The word health has several different connotations as varied as the people that we talk to every day. It is not at all a narrow spectrum of ideas. Most people think in the realm of blood pressure, exercise, and cholesterol. These things are certainly factors in the determination of one’s health but they are only one dimension in the reality of one’s well-being.
A strong influence on well-being is one’s spiritual life. A strong sense of a place in the world can help negotiate the roller coaster of life. It also provides us with a sense of hope, knowing that the stresses of today will not last forever. It gives us the sense that our lives are wider and deeper than what we can perceive. I am not promoting religion necessarily, but belief. If one believes their life to have value, they will treat themselves with value.
Another determinate of health is one’s connection to community. We are, by nature, social creatures so we seek a social circle to which we can belong. This can be determined by neighbourhood, common interests, or any number of things. The kind of people and influences that one has in their lives affects how they view the world. If one is surrounded by negativity, one will absorb negativity. This pessimistic mindset will reflect itself in physical health. Phone your mom and tell her she was right about carefully choosing your friends. The reverse also holds true: if one is has positive people in their life, it will add to their well-being.
Health can also be measured by happiness. The more a person feels joy, the greater their well-being. Between work and home, people have accustomed themselves to being busy, busy, busy. We’ve put happiness on the schedule somewhere later in the week when we may have a moment for reflection. Often, we’re too busy doing and we forget to simply be. The joy of simply being in this world is something that should be observed throughout the day.
Smile more, fret less, hang out with people who don’t suck the happiness out of you, and observe the miracle of existing at all. It’s good for you.
Keri lives, believes, and reflects in Boyle Street.