Even though my life looks like a multi-vehicle accident on I-95 during Friday afternoon rush hour, I continue to feel pretty happy most days. And although God is apparently only checking his emails once a week as I still have not heard back from him in regards to my question, which is WTF?! Still, I like to think that I laugh more on a daily basis than the average Greenwich mother. Now I know that's not saying much and you may call me simple-minded. I admit that I'm no longer marching around twirling a baton, but still I'm able to find pleasure in the simplest parts of my day. No one is more surprised than me that I'm not under my bed right now with my friends outside in the hallway planning an intervention and arguing about who's going to pay for it. I guess that I'm not a worrier by nature and that is a gift from God. Even at a funeral, laughing beats crying every time (unless it's my own).
Maybe it has to do with being healthy. Research shows that healthy people are happier than than unhealthy people. Or wait. Is it that happier people are healthier than unhappy folks? Did your body feeling good make you happy?
Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
It's a hard call. I do know that lack of good health can lead to many symptoms, up to and including death.
And being unhappy can ruin even the shortest lifespan.
But regardless of which came first, the good news is that good health in general and fitness in particular is within almost everyone's grasp.
Last week I wrote about the "wellness iceberg" as a metaphor for our selves, and how our bodies are just a small tip of our overall well-being and is just the part of us that shows. I wrote about how we need to go down deep below the surface of ourselves to make lasting lifestyle changes.
We are not just a body. We are all so much more. But since our body is the most concrete connection that we have with "who we are," how we feel in it affects how we feel about ourselves.
Ask anyone who lives with chronic pain how they feel about themselves and they will give you're an earful.
And being obese has the same effect on us -- be it five or 50 pounds. It's hard to rock your jeggings if they feel too tight, and that spills over into the non-physical part of us, although actually the reverse is true. What you are feeling in your achy knees or in your jeggings is a byproduct of the invisible side of you. Our thoughts affect our body.
What we think, what we dwell on in our heads -- whether it is despair or dreams -- has a direct connection with what shows up on and in our bodies. The more you focus on feeling fat, the greater the odds that you will be fat. And the more you focus on success, the more likely you will be to achieve it.
Abraham Lincoln said "If you look for darkness in this world, you surely will find it."
What to do? Start to watch your thoughts. What is your relationship with them? Do they drag you every which way like an unmanned team of runaway horses? Are you even aware of them? Your most important relationship is with your self, and your thoughts can give you the key to the most important thing a human being can learn, which is how to have a relationship with whatever is happening in the present moment. It's being where we are, not off in the future or past where we are not.
All any of us want at the end of our life is to be able to say that we did what we were called to do. We find this calling by not letting ourselves be swept away by thoughts about things that don't matter.
The subconscious mind accepts whatever you choose to believe. What you choose to think about yourself and your life becomes true for you. We have unlimited choices about what we can think about.
We can refuse to think certain thoughts. Look how often you've refused to think a positive thought about yourself. You can also refuse to think a negative thought.
Can you name your five most frequent thoughts? A few of mine are, "I'm going to be late," or "What do they think about me?" or "It's never enough." Start to cultivate an awareness of what's happening between you and you.
Don't be like people on a bus passing through a beautiful countryside while inside they have all the shades pulled down and are bickering over who gets to sit in the front seat.
Imagine some moments in your life that were small but filled with contentment -- like sinking a particularly tricky birdie, throwing a ball for a dog and having him come right back and drop it at your feet, or the front door slamming and hearing the sound of "Mom! I'm home!"
The small moments of your life can expand into the banality of bliss if you want. You just have to make up your mind to reach down deep for the better thought.
Your life is as it is. How you feel about it is up to you.
For more by Penny Love Hoff, click here.
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