being even though they might be classed as unhealthy by others.
We’ve all heard that the body needs to be in balance to be healthy. But, what exactly does this mean?
Health encompasses physical, mental and spiritual components. When we think about the physical components we think about the body or material things. Mental on the other hand relates to the mind.
Based upon the assumption that man is a spiritual being living in a spiritual universe, he may control his body and maintain the material elements in harmony with a divine plan.
Although spirituality is being attacked from all directions in our schools, civil rights groups, etc., research has shown that people who practice spirituality live longer, according to “Super Immunity” by Dr. Paul Piersall.
When we measure happiness, one must ask “Am I in harmony with myself?”
Are you practicing your personal values? What about Self-Direction?
There are consequences of disharmony.
Individual consequences of compromising one’s values results in behavior conflict:
- Violation of values leads to guilt.
Repeated violations of values leads to shame.
Shame results in depression and then anger.
Chronic depression results in disease of the cell (brain cells actually die from prolonged depression).
Chronic anger leads to diseases of the heart.
When we are in harmony with our environment we are in harmony with our spouse, family and community. Conflict is a part of every day life. However, t here is a difference between healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict.
Love and intimacy is an important factor of happiness
Research has shown over and over again that orphans who received little if any touch by their caregivers during infancy failed to grow adequately and often died.
Monkeys who were placed in a cage with a wire mom that provided food, chose the terry cloth mom that had no food because it was softer and easier to cuddle.
Growth is the culmination of physical, mental and spiritual harmony throughout our life cycle. Life is a challenge. There are no achievements without challenge – stress precedes strength, and adversity builds character.
Set your goals and go after them. It’s all in how we deal with stress. Stress management is available everywhere right now.
We have the options of yoga, Chi Gung, tai chi, pilates, bio-feedback, massage, etc.
Exercise is a necessary part of life and a great stress management tool. These modalities result in stronger and more toned bodies not to mention stress relief.
Don’t forget humor
Smiling and laughter results in health.
For 30 days watch comedies, see funny things, and laugh more often. You’ll be surprised.
Service to the community is another way of experiencing happiness and self-fulfillment. Give yourself to others. Focus on those who have greater needs than you. Getting out of oneself and focusing on others is healing in and of itself.
Keep a positive perspective
Do you like to hang out with negative people? We see what we look for.
Maintain faith (Beyond your life) in God and spirit.
From a holistic perspective, The time to be happy is NOW!!! Live each day as if it is your last.
This article was originally published September 22, 2003 in The St. Tammany News.