“A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world”~John Locke
Mind, body and spirit are often considered together and associated with the road to happiness. John Locke’s quote evidences the contemplated relationship between the physical, mental and spiritual contributors to our being. He also understood how pursuit of happiness is inextricably intertwined with personal liberty. Happiness is a big deal in the larger context of life. However, all too often, happiness and its pursuit are only considered in the context of one’s mood or disposition. Such a narrow vision of happiness is self-limiting and unlikely to lead one in pursuit of happiness at all. There is more to the journey and the starting point may be far from where most think it begins.
To pursue happiness, one must first become sound of body; then, the mind and spirit will follow. Seem like a strange approach? Perhaps, but a different approach often seems strange. The fact that the idea seems strange or different is the reason why so many fall short of the happiness mark. We’ve become more and more accustomed to achievement through “education” or “intelligence” or “finding ourselves” rather than taking action to improve ourselves. Taking action to exercise is as simple as going for a walk, picking a healthy food as opposed to sugar, or spending thirty minutes lifting weights instead of thirty minutes on Facebook. Sometimes the easiest path is the path not taken, perhaps because it just seems too easy. It is.
There are several reasons why the body comes first and should come first. First, we are visual people. We evaluate everyone we see “at first sight” including ourselves. Look in the mirror—does that image make you think, “I am happy?” If yes, great because you are ready to move on. If not, then you already have all the information and incentive you need to act. Get a plan and improve yourself to the perfect body you were gifted at birth. Second, think of the ol’ saying “if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” Your health or lack thereof is your body. If you want to have something that lasts then you must work yourself away from the nothing that ill health brings. Getting your body right starts you on the path to getting the rest right as well. Third, you have a moral obligation to yourself and to those you love to be your best. Being your best makes them want to be their best right back. Getting yourself on track, helping those you care about to get on track by advancing your life and pursuit of happiness all at the same time.
A sound body is key to a sound mind. The mind is too often occupied by worry of ill health or self-deprecating thoughts related to weight or other issues. Poor physical health and appearance have created innumerable cliques, divided people socially and caused endless mental suffering for those who have been ridiculed or even ostracized. The number of such casualties is countless yet their suffering fades away into the fog of time without intervention. The knee-jerk response to those of unsound body, whether ourself or another, is to reassure with “you look fine” or “you’re not over weight” and so on. The current mindset that it is okay to be obese has complicated the issue further by accepting failure as the new normal. Assuring others that it is okay to be of unsound body ensures that they will be of unsound mind and spirit as well. That is right where the unhappy want you—within their ranks.
Pursing the happiness created by pursuing a sound body through action right NOW changes your life. Lying to others, or worse, to yourself by accepting anything less than a fit body is choosing to be unhappy. Make a change. Exercise your pursuit of happiness and get fit. The others will follow as Locke recognized.