Lifestyle choices: Happiness or Fulfillment

The most common causes of illness in modern age are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, mental health. Almost all the research into these ailments points towards lifestyle as being a significant contributor. Lifestyle is a choice we make. So does this mean at times we are choosing illness?

It’s an unpleasant thought but worth pondering over.

The recommended lifestyle choices for health and wellness are:

  1. Eat healthy – daily portion of fruits and veggies, lots of water, reduced amounts of processed and sugar rich foods, consuming most of the diet in the first three-quarters of the day, avoiding eating large portions of meals and avoiding eating after 6pm, avoiding smoking and excess amounts of caffeine, alcohol or drugs.
  2. Regular exercise – recommended regime is moderate intensity exercise 4-5 times per week for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Relaxation – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – the proverb has been around since 1600s so no new brainwave here but the hectic lifestyle of modern days makes it all the more relevant. If we are not actively practicing it then it can be quite easy not to switch off at all in today’s whirlwind pace. De-stressing, mindfulness, yoga, pursuing favourite hobby – these are all the ways to practice it.

The general lifestyle choices we do make are:

  1. Eating – diet is rich in processed foods, based more on comfort, driven by busy lifestyles. We have become so busy creating “the lifestyle” that the very basis of a healthy lifestyle i.e. a good diet is the first casualty. Its much easier to find the exotic flowers or bushes in our boutique gardens than the basics of kitchen herbs as it’s not that much of a thing anymore.
  2. Exercise – the organs to get the most exercise in today’s world are the eyes, followed by the fingers as we spend a significant amount of times in front of our social media connector devices.
  3. Relaxation – well, all I can comment here is that this is a rarity nowadays. If you ever find yourself truly relaxed, cherish and relish the moment as it has perhaps become the most difficult to achieve out of all the lifestyle choices.

So this is a quick snapshot of what we need to be doing and what we are actually doing. Why this imbalance?

Surely we are smarter than the last generations and have more intelligence and knowledge than our predecessors so logically should have figured it all by now about the lifestyle choices thing but it’s clearly become our biggest problem so what’s gone wrong?

What drives our lifestyle choices? I like to think that positive drivers by far outweigh the negative drivers.

The biggest positive drivers of lifestyle choices are happiness and fulfilment.

At first glance both seem to indicate the one and the same thing but they are actually very different. Happiness is an instant emotion – of momentary gratification. Eating a chocolate makes me happy but does this fulfil my life? Eating healthy for the whole day, exercising adequately and finding time to relax makes me feel fulfilled but doesn’t necessarily make me happy – I can’t remember feeling the same happiness whilst eating berries as that felt whilst tucking into an ice cream Sunday!

So what is more important – happiness or fulfilment?

I’m sure I’m not the first to stumble upon this philosophical thought. Lifestyle is a choice. A choice driven by our quest for happiness and fulfilment. Whichever emotion is more important to us will dictate what lifestyle choices we make. And our lifestyle choices have a significant bearing on the state of our health and wellness. Choose well.

 

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