At least you have your health….

I’ve been ill lately, and it was like my life had fallen apart. I couldn’t get things done, I felt bad about myself, I wasn’t getting anywhere in life. It wasn’t a serious illness, just one of those nasty infections in the head and the chest. Coughing, sleeplessness, blocked-up head…. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story. It seems like it has been going on for months, but I think the worst is over now, and I’m feeling like I can get on top of things again.

Have I been happy? I’d have to say no, I’ve been fairly unhappy. Health – 5-6 out of 10; Happiness – 3-4 out of 10. I’ve been rereading Harry Potter instead of writing blogs and being productive, and as much as I’ve enjoyed Harry Potter it’s not making me as happy as I am when I’m achieving goals and doing constructive stuff. No blog, no business-building, not much of anything really. And things that I really dislike doing are not being done, like housework; and looking at the carpet that needs vacuuming and the kitchen floor that needs scrubbing makes me less happy than I am when I look at it after it has been cleaned (no matter who does the actual cleaning!).

And I’ve been relying a bit on that old fallback stress-reducer – retail therapy! It’s a while since I’ve fallen for this, making myself feel better by acquiring stuff on eBay or in the local shopping mall, and I’m sure it’s related to being ill, since I didn’t have these cravings earlier in the year. I’ve been craving chocolate as well, another sure sign of unhappiness. The story of how I had previously managed to reduce my chocolate cravings are another story…

Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve been getting some work done, which makes me feel better about myself, and I’ve been getting out and about and seeing other people. No longer locked in my house seeing nobody but my husband, I am a social creature again, and I’m sure that this is making me happier as well.

So I’m convinced, as if I needed to be, that bad health means less happiness. Not only do I feel physically terrible but I can’t do the things that make me happy – working on something I enjoy; seeing other people; being useful and all that; and even the chocolate and the shopping doesn’t really help except in a short-term, superficial way. Today I did something I enjoy that I haven’t done for months – I repotted some neglected plants – and I feel so pleased with myself that I’ve come inside to write a blog about happiness, something I haven’t done for weeks. So as my health has improved my happiness has increased as I’ve been able to do things that make me happy.

Does it work the other way around? Can happiness make you healthier? Apparently, yes; if you are happy you will live up to 9 years longer, according to my current favourite TV program The Happiness Formula on BBC World. I’ll be looking into that one more thoroughly in a future blog.