Chronically Living and how to make the most of it

Why Can Connecting With Your Values Improve Your Well-Being?

December 06, 2021 Kelsey Harris Season 2 Episode 24
Chronically Living and how to make the most of it
Why Can Connecting With Your Values Improve Your Well-Being?
Show Notes Transcript

This week we're figuring out what our values are, particularly our values concerning health. Why? Because it can actually improve our well-being. How? That's a question with a longer answer, and so, this is part one of a two-part episode (part two is coming out December 27). 
It's helpful (though not required) to review the episodes on Creative Hopelessness, Contacting the Present Moment, Distancing Ourselves from Our Thoughts, and Acceptance of Pain before listening to this episode.
In this episode we talk about:

  • values vs. goals
  • why values can help with our health and well-being
  • how to figure out what our values are

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Kelsey Harris:

What are my values? If you can't immediately answer the question, that's okay. Most people can't. What do values have to do with health? Well, that's a question I'd like to answer. Today, we're going to do a lot of reflecting on this week's episode of chronically living. So I hope you're ready for it. I'm Kelsey Harris, chronic illness warrior and psychotherapist on chronically living and how to make the most of it, we're providing tangible ways to improve the well being of spoonies. So get ready to make the most out of your life even with that pesky chronic illness. Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning in. So I'm going to be upfront, I kind of think of this episode as part one of a two part series. Part two will be the next solo episode coming at the end of the month. And it will make a bit more sense than about why I consider this part one of two. Trust me, it works out. But today we're going to talk about values. So what is a value? Some of you are probably laughing at the question, and others are literally thinking they don't have a clue. And hey, either way, that's okay. We really don't talk about values very specifically very often in our lives. And yet, when I have a discussion with people about values, one one, they are always able to come up with some after some brainstorming. So a value is our judgment of what is important in life. It aligns with our principles and standards of behavior. They are qualities of action and defined how we behave, including how we treat ourselves and other people, and really the world as a whole. Now, these are not goals. But values help us behave in certain ways while we go after our goals. wants, needs desires, they usually align with our goals, as opposed to our values specifically. So I'm just going to give you a few examples of this. This is from Ross Harris, and this is what he says about values versus goals. So a goal would be seeking kindness from others. But a value would be being kind to ourselves and others. A goal would be seeking respect from others, I want to be respected. But a value would be being respectful to ourselves and to others. Values are also not virtues, morals or ethics. This is because they are more than just you know, "good" or "bad" judgments on behavior, they are expressions of our actual behavior. To try to make this a little more clear, I'm going to read out a checklist of 36 values. If you're up to it, feel free to write down the ones that you consider to be very important to you, I like this exercise, I think it can be a really nice way to reflect. So it would be important to you if it's at least a 7 out of 10 of importance, that's when I would write it down. So here we go, accepting of myself others my feelings, pain, etc. So accepting, adventurous, having exciting experiences, assertive, says could be standing up for my rights in a respectful manner. Authentic or genuineness, caring and self caring, so that could be up myself of others the environment, compassionate and self compassionate. So again, kindness to myself, others in the world, cooperative or willing to work with others. Courageous, creative, curious, so being open minded and interested, encouraging of behavior that I approve of, expressive of my thoughts and feelings, focused on what I'm doing fair or just toward myself and others, flexible or adaptable to the circumstances, friendly towards others, forgiving, and this is to myself and others, grateful, helpful, honest, independent, industrious, or or hardworking, kind to myself and others, loving to myself and others, mindful or present, open as in revealing of myself orderly, so neat and organized, persistent committed. This could be despite problems or difficulties, playful, humorous, fun, protective of myself and others. Respectful or self respectful to myself and others. Responsible, skillful, so is using your knowledge and experience, supportive, being helpful and encouraging to myself and others trustworthy, so loyal, honest, faithful, any of those words and trusting so this is willing to believe the other person. So hopefully we're able to write down or mentally know at least a few values that ring true for you. Now that we've defined what values are, we're going to be going a little more deeper into this values thing. Hey, warriors, what if it was possible to get local fresh groceries delivered right to your front door, you could take a deep sea yoga with all that free time. Well, Instacart gives you unlimited grocery delivery for one low monthly fee. This is definitely better than paying for delivery on all those other apps. Forget that one ingredient you needed to make that super healthy smoothie Instacart can deliver to your front door in as little as an hour. You can shop multiple stores, getting all your favorites on a single order. Instagram even highlights deals so that you can save money. Get all the products you love hand selected by shoppers based on your preferences. They'll pick the freshest produce, and they'll keep your eggs safe to find everything you usually buy and get smart suggestions on new items. To get free delivery on your first order over $10 Follow the link in the show