I was switching channels when I heard a woman say, “Food is the only thing that makes me happy.” I stopped and watched a 900-pound, bedridden woman shovel a huge piece of cake into her mouth. That made me stop and think, what is happiness?
Many people don’t understand that emotional health creates physical and mental reality. When we fail to focus on healing ourselves, we can look for happiness in all the wrong places. Some people escape by turning to drugs, alcohol, or sex, while others find control and relief in food.
Our bodies are magical energy that absorbs how we handle our emotional well-being, affecting our mind, body, and spirit. Stress, anxiety, physical, mental, and sexual abuse can cause excess adrenaline and other problems, leading to heart palpitations, lack of sleep, digestive problems, breathing difficulties, and, over time, various illnesses and diseases.
The more emotionally crippled we become, the more money we spend on doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, medications, and other health services. How we handle our emotions can make us strong and resilient despite what has happened in our past, or we can become emotionally imbalanced and slowly kill ourselves. Even life-saving food can be a killer!
I am not an expert on this topic, but I know what I’ve seen as a crime and violence prevention specialist. Obesity is an epidemic, costing $173 billion in 2019. Look at old movies from the thirties, forties, and fifties. We don’t see many overweight people. Life was less stressful; families played and worked together, neighbors knew and trusted each other, and there was less crime and violence. However, in high-crime neighborhoods, I saw obesity forty years ago, which wasn’t just about poverty but how people reacted to fear and stress by hiding behind closed doors. I saw them losing their health and safety as they lost human connections.
Many Americans don’t understand humans are spiritual beings who depend on social connections. How we emotionally react to life can kill us or keep us safe and healthy.
Everyone has anxiety and fear, but how we handle anger can determine our health. Do we escape our emotions with drugs, alcohol, or food? Do we get angry or violent and blame others? Do we become passive and blame ourselves? Or do we stay spiritually centered and work together to solve problems?
Many low-income Americans do not panic but have learned to stay calm under stress. They often focussed on family support, neighborhood, or community connections and found inner peace through prayer or mediation. They transformed depression into courage, found wisdom that transformed fear and energized their spirit with a commitment to help others. Emotional pain can be transformed into patience, calmness, and serenity, but it takes commitment, faith, and being surrounded by people who care.
Happiness is what we value and what we choose to believe.
How many people will die without understanding that their health and safety depend on how they react to the world around them? What do we want for our families and future? How can we find health and safety? It all boils down to knowing that we are spiritual beings with the inner power to heal ourselves. When we focus on loving who we are, helping others, and focusing on faith in a higher power, we will discover the wisdom that can guide us to real happiness and success.