Anything in excess is unhealthy ?

Anything in excess is unhealthy ?

I have lived in India throughout my life. We have a temperate climate throughout the year.  It is mostly sunny and temperatures range in the mid thirties centigrade in most parts of the country.  We have got used to it and have acclimatised ourselves to this weather.  One interesting thing I have noticed is that our eating habits and even our clothing patterns are determined by the weather of the place we live in.  This is nature’s way of helping us to adapt to the vagaries of the weather.

Many of us tend to complain when it is very hot during summer.  We pray to God to keep the Sun away for a few days.  On the other hand when it rains in the monsoon, we eagerly look forward to the rains.  The environs are green and we enjoy it for some time.  But as the rains persist and our daily life gets paralysed, we pray to God to keep the rains away.  Three months of rains and cloudy and murky days make us depressed and we want the Sun to come out again.

It is an interesting cycle of life.  We hate the Sun when it is hot and hate the rain when the Sun does not come out.  We look forward to the winters to have some fun.  But when the temperature dips below zero degrees centrigade in some places we again regret.  So, heat, rain or cold is not tolerable, when in excess.  This implies that anything in excess is not good for life.   The earlier we realise it the better it is for us.

If we look at our eating habits also this axiom would be true.  We may like sweets and may enjoy eating them.  But if we have excess of sweets, it may be harmful for our health and at a later stage we may end up with diabetes.  This is also true for any of our habits and hobbies.  Walking is good for health.  But at the same if we over stress ourselves by going for endless walks every day we may harm our health more than benefit from it.

This means anything in life in excess may not be good for us.  We need to strike the right balance for everything.  It does not matter if it is food, hobbies or work.  We have to strike a balance between work and home.  If we over strain ourselves at work, our relationships at home could get impacted.  If we do not work hard and are content in spending more time at home and less focus on our work, our career could get impacted.

Even in life, we need to ensure that we do not go overboard on anything. This means that good life is all about balancing and optimising resources.  Excess of anything may be harmful.  We wish our kids to put on weight when they are babies.  But over weight and obese children may never be the healthiest.  It is up to us to draw the line for everything and know when we are crossing it.

In the photo above, the sun was welcome after a long long monsoon in Mumbai.

Life gives us enough opportunities and resources.  It is up to to manage it well.

S Ramesh Shankar

“How much is good enough ?”

If each of us ask ourselves, “how much money is good enough?”to lead a happy life, we may not give the same answer.  Each of us try our best to be successful in life.  Each of us define success in our own way.  There is nothing right or wrong about our own definitions in life.  After all, each of us have a way of defining success and happiness in life and have our own priorities.

As we grow in life and career, we work hard and put our best foot forward.  We assimilate  material wealth one by one as we gradually increase our purchasing power in life.  We buy a two wheeler, a car, a house and so on.  Every time, we think we have arrived in life, we dream for more.  The needs increase and so does the greed.  In my view, there is nothing wrong with this journey.  We all have gone through it and so will the future generations.

However, it may be worthwhile to understand why this happens ?  If you ask a college student, when she would settle and be happy in life, she may say, the day I get a job and settle down.   If you ask a single working professional,when he wants to get married, he might say that the day I am able to stand on my own feet, I will.   If you ask a newly married couple, if they have arrived in life, they would say yes the day they are blessed with a kid.  If you ask a young mother, if she considers all her needs in life fulfilled, she may say yes the day her child finishes her schooling.  Then, you may ask a middle aged parent, if he is happy, he may say the day his child finishes education, gets a job and gets married.  This way the cycle repeats itself.

Does this mean that we are never happy in life ?  Does this mean that nobody feels content with what they have ?  It may or may not be true.  It is human nature to seek more from life all the time.  As I said, all of us go through this cycle of life.  Some of us realize that this is an endless cycle sooner than others.  It is this ability of fulfilling needs and balancing greed, which may help us to the road  of happiness.

I remember I started my career with a meagre salary in 1981.  I have grown in my professional and personal life.  However, I did realize somewhere in my mid career years that happiness and wealth do not necessarily have a direct correlation.  You could be happy in life with whatever you have or be unhappy in life with all that you dream to have and elusive today.  Happiness is a state of mind.  It’s an attitude to life and living.  Happiness is derived from contentment and our ability to balance need and greed.  We need to fulfill our needs and not our greed.  

Hence, if I try to answer the same question today- ” How much in life is good enough ? ” – I would say that much, which fulfills all your needs.  The day we can draw the line between need and greed and also learn to be content in life, we may be happy.   Many a time, we wait for a tomorrow to be happy in life.  That tomorrow may not arrive.  It may be a good idea to enjoy today with whatever we have rather than regret waiting for that elusive tomorrow in life, which never arrives.

Like in the photo above, my wife was filled with joy after buying this attire in a road side shop in Cairo. It is not the brand or the price of the dress but the joy of being colourful and content with what you have.

The choice to be happy or unhappy is always with us. Enjoy today, forget tomorrow.

S Ramesh Shankar