Health and happiness are long term endeavors. If we are to stay committed in the long term then we will need to develop a mindstate that understands this as a priority over all other desires. We have to keep ourselves in check and become self aware; health and happiness should come to be our baseline states with a little work.
Many of us have lost touch with this quest for happiness and health, both of which are fundamental to a good life. I wouldn’t go so far as to say people have no concern for it, but very often we become wrapped up in the stresses of life, and forget what the real priorities are. We all want to progress, but our ever increasing well being is the most valuable form of progression. If we lose touch with this priority we often notice our health and happiness deteriorating.
“Quick Fix” Health
This can leave us looking for a “quick fix” of health and happiness. We may, after some time, become run down and react with a burst of enthusiasm for improvement. We might take up an extreme diet or an exercise regime, attend a new course on happiness, or seek the help of our loved ones, or some professional help. All of these can be beneficial, but only seem to help us through the bad patch. Other quick fix behaviors might even detriment our long term happiness and health, such is the case when we drink or take drugs for pleasure, thinking it may cure our stress and unhappy feelings.
A “quick fix” mentality to life will never bring about true transformation, nor will it ensure our happiness and health. Instead we must cultivate a mindstate which makes happiness and health a priority; and begin to think about it, and improve upon it every day. In order for happiness and health to become our baseline state we must commit to them, and become aware of ourselves and our thoughts and actions. We should see every single day as a challenge, and an opportunity for growth.
Health and Happiness; Everyday
This does not mean we do not set goals and targets to help us to stay on course. Staying focused on the present, and taking steps to improve our health and happiness each day, is the key to long term development. We should set ourselves goals; to eat well, to exercise more, to get more rest, to do more of what we enjoy, to see the people we love. We should try and make the most of our day, and this can mean making some short term plans.
This is different to the “quick fix” mentality because it aims at general health and happiness, and the daily improvement of it, rather than waiting for breaking point, making a recovery, and then going back to the usual priorities at the detriment of continued health and happiness.
Very often quick fixes are not sustainable. Our every day plans should be attainable and sustainable, not extreme and undoable in the long term. We should eat what we can see ourselves eating for years, and make gradual changes to diet, rather than taking on an extreme diet that ends in failure and relapse. Similarly we should enjoy our daily exercise, integrate it into our routine in a way we can manage every day. It is all about sustainable life changes, and enjoying a gradual process of change.
Happiness and Health As A Baseline State
Short term plans eventually lead to long term goals. When we start to enjoy our daily contributions to our well-being, it begins to become more of a way of life for us. We are not “trying” anymore. We simply enjoy being healthy and happy, and are aversive towards anything that is a danger to our health and happiness. Over time we see a dedication and commitment develop. We start to naturally prioritize what is good for us, and our baseline state becomes one of radiance.
Once happiness and health become our baseline state, and our mind becomes set on their improvement, the process becomes very natural. We do not beat ourselves up for being unhappy, or for doing something unhealthy; we are human after all, and we enjoy our vices. On a day to day basis however, we are completely attuned to ourselves, and our health. When we feel ourselves slip we can quickly pull back because our every day life is based on happiness and health.
A Few Tips For Long Term Commitment:
- Always be sustainable; diet and exercise in way that you enjoy, and that you can handle as part of a routine.
- Prioritize health and happiness in your life, over any other endeavors. They are the most important factor for living a good life.
- Be willing to put in effort at first; as you make lifestyle changes you may perceive that there is a lot of effort involved. Enjoy putting this effort in, and you will reap the benefits of the results.
- Never feel guilty for slip ups. Because long term health focuses on the day-to-day, over a long period of time, there is no need to feel guilty over one unhealthy night, or over a week of feeling unhappy. Our lives are dedicated to the cause, so we know we can pull through.