The 'miss list': why it's the little things that define our health!
What's the first thing that comes to mind when discussing health? It tends to be the scary stuff, like cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Avoiding these means we're on the right path towards a long and fruitful life. Right?
Well, sort of. While staying free of serious disease is certainly vital to feeling healthy, so too are the simpler things in life. A short walk in the park, a pint with friends in a cosy pub, watching our favourite television programme: all are everyday activities that we routinely take for granted, made possible by staying healthy.
A survey released today reveals the things we Brits would long for if we weren't able to do them, and there are some surprising results.
Top of the 'miss list' was socialising, with 56pc of the 4,062 people questioned saying they'd miss it most. Nothing shocking there. But in second and third place came unexpected answers. 55pc of people said they'd miss showering and bathing, while driving came next (43pc), above eating out, cooking, exercising and playing with the kids.
The research, conducted by Bupa Health Clinics, found that a staggering seven out of 10 Brits, which translates to more than 36 million people, do not correlate good health with the ability to do the everyday activities we'd so miss if taken away from us.
Dr Petra Simic, Clinical Director at Bupa Health Clinics, said: "The disconnect between health and the ability to enjoy everyday things like walking the dog or driving a car is something we see in our clinics all the time. When people consider their health they automatically think about the big scary stuff; two-thirds of those we surveyed think being in good health means not having a life-threatening or serious illness."
The study found it often takes a health scare or a life-changing moment to prompt us to fully appreciate daily life. A health issue, losing someone close, or becoming a parent, are all seen as reasons to reassess how we experience our lives.
According to Stephen Buckley, of mental health charity Mind, "Small things can make a real difference to our wellbeing. Whether it's building time into the day to get out for a walk or spending time connecting with friends and family, maintaining positive wellbeing can help us live the lives we want to."
My experience with cancer gave me a new lens in which to view the world - and I feel incredibly lucky to experience the beauty that surrounds me every day and still have a place in itLizzie Carr
To increase awareness of the 'miss list', Bupa Health Clinics is today launching #EverydayMoments, a campaign to encourage the public to share on social media the small moments that make them happy.
When Lizzie Carr was diagnosed with thyroid cancer aged 25 it was the kick she needed in order to live every day to the fullest. Five years on, having been given the all clear, she's determined to make the most of life. "I'll never take going for a run in the woods or paddle boarding down the river for granted again", she says.
Writing on her blog, Lizzie Outside, Carr has given her full backing to the #EverydayMoments campaign. She says she wants everyone to make the most of life, not only those who have been through a significant health scare.
"Cancer, for all its downfalls, taught me to live with real passion and courage", she writes. "It took being confronted with the prospect of losing my life to really appreciate just how valuable and fragile it truly is.
"My experience with cancer gave me a new lens in which to view the world - and I feel incredibly lucky to experience the beauty that surrounds me every day and still have a place in it."
Though cancer encouraged Carr to begin a raft of experiences that may not be considered 'every day', it also made her recognise the importance of the more mundane. "It forced me to evaluate what was important and embrace the second chance I'd been given."
And Carr fully supports the campaign urging the British public to ensure a healthy mental and physical state through enjoying the most out of everyday life. "You can never predict the future but you can make sure you're giving yourself the best possible chance by looking after yourself now", she concludes.