Paediatric Centre of Excellence at Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
August 28, 2018
A Broken Heart – How Emotions can Damage Your Heart’s Health
September 26, 2018

Happy Family, Healthy Family

Happiness is a result of good mental health. In fact, your health depends on your happiness to a far greater degree than most people realise. Good mental health is essential in maintaining good physical health and your family plays a crucial role in keeping each other mentally and therefore physically happy.

Isn’t health simply a matter of diet and exercise?

Although a healthy diet and regular exercise play an important part, there are other contributing factors to having a healthy family. There is a saying, ‘families that pray together, stay together’. This is also true of families that live together, eat together, play together and plan together.

Eating in front of the TV does not promote family bonding. Instead, it erroneously teaches your children that communication is not important. Families that turn off the television and eat and talk at the dinner table together every day, develop stronger bonds and mentally healthier children.

Families that prepare food together grow healthier children with a good understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet. They also grow up with a good understanding that all chores in the home are there to be shared and not given to a specific person based on their gender. If a child sees his father making dinner, he will grow up not only knowing how to do it, but willing to do it as well.

How important is doing activities together as a family?

Families that play together are also much healthier. This means playing both indoor games and outdoor sports. Playing together in a family teaches your children how to win and lose well, and how to plan and enjoy activities in a safe environment. It teaches them new skills and healthy ways of entertaining themselves. It also teaches them the value and enjoyment of sport and physical activity. If, as a family, you teach your children skills and the thrill of participating in sport, family hikes, or simply exploring a new place together, your children learn the art of finding their own adventures, of being creative and how to compromise. You also expand their horizons by encouraging them to be curious.

What is a family?

Research shows that healthiest of families are made up of multiple generations. Grandparents are important. Elderly people who live with their families live longer and are healthier. Those who live in old-age homes tend to be ill more often, have slower recovery rates and die sooner. The same is true of people of any age. Singles who live alone, and are unhappy, age faster and are more likely to suffer from loneliness – a major cause of any other illnesses. An unhappy mind is also a mind under stress. And stress, as everyone knows, is dangerous to your health.

Why is family so important to your health?

Everyone in a family benefits from being in the family. There is evidence that this form of community creates happiness in each member despite their financial circumstances. People who are in community heal 78% quicker than those who are not. Mentally healthy people, i.e. happy people, are less likely to fall prey to illness, depression or heart disease.

People in families tend not to succumb to Broken Heart Syndrome as they have a support structure which provides companionship, commitment, consolation, courage and the knowledge that they matter. People who feel they do not matter to anyone or suffer from long-term loneliness are more frequent victims of depression and illness.

For more information please contact:

Dr M Sebei (Psychiatrist) MBBCh(Wits) FCPsych(SA)
Randfontein Private Hospital
Telephone: +27 (0)11 411 3024
Email: Info@lenmed.co.za

Mr Nic Babedi (Clinical Psychologist) B.A. (SW) (UNIN)
B.A. Hons (Psyc) Vista M.Sc(Clinical Psych)
Medunsa Randfontein Private Hospital
Telephone: +27 (0)11 411 3024
Email: Info@lenmed.co.za

Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.