It’s part of my mantra at the end of every post, I’m HAPPY, I’m HEALTHY!!! Happiness and health go hand in hand, in my opinion. Many of us, including myself, struggle with being happy. When I talk about being happy, I’m referring to genuine, overall happiness. The kind of happiness that comes from being content in life and satisfied with yourself and your journey. It’s the kind of happiness that won’t break down with every bump on the road. It’s a calmness, a peace with life that allows you to appreciate things as they come and gives you the motivation to overcome all the obstacles in your way.
For some reason when I think about this type of happy person I often think of the person who is happy because they don’t know any better… the ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of of person. While I imagine there are a ton of blissfully ignorant people in the world, my picture of ultimate happiness is of the person who maintains their happy, positive outlook on life despite knowing exactly what they are up against. And let’s face it, we are up against a lot nowadays. Between the pressure of making ends meet, taking care of our families, paying our bills, keeping up with the Jones’, keeping up-to-date on every new gadget, trend, fad, fact and gossip, wars, falling governments, crashing economies, natural disasters, making friends, deleting friends, playdates, coffee dates, tweeting, Googling, blogging and uploading pictures, how the heck do we have time to be happy? Life is fast paced and we don’t always take the time to sit back, look at our life and enjoy the moments as they happen.
The impact of our lifestyles on our health is becoming more and more obvious. Obesity, diabetes, stress and anxiety, and adult onset ADHD is all on the rise. Depression, frustration and general feelings of being unsatisfied with life seem to be making their way into the minds of more and more people. I know I feel it, but I’m fighting back and you should to!!! I don’t have any research to back me up, or statistics to prove what I’m saying, but I don’t need them, because this is common sense. Being happy can improve your health. A positive attitude leads to positive change. It may be just one step on your journey to being healthy, but its a big step. Think of the domino effect it can have. Start your day with some positive thoughts, continue your day with a positive outlook, and use that happiness as motivation to eat clean, exercise and have a healthy day. Or end your day with your positive thoughts, leaving you relaxed, happy, and ready to have a great nights sleep, in return you’ll wake up happier and healthier, giving you a good start to your day.
Being happy does have a physiological impact on your health as well. Always being stressed causes an excessive amount of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol to be released for extended periods of time. Normal release of cortisol throughout the day and during our ‘flight or fight’ response is a good thing, and can even have a positive affect on us, by giving our body some survival functions we don’t normally have. When we are stressed all the time though, cortisol is constantly being released and our body never has a chance to return to normal, leaving us chronically stressed. This can have a pretty significant impact on our body, affecting everything from our thyroid and cognitive skills to bone density and muscle tissue. It impacts our sugar regulation, lowers our immune and inflammatory responses, can cause high blood pressure, and even lead to heart attacks due to increased abdominal weight (which is something us PCOSers are already battling to begin with). You will never be able to completely eliminate stress, its a natural reaction our body has and needs to certain situations, but we were not meant to be in a state on constant stress. The happier you are, the less stress you feel on a daily basis, keeping your cortisol response more regular.
So here is what I want you to do: Everyday, take a few seconds to write down 5 things you are happy about or grateful for. That’s it, simple right? They can be big or small, simple or complex. There are no rules because it’s your happiness. I keep my 5 in a notebook (I’ll show you in another post!) so I can go back a read them when I’m having a rough day, or my anxiety and stress are getting to me. Every Wednesday I will share 5 of my reasons to be happy for that day! Here they are for today: