Time is precious indeed. Are you trading away your time for what makes you happy? How much time are you spending doing things that don’t fulfill you? Is this a worthwhile use of that time?
Frequently this season of celebration is spent with those that are dear to us, and as the New Year approaches, many of us think about making New Year's Resolutions – things we want to change about ourselves and our lives.
Making positive change in our life is very worthwhile, and I would like to suggest that this year, we prioritize changes that will increase our happiness.
Being happy is vitally important to our health, as emotional stress will cause a stress response in the body. And if that stress response is prolonged because we are unhappy, over time we will either become sick or we will hurt, even if our diet is perfect, we are exercising appropriately, and we are getting enough sleep and dark time.
When we are unhappy, our body secretes stress hormones, which increase blood pressure, heart rate etc. so we will be ready to run or fight whatever we are up against. So increasing happiness can greatly improve our health!
Being happy falls into place when we are living our life in line with our values. When something is out of kilter with our values, we find ourselves in conflict.
For example, if the environment is very important to you, but you work for a company that is a bad polluter, you will find yourself in conflict as you are sacrificing your values for your job. And if you stay in such a job, it is likely to eat away at you deep down, wearing you out, possibly making you angry, depressed, tired and sick.
You may rationalize that you need the job, but you won’t be happy until you choose to work for a company that also values the environment.
Finding happiness therefore requires that we figure out what values are important to us, so we can make a judgement as to whether or not we are actually living our life in alignment with those values.
Paul Chek in his e-book The Last 4 Doctors You Will Ever Need, suggests it may be easier to figure out your personal core values by breaking them down into parts: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and then trying to list them.
What do you need to satisfy your physical needs? How much exercise do you need? What kind of diet best keeps you healthy? How much sleep do you need to be at your best? How much time do you need to devote to those activities to ensure your needs are satisfied?
What do you require to be mentally stimulated? Do you enjoy doing the cryptic crossword that comes in the paper? What do you need to be able to focus well?
What are your emotional needs? Do you need lots of people around or do you prefer to be alone much of the time?
If there is an area in your life where you are unhappy, can you figure out why? What value is not being fulfilled? What can you do to resolve it? Once you know what your personal values are, you can use them to guide your decisions.
You can then do a similar exercise with respect to your career values and your relationships with others. How do you treat others and how do you expect to be treated?
How well do your values match up with those of your significant other? If your values or those of your partner are not being met, can you both figure out a way to meet them that will make you both happy? If not, is the relationship worth the stress and unhappiness it is creating?
These are very difficult and very personal questions, but often when we make changes that bring us in better alignment with our values, we feel like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders, we feel far more energetic, alive, and yes, happy.
Thank you all so very much for letting me into your lives on Sunday mornings – I do indeed feel blessed. And may you find true Happiness in the coming year.
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Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd
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