Overcome Health Issues – Finding Joy in Effort

snorkeling and finding joyThere is no written rule that says you have to exercise every day, eat kale and do yoga to stay physically healthy and fit.   For most of us, this is a good thing.  Besides, I find yoga kind of boring and think kale tastes like bitter green cardboard.

However, to maintain our health, we do have to exert ourself.

Yet, in today’s society, it’s easy to eat without meal preparation, exercise without leaving home, and take a pill when we get sick or want to feel better.

We try so hard to make everything easier, faster and more convenient. Yet  sometimes, our greatest joy comes after we make the greatest effort.

I firmly believe we can find great joy just by making an effort to accomplish our goals. You know the old saying, its not the destination. It’s the journey along the way.

However, nothing in life is more difficult than overcoming health issues, especially when we are in pain and are suffering.  Even making an effort to improve our health can be an intimidating adventure to say the least.

Finding Joy in Effort

Even though It’s hard to find joy when we are hurting. It is possible. Today let’s focus on how to overcome health issues, and work on discovering the true “joy in effort”.

As a person who is physically active, it’s easy to forget that many do not enjoy exerting themselves. Some will even physically shudder when you tell them they have to exercise (of course shuddering could institute some form of exercise).

Even after a second back surgery and subsequent nerve damage, I still desired to live the active lifestyle of my past. To help rehabilitate myself back to a normal assemblance of life, I tried many forms of physical and mental activities:

  • electro-theorapy (stimulating nerves to encourage muscle movement)
  • message (deep tissue worked best for me)
  • chiropractic adjustments (Upper body adjustment helped most because tension from injuries can often put stress on other parts of our body as well).
  • rehabilitation excercises (this is vital the first year or two after any significant injury)
  • accupuncture (Helped more than I thought and heres a link to one of the korean accupuncture treatments)
  • yoga/stretching techinques (stretching helps relieve muscle tension and strengthens our core)
  • Counseling sessions (sometimes you need some mental help when you’re in physical pain)
  • Aquatics (water excercise)
  • Structured excercise programs (I found walking works best)

I’ve also seen neurologists, spinal chord  and rehabilitation specialists in France, Germany, California, Hawaii, Singapore and Korea. Some of my efforts brought results, some brought only more pain. However, the key to real joy was not so much a successful outcome. But the change in my attitude while I made my effort along the way.

Even through all the changes,  strong medications, repetitive monotonous motion, tortuous electrical devices, travel and painful excercise, I learned how to enjoy the process of my actions.

We find joy in life not when we reach our destination, but when we learn how to enjoy the journey along the way.

Finding joy is not about determination. It’s about disposition. It’s learning to find joy in every process of life, even if it involves some pain and misery.

Basically, your attitude determines what you find joyful and what you find dreadful. Even in the harshest of conditions we can find joy in the effort we make.

Finding Joy in Diligence

Talk to anyone who excels in any activity, and you will find someone who discovered the joy in diligence. Being diligent is, of course, the only way to overcome health issues.  There is no one pill fits all; we must be diligent in all areas related to our health.

For example – After my second back surgery, I developed a disability known as drop foot.  This  is caused from nerve damage. Basically the nerves send an electrical signal to your muscles and makes them move. If the nerve dies, the message  no longer gets to the muscles.  Then because the muscle stops moving it will slowly deteriorate.

So basically, I’m no longer able to lift my foot up and down.  Because of this, It took a few years to learn to walk and function normally (or as normal as I can). However, I still have a tendency to trip a lot, and can even trip over my big toe (it hangs down the farthest).

The nerve damage also makes my foot feel like it’s asleep, and it never wakes up.  After a long day, the damaged nerves makes it feels like someone is stabbing my foot over and over.  Then, there is a constant pain that runs from my lower back, down my leg and to my foot. This has been, by far, the hardest issue to deal with. It also requires the most effort to keep it at bay.

Through all this, I found that diligence has helped me overcome the most.  Thus, finding Joy in diligence is one way to overcome even the most difficult of health issues.

So why dont we all just stop giving  half-hearted, weakly-pathetic effort, and start finding the determination and diligence to get up and keep doing whatever it takes.

Joy in diligence is the stimulation and satisfaction you find when you exert yourselves beyond what you think you were capable of.

Finding Joy in Strength of Spirit

The human body is an incredible machine, and will most often submit to the determination of our spirit and overcome any difficulty.  So if you’ve never done something beyond yourself, then there is no time like the present.

Remember, the human spirit is what sets us apart from many other living things.  This is why we have churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, and monkeys don’t.   We have a spiritual side – a side that longs to know the unknown – a part of us that reaches beyond the physical world and sees us through the toughest of times.

It is in this part where Joy truly resides.  That unshakable inner peace that’s seen many suffering souls through the trials and tribulations of generation upon generation.

This is why finding joy in strength of spirit is so important.  One way to do this is to work on our spiritual self even as we work on our physical self.

Find a good church, talk to your religious friends, read a bible, listen to spiritual songs, find a place to pray and meditate. It’s amazing how much joy one can find when we stop neglecting the one area that’s helped so many others through even the worst of health issues.

Finding Joy in Strength – Conclusion

Most often I believe that making any effort is better than making no effort at all.  Even when our bodies finally succumb to the ravages of time, we can be confident that the greatest joy is found when we make an effort to try.

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2 Comments

  1. Greetings Chris,

    It has been awhile since I chatted with you. I don’t know if you remember me or not. I meant you in Itaewon last year. I still follow your blog or columns and its very interesting that the current topic of health is one that hits home for me right now. I have been dealing with some back pain over the last couple of weeks, however it has not deterred me as well. Initially, I was depressed after being a runner for so many years, but all I did was changed my activities to allow me the comfort of the great outdoors and still deal with the issues at hand.

    Thanks again for the article. BTW: I still ride my bike everyday as especially as the weather becomes warmer.

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