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11 months ago · · 0 comments

The Pursuit of Health and Happiness

The pursuit of happiness

In the pursuit of happiness it’s very easy to neglect your physical body and to ignore the impact that your health is having on your ability to achieve and maintain a happiness and a successful life.

Lizzie o'halloranAs adults, we spend a lot of time trialling various behaviours that may lead to short term feelings of euphoria (such as excess drinking, watching TV, smoking, and eating junk food). However, whilst you may experience an immediate positive feeling from these behaviours – long term these behaviours tend to lead to negative emotions. Therefore, short term gain can lead to long term pain.

What is even more interesting, is that short term gains in mood are also likely to lead to short term pain. For instance, eating junk or drinking excess coffee can lead to feeling bloated, tired, agitated, stressed and anxious. These negative moods can leave you feeling unmotivated, unsociable and cloudy headed. Yet, in the moment, junk food and coffee can satisfy an immediate need for an energy boost. So, we can easily fall victim to pleasing immediate needs without thinking about how they will make us feel later and in particular how they will affect our goals.

Ignoring the steps for a healthy life

So why do we ignore the nourishing mental and physical needs of our bodies – only paying attention when something really breaks down?
I believe we often ignore our body because we justify that other activities in life are more important, however if your body is not working efficiently, you will find yourself losing motivation, feeling too tired to achieve your goals and losing confidence in yourself if your physical body is not operating as well as it should/could be.

In addition, the message we have been receiving from the media for many years now is that the purpose of our external bodies is to portray a (pre-defined and culturally defined) beauty. As a result, MANY men, women and kids find themselves comparing their bodies to those they see in the media. Unfortunately these images tend to be well prepared and photographed (or air brushed), giving most people the belief that they could never measure up to these images. Thus, it’s easier to give up trying to reach such an unrealistic goal and enjoy the here and now instead.

The problem with this defeatist attitude is that internally these media images “stick”” and as a result people often feel guilty for not engaging in healthy behaviors in order to try to emulate the beauty stereotype. This guilt leads to feeling down and so the search for an instant ‘pick me up’ strikes again.

So what can you do to stop this behavior?

In order to fight against this way of thinking you need to start viewing your physical body as your tool to achieving success and happiness in life. This means looking after it and treating it well, so that it will in turn assist you when you need it most (eg, when you want to play sport with the kids/friends, brainstorm great ideas for a new project, perform well at work, present your best ‘self’ in an interview or on a date, or stay up late to complete an important project).

Living a healthy lifestyle is much more about giving you the best chance to achieve success, than it is about you looking good.
Let your body be your best tool to drive you to achieve your goals and desires in life.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums