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Values and Health

Is the most important key to living a full and healthy life hiding from you? There are many factors to consider when thinking about what constitutes health. The food we eat, exercise, environmental influences, our emotions, and our spiritual awareness are all pillars of health. However, there is one factor that tops the list of which often goes unspoken; living in alignment with your value system. 

Defining values helps a person to structure their life based on personal belief systems by determining what is most meaningful and important to them. From there, a sense of purpose is derived and defined values become tenets from which to live. There are plentiful examples of values, and they vary from person to person. Some examples of values include family, humility, benevolence, leadership, kindness, independence, creativity, and adventure. 

Our emotions serve to guide us to understanding whether our actions are in alignment with our values. When we live incongruently with our value system, we are betraying ourselves and delivering a subconscious message that we do not matter. Emotions that can come from not living in accordance with our values are based in fear and include anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, and jealousy. Living from a place of fear tends to foster bad habits such as addictive behavior, poor dietary choices, negative sleep habits, and unhealthy relationships. Physiologically, the natural flow of energy in the body becomes stuck, wreaking havoc in the body physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. From there, symptoms and illness ensue.

However, when we love and respect ourselves enough, we will spend our time and energy according to our values and emotions from love become more prevalent. Those emotions include gratitude, joy, peace, comfort, connection, trust, and happiness. Living from love leads to a desire, willingness and commitment to engage in activities that fulfill our sense of purpose. By doing so, our body’s energy moves with ease. When our energy flows freely, we feel vital, healthy, purposeful, and joyful.

Identifying our values becomes easier when we create space in our lives to understand what brings us meaning in life. Here are five steps to create space to aid in identifying your values:

1. Grounding/Earthing 

I have experienced it myself and I hear so many others share a similar experience, that being in nature is healing. Getting our hands into the earth with gardening, walking along the beach, taking a hike, or even laying in the grass brings an almost indescribable sense of well-being. Connecting with the earth’s electrical charge is thought to aid in pain reduction, modulate the immune system, and reduce inflammation. It also can lead to feeling more centered, allowing us to focus on what is most important to us. 

2. Meditation/prayer

Setting your intentions in quiet solitude using meditation or prayer provides clarity. Meditation may seem overwhelming, but you can make it simple by not expecting perfection in the process. I suggest finding guided meditations online that grab your attention. Try various guided meditations until you find one that feels right. 

3. Exercise

In addition to the more obvious benefits of exercise, it temporarily unblocks stagnation thereby creating space for objectivity. 

4. Journaling

Getting thoughts on paper helps clarify intentions.

5. Speak your values out loud

There are many benefits to literally speaking our truths and discussing our values out loud with a trusted confidant. Bouncing ideas and having meaningful discussions can help us determine our framework and organize our thinking. Sometimes friends and family may not provide the most objective perspectives and professional counseling or life coaching may be more appropriate, while at other times a friend or family member is the most perfect fit! 

When we live in alignment with our values, we are honoring ourselves in the most self-loving way. From there, our vibrancy shines to our loved ones, our neighbors and even strangers we see out and about. It becomes not only the best gift you can give yourself, but that of our community. So cheers to 2024, let’s make this the best year yet!

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