Human experience is not a zero-sum phenomenon. Well, perhaps when evaluated against the most fatalistic of interpretations it is exactly that. But, disregarding throughout this soliloquy life’s most exacting of pathologies, the human experience is blessed and burdened with self-awareness, self-consciousness, and, for a fortunate few, self-realization.
The price paid for this burdensome blessing is a philosophical quandary with which our wisest of ancestors so famously contended, and with which the present’s most talented of scientific/medical minds contend in our own day. Insofar as we can firmly grasp, the mind and the body are very much one. To be sure, notions of a so-called “ghost in the machine” long pre-date the present and do very much have their place in the proverbial philosophy professor’s (also proverbial) lecture hall.
A Healthier Life Through Happiness
But, placing that to one side, what is indisputable is the stubborn link between one’s emotional state of being and the physiological health of the body (or machine, if you will) in which said emotional state is housed. Bodies tend to project, in many ways, the psychological makeup of their owners, a fact which stems from a host of interrelated factors. Many a study has linked mental stress to conditions ranging from hypertension to sleep disorders of one sort or another. Stress, that most elusive of tranquility’s immortal foes, is a killer of decidedly patient and deceptive pathology.
Along those very lines, feelings of hostility, of envy, of anger, of regret (individually or collectively) are fierce enemies of mental well being and, by extension, of healthy living. The effective management of such feelings will go a long way towards demonstrating how happiness can lead to a healthier life. It is often said, and with obvious validity, that the purest of emotions are inherently involuntary; thus, the managing of one’s emotions (whether hostile or otherwise) is not always within one’s mental capacity to readily achieve. But difficulty with process does not negate the validity of outcome.
The body is a continuation—or at least an extension—of the mind. The mental housing of resentments or feelings of angst, though incongruously therapeutic in a self-destructive sense of the term, is a certain pathway to bodily breakdown. Fortunately, one needn’t tackle alone the challenges of mental overload and subsequent gains in weight of loss of fitness. Resources, thankfully, do exist for the confronting of obstacles both psychological and physiological in nature. Seeking out such resources is as essential to the achieving of mental wellbeing as the utilization of said resources. One need only embrace the mind-body link as irrefutable truth, particularly as it pertains to physical fitness.
Energy Levels and Your Happiness
Energy levels and one’s emotional mood are prominent casualties of a negative life outlook. An intuitive and unfortunate byproduct of this trade-off is a circular descent which accompanies the relationship between mental mood and physical health. As one wallows in the trough of apathy and indifference, however, one feels less inclined to manage one’s fitness. Exercise and diet-conscious living are rendered forfeit in the face of emotional despair, which in turn demands increased forfeiture of the very same sort. The cruel decline in one’s bodily well being contributes to still more despair and the disinclination towards physiological discipline and conditioning is perpetually exacerbated.
So relentless a cyclical form of physio-mental incarceration is by no means uncommon, and, if anything, only serves to support the mind-body-as-one concept. However, a liberating of one’s psyche from the bondage described above is within the grasp of us all, provided we are willing to acknowledge, even celebrate how happiness can lead to a healthier life.
Mood, as exhibited in social behavior, is a bellwether of overall health and wellness. There seems to exist a sort of incompatibility between the perpetually downcast and a strong, capable body. Rather, the organisms of those whose minds tend towards the pessimistic seem often to suffer in ways both functional and aesthetic. Of course, observations of this sort are often anecdotal and the relationship between mentality and physiology goes far beyond the conveying of certain emotional symptoms.
However, the aforementioned incompatibility comes into stark relief when one attempts to superimpose upon the ultra-healthy a veneer of unhappiness. The superimposition does not quite take, as a sort of incongruity is certain to disrupt any such attempt at reconciling the two. Healthy living is, as mentioned earlier, a circular proposition, which explains in plain terms just how happiness can lead to a healthier life. Once the wheel of progress is spinning, a healthier body will be the result, itself leading to a sunnier disposition, and so on in perpetuity.