Health and Happiness: A Two Way Street

I have, for probably close to a year now, been feeling progressively more fatigued and not in good health.

Let me stress, that it has been a VERY slow decline and in truth I didn’t even really notice it until about September or so last year (when I finally booked a doctor’s appointment).  Even then I simply thought it was just sleep issues, but since then, over the holidays, I started to feel worse and I am now very aware that I am not the hale and healthy self I was a year ago this time.

I don’t know what it is yet. I’ve had some tests and I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor.  I’m hoping it’s something easily dealt with, but we’ll see.

But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.  I wanted to share the effect of this general “ill” health on my happiness.

As many of you have probably noticed, it can be REALLY hard to be happy when you are physically feeling like crap.  Well even for me, someone who is well practices in the ways of happiness, I am the same way.

Can I still be happy when I’m feeling “blah” physically?


Is it easy?


Health can play a very significant role in happiness.  As I have mentioned (a long time ago) when I talked about the “How of Happiness” – one of those “hows” was Taking Care of Your Body. Because well…yeah, it can be really tough to find happiness when your body is doing nasty things to you.

For me I find it is fatigue and tiredness which affect me most.  I can be sick and still be happy (most of the time), but it’s when I’m feeling utterly exhausted that I find my happiness most challenged.  For you it may be something different or other physical challenges which affect you most.

The point is this.

Can you still smile?  Usually, yes.  Can you still be grateful for all the OTHER things you have in your life, or for all the times you were healthy?  Yes.  Can you still find and appreciate the little moments of joy? Yes.

Remember, as much as our physical state affects our happiness, happiness is an emotion (ie not physical).

Sure our emotions tend to go to a “down” and “blah” place when our bodies are not feeling well, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still work on our happiness.

Sure we probably won’t be happy all the time (I know right now I’m not happy all the time.  I feel like crap and wonder why and get a little depressed about it) BUT, we can still be WORKING on our happiness.  Be conscious of our emotions and try to build in some more buoyant ones.  Try to laugh when we can.  Try to smile as often as we can, take joy wherever we can.

Why would you want to do this?  Why even try to be happy when you’re feeling “blah”?

Because… it helps.

I don’t have the studies in front of me now, but there is proof that happy people get sick less and when they do, it’s less severe and for less time.  Furthermore, certain specific happiness related emotions (positivity, optimism) have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and other grave illnesses!

So, yeah, it may be hard (trust me, right now, I know how hard it can be) but give it your best.  Try working on your happiness when you’re feeling physically “ick”.

AND when you are feeling better – work on your health itself.  This is a two way street.  When we feel physically good, we’re more likely to be happier, and when we feel happier, we’re more likely to feel physically good.

Health goes a long way toward happiness.

And happiness goes a long way toward health.

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