Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Happy

I heard a commercial on the radio today. You've probably heard it too. It's for one of those over prices under perform health care plans. It said, in a sincere, perky, female voice "Happy people are healthy people." I've heard this before. It wasn't the first time. It was the first time I had excess time on hands in which to really consider the theory. Since the ad admonished me to be happy so I could be healthy, well, I had to consider what all that entails.

Here's what I concluded: Happy people are healthy because THEY AREN'T SICK. Sure, I know that's easy to say, but let's face it. More and more body parts hurt every day. This does NOT make me happy. It isn't ruining my life just now, but it is working my nerves. Worked nerves don't lead to happiness. Chronic pain doesn't either. Unemployment is also a super big downer. Unemployed people low on money and resources with chronic increasing pain are usually not classified as 'happy people' although they aren't always necessarily unhappy.

What, exactly is a happy person? Right off the bat, I think of the basics: meaningful work, good enough pay, friends, family, balance of work, fun, hope, faith, feeling good. This happy person has a job, or at least a meaningful, reliable cash source. This happy person also has health care, regular, reliable, care that includes dentistry every 6 months, wellness checks for all those things you want to catch early so the don't make you sick. Happy person has a significant other with whom to share all this good, basic happy stuff. Then again, some studies suggest that only men are really happy with that significant other and heterosexual women are usually happier over 50 and not married. I haven't read any lesbian studies, but from what I can tell it's about 50/50 for who's happy and who isn't. Finally, ant it's certainly not official, but I bet hard cash that happy people don't gain weight as easily as the rest of us either.

The fact is, the things that lead to good health, are the same things that lead to happiness. The things that lead to happiness, take you straight toward good health. At least for a while. Age is bound to play some dirty tricks. so, while we're legislating taxation and fines for Coke vs Diet Coke, arguing in favor of healthy food legislation and banning tobacco, drugs and other 'unhealthy lifestyles' and shunning those not so inclined, perhaps we might want to consider demanding those tings really do lead to good health. Happiness. It's not just for rich people any more.


  1. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.-Abraham Lincoln.

    I agree with all the tenets you put forth as pillars of happiness, those are all very helpful but I also think that happiness is a mindset... It's a way of defining yourself. I define myself as a happy person...I have a whole lot of "stuff" in my life that I could easily use as reasons not to be happy, but typically I don't. I have occasional battles with resentment, I have the occasional down day too, of course, but as a general rule, I'm pretty much okay. I roll with the punches and come up, well, maybe not smiling, but knowing that I will before long.

    I spent a lot of years depressed. I self-medicated and ran from reality...and then somewhere along the way (over 50 and single again) I began to realize that I could have happiness if I wanted it. I could just decide to be happy, remind myself that I was, and make it a part of who I am... And so, I did.

    Your mileage may vary...


  2. I've been very happy for most of my life, in spite of some horrific circumstances, so I agree. On the other hand, I get uppity on behalf of folks who just don't find many reasons in a day to feel that joy. And I resent advertisers making stupid statements such as 'get happy' and then you'll be healthy. Especially for serious depression. It's just not that easy or subject to 60 second homilies.