For many years now, I have felt almost guilty when those around me come down with some variation of a cold or the flu and I do not. How often does a “normal” person get sick, anyway? You are probably a normal person, perhaps you can tell me.
I wrote to a university that has a Psychology of Happiness department and offered to be a test subject, but they never got back to me. If I never get sick, I need to share the secret with others. If only I knew the secret myself.
My health habits are underwhelming. I won’t even list them on the off chance that someone might follow them. Fresh fruits and vegetable, regular exercise-good stuff, do that. But I do not.
Let me not exaggerate, I might come down with a brief cold once or twice a year. It lasts 24 hours at most and then I’m back to bouncing around. I have gone to help households stricken by some bug and when they express gratitude for my sacrifice, assuming I will also be stricken, I hasten to explain that I will not get sick. I’m not sure they believe me. Sometimes they call in a few days. “So, how are you feeling?” they ask. “Superduper, I reply.”
I have a theory. I am almost always happy, though human. I have the same amount of bad things happen to me as anyone, but I have learned that I have a choice. I can dwell on what I have lost or dwell on what I still have. I can take my thoughts captive-it’s just an acquired skill and I’m sure anyone can learn it, if I have.
On the rare occasions when I do get sick, I find that this was preceded by being discouraged. Interesting word, “discouraged.” It implies I once had courage, but I’ve lost it somehow. Once again, I’m dwelling on something I’ve lost, some hope that has been deferred. I need a new hope to replace it.
I have no objection to medicines or vitamins. If I feel sickish I take EmergenC and watch stand-up comedy on Youtube until I’m well. If visions of strawberries intrude into my thoughts, I take some vitamin C. Our bodies are always trying to tell us things, we should listen more often.
I know people would like this post better if I listed “10 Ways to Stay Healthy” instead of offering difficult advice like “take your thoughts captive.” But I really want to help instead of just tickling your ears, so I herein offer what I have experienced.
OK, OK: Here are THREE Ways to Stay Healthy-
- Think about what you’re thinking about-regard fear, worry and negative thoughts with the same alarm as you would feel upon entering an Ebola virus ward.
- Choose to be happy-“A man is just about as happy as he chooses to be.” Abe Lincoln
- Listen to your body
Robert Saplosky on Physical Effects of Stress
Characteristics of Happy People