PIECES OF THE HEALTH PUZZLE – 3 PART SERIES / Part 1: Committed Pleasure-Seeking

COMMITTED PLEASURE-SEEKING

To be healthy is not an easy endeavor, as it encompasses several facets which are hard to keep on top of with our hectic schedules and wishy washy attitudes.  We all want fulfilling and balanced lives, but sometimes we fail to realize we won’t have this if we keep neglecting our well- being.

One must first decide if their health is important enough to take care of.  For many people, who are busy ‘living’ their lives, health is down the list of priorities.  Sometimes people use different scapegoats to justify their unhealthy ways saying, “Oh I don’t want to live forever anyway”, or “I want to enjoy my life while I can and not deprive myself.”  This is all fine and good as long as someone takes us out back when we’re say 40 or 50 years old and shoots us.  But the reality is, that’s probably not going to happen, and then we have to not mind living our last 10 to 40 years in discomfort, pain, illness, disease, or immobility.

Unfortunately, the American way is to grab onto what we can in the here and now, with our ‘lack’ mentality driving our actions.  We tend to hoard, indulge, and placate our grubby noisy selves and persistent urges.  We don’t want to get left behind or miss out on the supposed goodies.   How many times have you eaten fudge, cookies or pralines at holiday time because they were there and you didn’t want to deprive yourself of the ‘opportunity’ to treat yourself?  If you’re going to eat sweet treats, at least let them fill a craving rather than a misplaced emotional need.  If we use food and drink to feel the holiday season and be merry, then we’re probably not in the right state of mind and spirit anyways. lazy-man-on-couch

We need to learn how to take control of our actions rather than giving in to our lesser, greedy selves.  We should hold ourselves up higher than that, value ourselves more, and connect with our inner beauty and greatness as we recognize the amazing lives we have been given.  We are not just physical beings with urges, let’s tap into our underlying self, our true being, as it already has everything it needs within if we just look for it.  When we try to escape reality through numbing ourselves with food, drink, and laziness, it always catches up with us.

Think of your health as a business – actually the most important business you will ever run.  To run it competently and productively, you need to be your own administrator, planner, researcher, manager, and boss.  You need a game plan, a way to get there, and then the desire to stick with it.  Be smart and invest in your company, it will be with you your whole life!

We all have the temptation to give in to laziness and indulgence, it is human.  That’s why we need to think things through ahead of time, make commitments to ourselves, and realize what brings true happiness; instead of muddling through life and trying not to miss out on our fair share of instant gratification.  In seeking short term gratification, we fail to see the bigger picture, not only of our physical well-being down the road, but also of our mental well-being in the present.

When we don’t use restraint, gumption, and the powers of our own psyche in leading our lives, we find that over time things become less and less pleasurable, and our lives actually become more burdensome.  You can escape reality for a short time, but our thoughts and actions always catch up with us.  I think even Pink Floyd would agree that being ‘comfortably numb’ is a temporary and ineffectual fix, leading to unhappiness.  As he found out in The Wall, when we don’t deal with issues in our lives, we are building a wall of isolation around ourselves, brick by brick, in which we feel stuck.  The realities of life always catch up with us, and the responsibility for our health and outlook on life, always lies with ourselves.

If you are a pain-averse, pleasure seeker, then you will want to focus on your health and well-being.  Some have a misconception that those who live in a disciplined way are depriving themselves and missing out on partaking of pleasures available for their consumption.  Yet the truth is, people who aim to live in a healthy manner and control their consumption and exercise, are choosing to be satisfied more often.  They aren’t slaves to their desires or allowing themselves to be blown around like unwitting kites in the wind, as they have taken the driver’s seat in their own life.

It is my desire to feel good that day, next week, and next month, that I don’t eat donuts for breakfast, lounge and watch movies during all my time off, or forego my workouts for days on end – although they are all alluring options that are calling out to me.  I want to be able to smile when I step on the scale, knowing that I’m not putting extra strain on my heart and metabolic system, and slowing myself down.  Likewise, as far as mental health, if I go for longs spells without quiet time to re-charge my batteries and re-connect with my inner stillness, I pay for it with a less joyous and darker view on life.  I don’t like pain, don’t like feeling groggy, don’t like my back to hurt, and it really depresses me when I allow myself to become depressed.  Keeping things in check requires attention and commitment.  True pleasure is not found through the seeking of it, it is a byproduct of our daily actions, attitude, and appreciation of life.  It is only through a plan, some restraint, some purposeful movement, and proper care of ourselves that we find true happiness.

So in seeking the easy life, the life of least resistance, we are doing ourselves no favor.  Not only does it make us less ready for difficult times when they come, but it also puts us in the wrong mindset to deal with life’s daily demands.  As we become more and more unhealthy, we become less and less happy; even though it was happiness we were seeking in our laziness.  True happiness does not come from loafing and indulgence – however when they are the exception and not the rule, they are nice little pleasures.  Moderation and discipline are the traits that actually lead to contentment and bliss.

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