The Happiness Diet
There are a few ways that someone could interpret this title, but the best way is to just take it quite literally. These days more and more research is proving that positivity has significant health benefits. It can even go as far as to manifest weight loss and greater physical health as a result. Our culture is built on an unstable, hedonic treadmill that sends a message of discontent even after achieving what is supposed to make us happy.
Professor Timothy Sharp, the Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute in Sydney, Australia has taken time to research just how much a positive attitude can impact our waistlines. Sharp has boiled it down to “the tyranny of when.” People have gotten accustomed to saying “I’ll be happy when…,” fill in the blank. There is always something and it is too often not a something that people already have. Our society tells us that we constantly need the bigger, better, best option in order to feel content in life.
Tragically, this type of thinking has trickled down into the food industry. The desire for the biggest and best slice of pizza, that is drowning in multiple types of cheeses, no matter how appealing it may be- is not going to make us any happier. In fact, it too often has the opposite effect. We consume it with the hopes of nurturing a misplaced need for happiness and wind up with too many calories and at the end of the week- a few extra pounds. The McDonalds “Golden Arches” have become more iconic than the Christian cross, leading us ever deeper into the need to supersize and upgrade.
Particularly, when it comes to weight loss we imagine a happier self only after the appropriate amount of pounds have been dropped and an entirely new lifestyle has been installed. What Sharp proposes is that we instead pursue happiness first, and then health and weight loss will follow. It has been proven that positive thinking and a positive attitude greatly impact a person’s ability to make healthy decisions and to stay motivated. Alternatively, and not surprisingly, negative emotions result in feelings of depression, hopelessness, and helplessness. What people tend to do is punish themselves in order to achieve the desired happiness, or in this case the desired waistline.
Dieting is often in the form of pills, restrictive eating and punishing exercises. What happens as a result of these behaviors are negative emotions associated with eating; a burger one night results in a lengthy, painful workout at the gym the next, or some kind of toxic diet pill. What we should be doing instead is seeking a happier lifestyle, and once we do this the health will come more naturally. Studies have proven the wonderful benefits a healthy mind can have on the body. This way it will no longer be a matter of over-indulging and punishing, but instead will be about treating your body well because you care to. Happy people are more resilient and motivated, and far more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyles go hand-in-hand with a trim waistline and more energy for maintaining it.
About the author: Christina Lopez is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie. Christina specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home and design to health and beauty. With her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with car insurance quotes, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot more heart.