Choosing Happiness: Health across the Life span

Choosing Happiness: Health across the Life span


Who we are now and who we will become one day is a journey.

I am about to describe the odyssey marked with fear, etched with courage, driven by strength. The odyssey passes through emotion available in our affective spectrum intersecting with the experiences of a very long and happy life span.

This is the very crux of our health as living beings. Our threshold to be content, comfortable, and find satisfying meaning with what we have become and who we are now as people. There is no more significant measure of our happiness than how we feel about ourselves. The more fantastic realm of our peers, friends, family, and the larger world needs to include happiness.

People get caught up in the endpoints. I mean that the extremes of this spectrum. The exterior self and the deepest interior are spaces where no person can exist for too long without feeling unbalanced. Indeed someone who is caught up in the frontier of what is truly important is what should be front and center. 

No person can function or exist peacefully for too long if they exist at odds with their community. There is no question that anyone caught up in such an extreme state will experience a shift in their mental status over time. Perception is always our own in terms of how we see and understand the world around us. How long can you persist with making mistakes without making a course correction?

Any immensely disproportionate shift in mental status can become, trigger, and activate psychosis as you approach the very limits of behavioral and command processing data from interpretation. Sometimes, without cause or warning, a shift can occur with immense speed and test the limits of our command over our personal reality. 

Outward behaviors, articulations, and demeanor are all regulated by the mind. Should something will fail us during such a radical shift in perception are red flags that sickness could be approaching if your behaviors aren’t changed. 

Many of us wonder where and when the bridge to ‘lesser managed’ states or behaviors in need of further regulation will mean our mental breaking point? 

How much can we handle before totally collapsing? 

All of this depends on how healthy we are before we succumb to new active symptoms without warning. 

This is why we always need to be our best selves at all times. 

Only when we live out our lives at our healthiest peaks will there be enough space from wellness to free fall to the lowest low before our lives become too unsafe to keep going moving forward in life.

Our evolution is not a gift bestowed by good fortune. It is instead of our privilege as people to choose for ourselves who we want to be. We grow beyond our present self through self-determination and the want for a change.

So why do some of us stay the same? And others choose to transform themselves?

I would hazard to say the difference between these two is not a question of a can but the presence of our capacity to capture a greater need to grow. The company of this mobility, the seeds of transformation and change, only sprout when we are at an impasse.

This impasse or holding pattern plagues our soul and demands that we move forward and beyond our current status and achieve what we set out to accomplish. There is no wrong or good self. We need, desire and think will ultimately be the righteous direction we choose, which projects and maps out the pathway to our next great transformation. Choosing to be a criminal or wayward soul and partake in crime, a life which brings with it pain, heartache, and bad fortune, is not an extension of who we are but instead, what we are doing, which continues to be at odds with our purpose and our meaning in life.

Choosing to live a life of happiness, goodwill, and jovial nature is always our choice. Our ability and capacity to know what we need to exist without sickness and fate are bound in our humanity’s misunderstanding.

What will continue to drive us into the next significant phase of life hinges on our good intentions and willingness to challenge the tremendous stuck points with persistence, determination, and will to move beyond the immediate perception and needs of the moment?

The constraints of today are just that. 

Tomorrow happiness is in reach.

J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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