Have you ever wanted something to happen so badly in your life that you could visualize exactly how it would feel? The fantasy of having that dream job, the perfect figure, the house on the lake...this list could continue indefinitely.
The emotion of desire is extremely powerful and we make a lot of decisions in life based on our human desires.
According to philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1687), "human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action."
Scientific evidence also suggests basic human desires are both evolutionary and instinctual. The human emotion of desire feeds our instinct for human survival. In other words, desire motivates us to obtain basic human needs such as air, food, water, sex, and shelter.
If I could choose any emotion to be paired with desire, I would choose passion. We experience the feeling of desire on a daily basis. But, do we all experience passion? Passion is a feeling of love, affection, appreciation, devotion, and respect. Is passion needed for human survival? Is passion a "fundamental motivation of all human action?"
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, we need to have psychological and safety needs met before we have the ability to fulfill the need of love (passion) and belongingness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs).
So, what do the emotions, desire and passion have to do with living a healthy lifestyle?
First of all, some individuals may not even have a desire to live a healthy lifestyle. There are individuals that may have a desire to obtain a healthy weight, but the motivation piece is missing for them to actively seek a healthy lifestyle.
For those of us that desire to obtain a healthy weight, the motivation of having a thin or muscular figure may be enough to fulfill the need to obtain a healthy lifestyle.
And finally, there are other individuals who obtain a healthy weight because they have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle. These individuals appreciate life as an individual journey of learning and growth. These individuals appreciate and respect their bodies as a whole (mentally, physically and spiritually) rather than just a part (physical body).
Living a healthy lifestyle is not easy. If it were easy, two-thirds of our country would not be overweight, obese, or super-obese. We are faced with distractions that take our minds away from living a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. For example, the temptation to grab a burger and fries, or to purchase convenience food products at the grocery store are extremely high.
But, what if we learned to appreciate our bodies as a whole, and not just a part. If we fell in love with ourselves and accepted all of the qualities we liked and didn't like about ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, then would we be willing to make healthier choices on a continual basis because we have a passion for our lives?
"Healthy" is more than a noun. "Healthy" is also a verb. To be "healthy" one must take action.
If I could create a pyramid for living a healthy lifestyle, it would be in accordance to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. To begin with, the fundamental psychological need required would be desire. In my opinion, a desire to be healthy needs to exist before any action takes place.
After a desire is present for living a healthy life, one must take action. Actions may include purchasing healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and proteins), or using the stairs rather than the elevator. A feeling of love for yourself may occur as a result because you made choices that positively impacted your lifestyle.
In addition, by increasing activity levels and consuming healthy foods, you may have increased self-esteem, confidence and self-respect because you are taking actions to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
And finally, with self-actualization you will be able to problem solve challenges you face on a daily basis that interfere with the desire to live a healthy lifestyle. By analyzing the facts in your personal life that may distract from your personal goal of health, you can then create alternative goals to assist you to continue down the healthy lifestyle pathway.
The hardest obstacles that we need to overcome in life are not easy, but completely worthwhile. Living a healthy lifestyle takes strength, accountability, desire, and an element of passion. Becoming passionate about your health can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
If we stop caring about our health, then we stop caring about our life. If we do not have a balance within our mind, body, and spirit, then our health will be jeopardized as a result.
If you haven't taken the first step down the healthy living journey, I am hoping I provided a sense of desire for you to do so after reading this post. YOU ARE WORTH IT!