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 awful.

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

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 have overlooked that sometimes our greatest joy comes after we make the greatest effort.

Yes, it is possible to find joy just by making an effort to accomplish our goals or live our dreams. However, nothing in life is more difficult than overcoming health issues, especially when we are in pain and are suffering.

It’s hard to find joy when we are hurting. Yet it is possible.

Finding Joy in Effort

Today we would like to focus on those of us who want 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 my second back surgery and subsequent nerve damage, I still desired to live the active lifestyle I once took for granted. To overcome these many health issues, I’ve been through different forms of physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation programs.

One thing that always amazes me is how many people whine and complain about how hard their rehab is. I have seen many sour-faced people give their therapists a hard time and watched people grumble because they had to do some repetitive motion over and over again.

For me, it was a joy just to be able to get up on my own and walk. Even if I had to suffer through strong medications, repetitive monotonous motion, and tortuous electrical devices, I was going to enjoy the process.

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 pain and misery along the way.

Your attitude is basically what determines what you find joyful or 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 an 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 a number of back injuries and surgeries, I developed a disability known as drop foot.  This means the muscles in my leg died (due to nerve damage) and I’m no longer able to lift my foot up and down.  Even while I write this, I am in pain and my foot feels like it’s constantly asleep, and there is constant pain in my back, leg and foot.

Even through years of pain, rehabilitation, medication, doctors and everything else, I learned that diligence was the only way I would overcome.

It took me 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).

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 diligence is one way that we can all overcome even the most difficult of health issues. So stop giving a half-hearted, weakly-pathetic effort, and start finding the determination and diligence to get up and keep doing whatever it takes.

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 and dolphins do not.   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 has seen so many people through 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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  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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