Every day we hear someone talk about health; This is good for you, that is bad for you, you should think more of your health, and so on.
But recently I realized that I don’t know what that means.
I used to think it meant how long I’d live.
I remember sitting around with my friends as a teenager, smoking cigarettes, gobbling up cheap burgers and drinking rough home-brewed vodka, declaring to anyone that would listen that this was the life and if it was bad for my health I’d just die before I’d hit thirty; better a good life than a long one.
And somehow I managed to be both very right and very wrong at that same time.
The quality of one’s life matters does matter much more than the sheer length of it.
But health and quality of life are practically synonymous.
Since then I have gotten to know people that take excellent care of their health: Some focus on what they eat, others on exercise, others yet on the chemicals and materials and some on all three. None of them do it to live longer. None of them have ever told me “Oh, I want to live to be 100 years old so I’m not eating anything I like, I torture myself to exercise and I only wear itchy clothes.”
It’s the exact opposite: They do it because eating healthy food makes them feel better than eating junk. They do it because exercising and being in shape makes them feel great. They do it because poisonous chemicals don’t.
Quality of life increases the better we take care of our health.
And I’m not just talking about energy levels either; a friend once told me that he didn’t feel that he should take too good care of his health because he had too much energy already. That’s insane!
When we are in good health we are sick less often, get less of the various aches and pains (migraine anyone?), our digestion is better and we feel strong enough to take on the world. Physical health has even been shown to be a great remedy for depression and all kinds of mental illnesses.
Health is feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Now, I’m not expecting you to change any of your habits right now. But the next time you do something you know is unhealthy, at least you know what you are giving up. Next time you get the super-sized value meal with extra mayo, see how comfortable you feel in your skin.