The one lesson I've learned from life: Dr Rangan Chatterjee

A medical doctor for two decades, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, 44, is the UK’s top-selling health author.He presents BBC1’s Doctor In The House and situs judi slot online hosts the UK’s most listened to health podcast Feel Better, Live More. He lives in Cheshire with his wife Vidhaata, and their children, who are 11 and nine.

I have the utmost respect for my parents; they brought me up to be kind and compassionate.But I grew up thinking that coming top of the class mattered more than anything else. If I got 19 out of 20 in school exams, my parents would ask what I had got wrong. 

I went to medical school and was fiercely competitive, but to cope with the stress, I had what I call ‘Junk Happiness’ habits, such as gambling.I would gamble on anything — football, pool, the casino. I wasn’t an addict, but looking back it’s clear I used it as an escape. 

Dr Rangan Chatterjee, 44, (pictured) reveals that he used to use gambling as a coping mechanism

Dr Rangan Chatterjee, 44, (pictured) reveals that he used to use gambling as a coping mechanism 

Like a lot of immigrants, my parents traded happiness for success.My father left India in the 1960s to seek a better life in the UK. He rose to be a consultant but, like many doctors at that time, he faced discrimination. He never complained, but he constantly chased success. Four nights a week he would do GP house calls — so he only slept three nights a week for 30 years. 

Dad retired at 58, suffering from lupus, and then his kidneys failed and he was on dialysis for 15 years.Being his carer became my whole identity. After he died nine years ago, I had a void in my life that I didn’t know how to fill. But it set me off on a journey of self-discovery. I’d go walking and ask myself big questions: ‘Whose life am I really living?’ 

I realised my competitiveness came from believing I was only worthy of love if I was the best. As I’ve healed that hole in my heart, my sense of self-worth no longer comes from external validation. 

Everyone can be the architect of their own happiness.If you change your mindset and your approach to life, you will become healthier and make better choices. Being happy is a muscle we strengthen through practice.

  • Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways To Feel Great Every Day by Dr Rangan Chatterjee (£16.99, Penguin Life) is out now.