In episode #93 Dr. Bob’s series Finding Joy, he teaches you the second step to take when finding joy and how to discover the things that are truly important to you.
Credit image to: Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash.com
Transcript of the Podcast:
We will be opening out new Feel Fantastic NOW center within weeks. I’m pretty excited about it. It will have all the tools and techniques to conquer these problems of anxiety, stress and depression.
We have just started our Advisory Board of people who are interested in advising us about what key components you want and don’t want in such a centre. It is crucial that we have you, or representatives of you, our listeners and followers, to be part of the actual build itself. So after the Advisory Board has a look at it and then it will be open.
So just to recap, last week we talked about starting to pay attention to what’s important in your life.
Your task, if you chose to accept it, was to keep track of what you were doing and to notice if you were avoiding anything.
And, as always, it was to write it down, so you could really work the information and insights. And work the insights by reviewing your findings and looking for themes.
So, I hope you gained some insight.
Now the shift.
And the shift is about you taking some different actions.
And, in fact, I decided to follow my own advice from the last podcast and do what I suggested you do.
And I found out that I had not been engaging in the activities that bring me a lot of pleasure. I had been simply working too much.
So that insight helped me get back to those activities that really bring me a lot of positive reinforcement. And I noticed an immediate bump up in my mood.
So here is the first activity in the shift.
Identify what is important to you.
Here is one way to do that.
Defining Your Values
When you define your personal values, you discover what’s truly important to you. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your life – to identify when you felt really good, and really confident that you were making good choices.
Step 1: Identify the times when you were the happiest.
Find examples from both your work and personal life. This will ensure some balance in your answers.
- What were you doing?
- Were you with other people? Who?
- What other factors contributed to your happiness?
Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud of what you’d accomplished.
Use examples from your career and personal life.
- Why were you proud?
- Did other people share your pride? Who?
- What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?
Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied
Again, use both work and personal examples.
- What need or desire was fulfilled?
- How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
- What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfilment?
If you go back and listen to Episode 35 I talked about how to find the important values in your life. For this to work, it’s important to think about what values are important to you. And you can use the ideas in #35 to find that out.
The reason is that you need to know your values, is that you need to be able to start doing more activities that are aligned with your values.
The more closely the activities relate to values, the more motivated you will be to do them. To take action.
Values are strong beliefs about how life should be lived and how you and other people should behave. Sometimes people do not realise how strong their values are until challenged.
Now let’s take one common value and work it through a little.
We know that having strong relationships with friends and family is one of the most powerful strategies you can have for your health. Both physical and mental.
And, we know that having those strong relationships is very important for some people. It’s not #1 for everybody…and that’s why we have an interesting life with lots of variation in those around us, but it is important for many.
So let’s work with a piece of that. Let’s say being a good friend is important to you. One of your core values.
Then, here you want to ask yourself if you are doing the activities of being a good friend. Now that is an awkward way to say it but are you putting in the amount of energy into being a friend that aligns with how important it is for you?
Now, this is not a point to berate yourself. Not a point to judge yourself, and it may be a bit of a risk if you are feeling low or even depressed.
This is simply a point in time that you can begin to do those activities that are important to you. That align with your values. That will bring you some pleasure. Some positive reinforcement.
So list out all the activities that you do that fit with that value. Think about what activities are linked to that value or valued experience. In this case, we are using the example of a strong friendship.
And, of course, which activities are practical for you to do. You may desire to help out a friend financially but you can’t afford to.
Personal relationships Think about the people that are closest to you and the values related to your relationships with them.
Here are a few to consider.
- Consider the importance of being caring and attentive towards friends.
- Connecting with them regularly by telephone or email. Or writing them an old-fashioned letter with a pen.
- Inviting them to your place for a visit
- Going with them to an event. It doesn’t have to cost a penny.
- Taking them some food, if they are struggling with some issue like a health problem.
- You can think of others that best fit your life and your relationship.
Then actually do one or more of these activities. And rate how it made you feel. Did you get a bump in your mood? Did it make you feel better? Even a little
The goal then is to do more of the activities that make you feel good.
And, by doing more of these, across a range of your life, you will feel better.
This is a light version of one of the most powerful therapies for depression. Behavioural Activation.