Good health and happiness goes far beyond the physical. Most articles I read on the subject have to do with the negatives: Don’t smoke, don’t eat fatty junk foods, and don’t be sedentary. There’s more–a lot more. Holistic living (being whole) calls for a balance of body, mind and spirit. It’s not how long we live but how well we live.
The following characteristics of a happy, healthy person are drawn from personal experiences. Life is trial and error. You fail and you fall, then you get up and try again. Life is a journey and we learn a lot from the bumpy roads. I am still on that road.
Happy and healthy people live in the now moment. They don’t wish their life away, or dwell on past events with loved ones who are gone. They realize that grief is a natural response to losses, but they move on by the Grace of God. They are able to love and to be loved, and they have strong relationships but they maintain a certain independence, so that if they do lose that relationship, they are able to make the most of the life they have left. No one said this was easy—it’s the most difficult thing I’ve had to do.
They know how important it is to forgive. Holding on to grudges and hurt feelings can pile on layers of misery. Being an unforgiving person is not only bad for your health, it’s bad in every way. We don’t have to be loved by everyone or to try to please everyone, which is probably impossible anyway. Also, healthy people don’t release their frustrations on the people around them, especially their children.
They have realistic self-awareness. In other words, they can see their weaknesses and their own shortcomings, without trying to change the other person. Trying to change your partner is a quick way to the unsettling world of divorce. Working on self-improvement is a lifelong challenge. Happy and healthy people are not only self-aware, but they are mindful of what they are doing at the moment. Have you been to a dinner or banquet and not remembered what you ate? This reminds me of the time I was late for something and I grabbed the bill and the fortune cookie on the way out of a restaurant. When I arrived at my destination, I looked to see what my fortune was, and realized—lo and behold—that I had eaten the whole thing, fortune and all. No wonder that cookie was chewy. Being un-mindful can be dangerous.
They can laugh at themselves. If you can see the funny and incongruous side of life, even during stressful moments, it can be to your advantage. Expecting yourself to be perfect is a quick way to ulcers, high blood pressure, stress, etc. Do the best you can—which may or may not be good enough—but that’s all you can do. Accept it, smile, move on and give yourself a break. Stop worrying!
They don’t know how to be bored. They engage in life fully. I have discovered at my tender age of 92, that I can play the piano by ear. I really didn’t know this before now. I am not trying to set myself up as an example, but being old should not deter you from doing what you can do as long as you can. This is much better than sitting around all day, waiting impatiently for the end, lonely and bored, letting your mind and body atrophy. You never know what you can do until you try. So get up and move, move, move.
They are not judgmental. Whether it is racial or people who are different in other ways, people are what God made them to be.
They don’t complain. There’s much to complain about today. And there are times when we need to get things off of our chests to keep from exploding. However, complaining is not a habit of healthy people.
They have a faith that is vital and committed. Without a faith in God, I would be like a boat on the great Pacific without a paddle. Faith in God anchors me to the point of praying and trying to follow the teachings of the love and forgiveness that Jesus taught. It’s a constant challenge, a continuing struggle to do the right thing, a journey full of failures and successes, but worthy of all effort and energy. Amen and Amen.