H is for Hope and Health – #AtoZChallenge2018
Whether you realize it or not our state of health can often be tied to our emotional state, be it good or bad. When we are depressed it is more likely that our health may feel significantly worse to us. When we are happy it is much more likely that we will pay less attention to our health issues.
Unfortunately for many people chronic health issues and in particular chronic pain or disability, can lead to depression as a result of many factors which can include grieving our formerly healthy self, or even hopelessness, or anything in between. What many don’t realize is the importance of our mental and emotional health can have on our physical health. I’m neither stating, nor implying, that our physical ailments are caused by our mind. Rather I am pointing out the simple fact that our mood and state of mind can influence our physical health.
When we are sad, depressed, grieving etcetera it is more likely that we can withdraw from others, and may find it exhausting just to force ourselves to get out of bed in the morning. If you suffer from a physical issue, the immobility can compound your problems. Conversely if you are feeling very good, happy, and hopeful you may find that while you may pay a consequence for pushing your physical limits a bit too far, that you are more willing and able to cope with the after effects due to the happiness you feel.
For example, let’s say you are like myself, and hate to be cooped up in the house all the time. However walking is painful for you. Whether consciously or subconsciously we weigh the pros and cons of, in this case, taking a walk outside in our minds before making a decision either way. While I know I will hurt more for taking that walk and forcing my body to do things it may not particularly like it is worth it to me for the boost in mood it will give me by getting out of the house.
Maybe I walk to the grocery store to get a little item we need in the house, or even to the closest convenience store for a small cup of coffee. Getting out of the house does many things for us. It gives us hope that we can still have an enjoyable life despite our challenges. It provides a basic human need for socialization. A short walk provides fresh air and sunlight and boosts our mood in ways that may not even be understood or explainable.
Last summer when we had a pool up for the grandkids, I would make myself go outside each and every day just to skim and vacuum the pool. I did this for a variety of reasons. Firstly it gave me a purpose to get out of the house on the days maybe I didn’t feel like it, hurt too much, or just plain didn’t want to. Secondly it made me feel as if I were contributing to the household by doing a necessary task even when there are some things around the house that were nearly impossible for me to do physically. Lastly it gave me hope that I could be a productive member of the household on the days when I really didn’t feel like I was.
Be mindful of your mental or emotional state an dhow it can influence your particular situation. I’m not saying everybody has to practice yoga, meditation, or any particular sort of mindfulness technique. What I am saying is to be aware of how your moods may influence your physical health, and it goes without saying that your physical health can affect your moods.
It is when we feel as if we’re stuck in a hopeless situation, as we may feel from time to time, it is imperative that we acknowledge that feeling, and address it by doing something that will give us hope. Whether it is something as simple as reading a book on the porch, taking a walk, or whatever makes you feel good about life.
How do you keep hope despite the bad or challenging days? What works for you?