The Happiness Factor

downloadThe other day I came home from work to the not uncommon sight of my two teen-aged sons zoned out in front of the TV.  This immediately triggered the universal cry known to all working mothers of: “ISYOURHOMEWORKDONE DIDYOUWALKTHEDOG WHYARETHEREDISHESINTHESINK”!!!!  Now usually this is met with stunned silence…not because they are surprised but just because the poor little dears seem genetically engineered not to hear the ‘mother call’.  This time however I got a major “SHHHHHHHH!!!!!”.  Not a good response at 6 pm.   But then I noticed what they were watching and sat down to join them.

If you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary called ‘Happy’ I highly encourage you to do so.  It explores what makes people happy and introduces you to the most incredible people along the way.  Turns out 50% of our happiness results from our genetics.  A mere 10% is the result of our circumstances, that being possessions, wealth, power, social standing.  40% is within our control, for example as a result of helping others, making and nurturing relationships, positive thinking.  40% !!!  Now that makes me…happy :).

Towards the end of the program a woman suggests that on a weekly basis you keep a ‘grateful diary’ and write down 5 things for which you are grateful.  I decided to do this today and made a point of doing it without thinking (hmmm that came out poorly) and the first thing I immediately wrote down was…no not my kids and that surprised me…my health.  Next came family which of course includes the brats, then came my kids again.  I continued on with home (not to be confused with ‘house’…my house could use a stick of dynamite), friends, neighbourhood, work and my dog Wally.  I’ve put these into my phone and plan to add to this weekly as the woman suggested.

Now I have to admit that I felt rather guilty that my first automatic entry was ‘health’ and not ‘kids’…what kind of a mother am I??? (a nagging one some might say…).  When I thought about it though I realized that without my health I wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the other things on my list.  That brings me back to the 10% of our happiness for which material things are responsible.  A mere 10%.  Nowhere on my list was there a material item and I suspect that if any of you were to start a list, yours would not include ‘fancy car, shiny bling, tiger on a gold leash’ etc. (welllll a tiger would be cool…)

The unfortunate thing is that until we don’t have our health, most of us I think tend to take it for granted.  Think back to that whopping 40% of our potential for happiness that is within our control… that is a huge percentage when you think about it.  Getting ourselves and keeping ourselves healthy is a major way to contribute to that happiness potential.  And the best thing is it is within our control!!!  WE ARE THE MASTERS OF OUR OWN DOMAIN!!! 🙂

So whadda we gonna do about it right?  Most people reading this blog have a gastric band. The band is a really good tool, which when adjusted and used properly, controls the hunger one would normally feel after consuming a smaller portion of food.  So ask yourself:  is it doing that?  No?  Then get some help from your clinic and figure out why.  It always surprises me when patients are complacent about bands that are not functioning properly.  We sometimes will hear “well no one has contacted me”.   Now I’m not allowed to, but when I hear this I want to scream (politely of course) “are you kidding me?!”  If you had a car that wasn’t running properly would you wait for the car dealer who sold it to you to call you up?  Of course not!  You would be on the phone complaining!  Same goes for your band.  If it’s not working call your clinic and get some help.

The next step is choosing the right foods in the right portions.  We all know what our bodies need:  small amounts of good food eaten mindfully.  This applies to anyone, banded or not.  We need to choose food that will support and nourish our bodies and promote health.  If you are confused about food choices that’s ok, there is lots of help out there.  Most clinics offer the support of a registered dietitian so I encourage you to use them.  They are a wealth of knowledge and information.

Step three is moving that body.  Every day.  Consider this a gift and open it every single day for 30 minutes minimum.  Do something you enjoy:  walk, swim, ride, dance.  Just get those ‘happy hormones’, endorphins pumping!  Man you will be giddy!!!  The old saying ‘the less you do the less you want to do’ is true.  Once you get moving and making physical activity a part of your every day I PROMISE you it will become something you want to do and something that makes you happy…especially when you start to reap the benefits.

I firmly believe that the first step to happiness is health and we all have it within our control to improve our health.  Yes it takes work and effort and some sacrifices but the end result is worth more than anything we can buy!!!

I encourage you all to make a ‘grateful list’ as the woman on ‘Happy’ suggested.  Write down 5 things for which you are grateful and add to it weekly.  I’ve only just started today but  have looked at it countless times and have been mentally adding to it.  It really is all about the ‘little’ things.  I would be interested in hearing what everyone’s first 5 are…

Yours in health and happiness :),





About BodyWell Fitness

I am a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, and Lapband Education Coach. I have worked since 2005 with the obese population and over 5000 lapband/gastric banded patients helping them to understand life with a gastric band, eat well, lose weight, get physically and mentally fit, become healthy and stay motivated. It is my goal to provide information, share knowledge and motivate people to help them reach their hopes and dreams.
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