August is National Admit You’re Happy Month! It is my goal to help you live a happier life. While it is true that there are some serious medical consequences for not treating your sleep apnea, I have found, that for many of my patients, it’s the lack of quality of life that brings them to seek treatment.
When you think about it, what is happiness if it’s not having good general health, adequate vitality, few limits on your physicality, the successful management of pain, the desire to enter into and enjoy social activities and, the absence of emotional issues? All of which impact your quality of life.
The psychological and philosophical pursuit of happiness began over 2,500 years ago. Presently, Positive Psychology, one of the newest branches of psychology, focuses on how to help humans prosper emotionally and lead healthy, happy lives.
In 1990, Dr. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi wrote his now classic work, Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience. As one of the pioneers on the scientific study of happiness, he writes, “ It is by being fully involved with every detail of our lives, whether good or bad, that we find happiness.”
Dr. Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic, states that happiness depends on “present moment experience… what you’re experiencing at this very moment.” He also reports that “life’s happiest moments have one or more of these three ingredients-Creating, Connecting, Caring.”
Here’s the unhappiness you experience with untreated sleep apnea…
When you have untreated sleep apnea, you may experience the symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and a lack of energy, making it very difficult to be mindful, experience a true present, be creative, connect with others to have meaningful and nurturing relationships, and care for yourself and others.
Lack of sleep for any reason can cause people to avoid social encounters and can lead to irritability, and irrational thoughts—difficulty connecting the dots to ‘every detail of your life, good or bad’ so that you can experience happiness.
In short—any ill health you experience impacts your quality of life to some extent. If you are living with the chronic condition of obstructive sleep apnea and not treating it, you may be unaware of the many ways that it can affect the quality of your life and your happiness.