Happiness and Health
Notice that I didn’t say “Health and Happiness.” The order is deliberate. Though bad health can induce depression (I know from experience), the reverse is also true (as I also know from experience). Negative thoughts can ruin your health. That’s a fact so well established that I have heard one expert say, “It’s not a question whether much illness is brought on, or aggravated, by our emotions, but of how much. The debate (he claimed) is over whether 75% or 85% of sickness is psychogenic.”
His figures may be high, but there’s no doubt that unhappiness is bad for your health.
So, what to do? Just “snap out of it”? It might not be that easy, but there are some action steps to take when you are feeling low. A few that work for me:
- Listen to “happy” music. Schubert’s Trout Quintet is helping me beat the blues right now.
- Do something usefully physical (as distinct from punching a hole in the ceiling, as one young man I know did with a karate kick in a fit of frustration). I’ve read that you can’t exercise and be depressed at the same time. I just vacuumed the floor, which killed two birds with one stone – completing a chore I promised I would do and getting me to move around.
- Do something necessary. I plan to (try to) reconcile my checkbook after writing this.
- Look out the window. It somehow changes your perspective.
- Think of someone with real problems. You could start with Darfur, or the hundreds of thousands with frostbite in western China right now. They’re watching their herds and crops die under heavy snowfall and can’t do a thing to help.
- Praise and thank God. Not only does he deserve our worship and gratitude, but when we praise him and thank him at all times and for all things, such an action serves as an antidote to the blues.
During and after starting to write this blog Saturday, several things went “wrong” for me. At first I was pretty frustrated; then I realized that these were opportunities to practice what I was “preaching,” so I deliberately began to offer thanks for each of the annoyances that had obstructed me from finishing this post. It worked! My mood went from grumpy to glad.I hope this helps you as a new work week commences after an early Daylight Savings Time has perhaps made it a bit harder to get up and face the day.
(Sorry I don't know how to make the type the same size yet.)