This is one of my favorite things to keep in mind when striving for balance. We often think of having to have discrimination, self-control and a desire to put our health over our impulses and cravings. While these things are important to consider and employ, we can all together forget about the heart of the matter. I am talking about those things that make us deeply happy, deep in our bones.
Now, a bit of warning- I am not talking about the momentary gratification of acting on an impulse or craving. That happiness is short lived and can ultimately come at a fairly high price in terms of side effects. For example, the day I watched 9 episodes of Parenthood straight on a Saturday left me feeling disconnected, lonely, overly stimulated and exhausted simultaneously. Eww. I thank god that show is over! LOL
Why is the Happiness Factor is so important? What IS the happiness factor?
It’s those times that we are so filled with joy and love that whatever it is we subject ourselves to doesn’t seem to affect us much at all. It’s what lights us up and makes us feel truly alive, connected and excited to be on this planet.
Maybe we can think of a time we stayed up all night in the arms of a lover and went on to float around in a happy bubble the whole next day, barely aware that we missed any sleep. Or perhaps we gathered for a wonderful dinner with great friends we missed so much and enjoyed all the food regardless of our minor food sensitivities and were surprised to find that later on we didn’t really feel badly from it. Or maybe we took a much needed vacation and rested our bones in a place that fed our souls so deeply that our normal impulses like online shopping (yep, this one’s all me), mindless snacking or TV cravings just fell to the side. This, my friends, is the Happiness Factor.
When we are deeply happy our bodies work so much better and we operate as a whole. Each part of ourselves begins communicating freely and deeply with the other. This applies to our physiology, our mental state and our emotional states. They begin working together like a finely tuned orchestra. In fact, when we are happy the release of endorphins is increased and the stress hormone cortisol is reduced. When cortisol is reduced cellular function and communication improves, digestion begins working optimally and the hormones of the body can begin to find equilibrium. Yep it’s that powerful! Difficult menstrual cycles, horrible IBS, migraines, even immunity all can be helped by the Happiness Factor.
So the next time you have an opportunity to dive into a much needed break, spend time with an amazing friend or take on a new adventure- go for it! Your body will thank you for it!