Just like peas & carrots or love & loyalty, health and happiness make a solid couple. While you can have one without the other, the two are more powerful when served up together – they strengthen, support, and amplify one another. Better health boosts our chances at greater happiness; a life of love & joy make it profoundly easier to find the motivation to focus on our health. And when they join forces, they open up a path of light and contentment that, arguably, all of us are searching for.
The thorn of this philosophical rose is that neither of these things – health or happiness – are exclusively in our control. Our health can be wrecked by diseases, genes, accidents and harm. We can get in a car accident, fall of a roof, or contract some crazy virus/illness that makes health in any sense a lofty goal. On the flip side, happiness is inherently elusive. Regardless of how much we chase it, depression, loss, or just general circumstance can allow it to slip out of our grasp at any point in time.
The beauty of this concept, however, is that we can focus on what we’re lacking – or what’s more in our control – and work to change it. If we suffer from injury or disease, we can shift our focus to building a better mental outlook, defining emotional boundaries, and making physical changes in diet and (if possible) exercise that could boost our shot at a happier life. If we have happiness in some areas of our life, we can focus on our physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual health, depending on what we need most. There are those of us that are physically healthy but struggle in other areas.
It’s crucial to remember that health is not only defined in the physical sense. While feeling and looking great physically do contribute to a better mood and confidence, our emotional, mental and spiritual health are equally important to our overall wellbeing. Just like working out and eating right, there are lots of avenues to improve our health to craft a well-rounded sense of jubilance and joy.
Personally, a focus on my physical health has been profoundly effective therapy. As I’ve become leaner, faster, and stronger, I’ve noticed a plethora of positive changes in other areas of my life. I can run farther, but I’m also writing more. I’m doing my poetry and getting into freelance work, which mean the world to me. I’ve built a better relationship with my family, chosen more positive and supportive friends, and worked through a lot of emotional issues I’ve dealt with over the past year. I don’t just look better; I feel better. And the voice in my head has shifted from, oh well, who cares? F*ck it. to things are going so well, I’ve worked so hard, I feel so good – I don’t want to screw this up. I want to keep making positive choices.
For me, health and happiness are symbiotic. They need and want each other, and build themselves room in my life to do so. For that, I am eternally grateful.