“When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands.”
We will now scrape Grace off the ceiling.
I forget what website I got that quote from, which is fortunate for that website. Yes, nutrition, rest and exercise have a place in maintaining adequate health for most people sooner or later, but ye gods… Adopting this approach as a sina qua non of mental health, which is screamed at us regularly both by the commercially motivated (can you spell Nike) and the benevolently motivated, has made me miserable.
I bloody hate exercise, but I do a few miles of walking most days because I don’t want to be a cardiovascular slob, not because it contributes anything to my present happiness. If I had access to a riding horse, I’d probably do that instead because I do love me a pony. I eat a very proper diet—very few complex carbs, virtually no gluten, few processed foods, little sweets, daily fruits and veggies, usually less than 1500 calories daily—and I remain moderately, stubbornly obese.
What gives me the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles has nothing to do with that pious, simplistic little prescription at the top of the page, and never has. At the points in my life when I’ve been the most vigilant about rest, exercise and diet, I’ve also been the most cranky and unhappy. I suspect I was trying to make somebody else’s canon for achieving happiness work for me because I didn’t feel entitled to have one of my own, or because a bodily prescription for an emotional deficit was all I could comprehend.
What keeps my resilience tank topped up is a) pursuing my passions, b) connecting with the people who love me, and c) knowing my personal rules. For the next little while, I’ll be blogging about these pillars of happiness-according-to-Grace. And if you see somebody out tearing around the Maryland countryside doing six-minute-pace for five miles, that sure as heck won’t be me (and I won’t be standing downwind of them either).
OK, so what do you absolutely have to have to be happy, (as opposed to physically fit, for some of us), and how did you figure this out?