Sunday, March 29, 2015

Healthiness & Happiness

Too many of us strive for happiness, when what we should be striving for is healthiness.

The World Health Organization defines healthiness as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

I appreciate that holistic definition. It's the mental aspect of healthiness that my work and studies revolve around as a growth expert, and it's in that capacity in which I'm exposed to the preoccupations that so many of us have with being happy.

Happiness is defined as a state of being happy. A state is defined as a particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.

Both healthiness and happiness are states, which of course, means they are susceptible to change, but happiness without healthiness is less sustainable and is often contingent upon external circumstances.

Yes, graduation from college, your wedding day, and the birth of your child can be that happiest days of your life, but the states that you find yourself in during those moments are fleeting...they will pass. With their passage do you find yourself unhappy ?

If you lack healthiness, you may. In fact, the greater your healthiness, the less imbalance you experience from life's highs and lows. This is just one of the characteristics of a mentally healthy person.

We know that healthiness is internal; it's linked to how you think, which dictates your explanatory style, or your way of seeing, interpreting, and processing life's events. New psychological phenomenon such as the hedonic treadmill effect and baseline happiness (both of which I've written about in the past) shed light on the significance of being healthy, rather than happy.

Ultimately, we all want to be happy, or experience more moments of happiness, but in the absence of personal development, happiness is just a shared illusion. Healthy people place value on maintaining their healthiness, which is more fulfilling and brings them greater long-term benefits than the momentary euphoria of happiness.