Last night I was completing an online survey about wellbeing and came to the questions that asked about my health – specifically did I feel healthy?
The answer was yes, I do feel healthy. The only time I don’t is when I am dealing with a cold or virus of some description. Then I generally feel like crap and whinge a lot.
But I do have diabetes – a chronic health condition. Yet I’ve never thought that diabetes makes me unhealthy. Does the simple fact that my beta cells have been AWOL for over 16 years now mean that I am not ‘in the pink’?
To me, health has always been about more than those nonoperational beta cells? Surely that negative gets over-ridden, or at least balanced out, by the many positives in my life.
It had me thinking about health and happiness. I wondered how healthy we can be when we are feeling unhappy. I know that in times when happiness has seemed an abstract concept, I’ve not felt healthy. But this rarely has anything to do with diabetes. My diabetes numbers can look fine, but overall, I don’t feel great, perhaps because I am ‘not looking after myself’ and eating a well-balanced diet (or not eating at all). Perhaps because I just shrink away and don’t surround myself with the things that contribute to my happiness.
The next section of the survey focussed on happiness. Did I feel happy?
My answer to that question at that very moment was also yes. I was in our warm home, dinner was about to be served up to me and I could hear the kidlet in the other room playing with the cat – of course I was happy (the cat? Maybe not so happy as she was being killed with love and kindness)! I was then asked to list the things that contribute to my happiness. That was easy.
I have a family that brings me great pleasure. My husband and daughter as my immediate family, and my (rather huge) extended family of parents, sister, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles may be crazy and loud (and at times frustrating) but generally are fun to be around. There is a lot of laughter and isn’t that good for the soul and our health?
And I have a job that is rewarding and enjoyable and one for which I feel incredible passion. I feel very fortunate that my nine-to-five isn’t mundane or boring or devoid of any real interest.
These things contribute to my happiness. And contribute to my sense of wellbeing. Which contribute to my feelings of health.
I do believe that there is an inextricable link between happiness and healthiness. It’s tangled and can be messy. Perhaps happiness also contributes to emotional wellbeing and that leads to good health. I don’t know the answers here. All I know is that I answered ‘yes’ to feeling both happy and healthy. I should feel (and do feel) pretty fortunate for that.