notes to let Instacart know that we sent you and help to help support the show. With Instacart you'll never step foot in a grocery store again. Okay, so before we get into this value thing a little more, I'm gonna just let you know a couple that are really important to me from that list of 36 that we went through. And I kind of debated whether I was gonna share what mine were. But I think it's really helpful. So accepting, including of my pain, I just did an episode on acceptance, I think you guys probably know that adventurous, super, super important to me. I couldn't really tell you why. But it just is self caring, you know, caring, self caring, passionate, self compassionate, authentic. Those are all things that are really important to me creative, friendly, honest, independent, mindful, present, respectful, self respectful. So those are just some of the ones that really rang true for me. And of course, the values go way beyond this list. This was just some really common ones that people tend to say. So I want to talk for a moment about destructive behavior. When we engage in behavior that hurts ourselves or others in some way, it's not motivated by our values. And look, we all act in this way at one point or another in our lives, often more than we'd like to admit, pretty much everyone has lied at some point in their life, manipulated others neglected, our own health hurt someone we love. And this could be intentionally or unintentionally, but we've all done these things. These behaviors are never motivated by our values. So think back to the values we just discussed. Were doing any of those behaviors aligned with any of those values? Like no, short answer, no. So this means that these destructive behaviors are removed from our values, they lead to what is referred in acceptance commitment therapy or act as a way moves. Man explain more about Act back in season two, Episode 12, about creative hopelessness and this so episodes have kind of been a series since then. So if you haven't listened to them, might be helpful to kind of go back through. So a way moves, they take us away from our values. Pretty simple. And towards moves, they will take us to quarter values. But you know, just hint hint, we're going to talk about more of that on part two. So that'll be at the end of the month. Okay, so that was kind of a downer part of the episode. Here are some common categories our values fall into. So these are like very broad categories. So parenting, personal growth, leisure, spirituality, health, work, community, environment, family relationships, intimate relationships, and social relationships. So try to see if you can get specific about your values, and maybe try writing one down for each category if you've decided to do some of the writings. As an example, if it's family relationships is the broad category and respect is the value, then maybe to be specific on the value maybe that is being respectful to your parents and siblings. So I'm not saying that is your value, or i n't your value. That's jus an example of how you could w ite it down more specifically if you really want it to ge in touch with what your values re. So you're probably thinkin by Now what the heck does this ave to do with mine? Chr nic Illness, this seems ridicul us, this talk about value is garbage is not going to mak me feel better. And hey, I get it. This is a really abst act episode, which is why it is art one of two. And I'm going to try to answer the question the est I can. Right now. So let's ake the broad category of hea th. What are your values whe it comes to health? So I'll ive you two of mine, I guess So broadly, I would say like elf caring and curious. So if I ant to be specific about my va ues there, I want to self care for my own health as muc as possible. And I am curious a out different treatments and way of thinking that can improv my overall health. If you know hat your values are, you can se if you're currently living by our values or not, if not, you k ow, that's okay. First, we if w 're not clear on what our va ues even are, we can't live by t em. Not intentionally, any ay. Unintentionally, we do a ot. But then we also don't a ot, when we know what they are we can make some intenti nal decisions there. And hen second, a lot of people ith chronic illness really stru gle to live by their values. And this is for various reasons. But it's usually tied to thou hts and feelings about t eir illnesses. And if this is the case for you, and you hav n't listened to season two, Epi ode 21, on acceptance of pai , I strongly suggest you go back and take a listen to that epi ode after this And then, you know, obviously, you can seek some psychotherapy, clinical counseling, which is my day job that can help you with a lot of this as well, creating that distance accepting all that kind of stuff. Okay, so I hope it's at least a little more clear on why we're exploring values and how it might be helpful for your health. So you can't live by your values, your health values, even if we're just looking at that category, if you don't know what they are. And again, part two is how we're going to live by them. Alright, so I want to give you a few more ideas on how to figure out what your values are. Of course, you can just run through the checklist from earlier in the episode, there's like million checklists online, you can Google and there will be times that come up. And that's a really efficient, a kind of broad way of doing it. So this is a technique I learned from Russ Harris, of course, he is my favorite ACT guru. It's called Imagine your 80th birthday. So if you are willing and able, you can close your eyes, if it might help you to imagine this. And if you'd rather keep your eyes open, that's totally fine as well. So just imagine that it's your 80th birthday. And there are three different people who are going to give a speech about you. Now, because this is in your imagination, it doesn't really have to make perfect sense. So even if you imagine yourself at 80, but your friends still look like they do now that's fine. Or you can have people in attendance who wouldn't be alive by then, or are already dead. At this point. You can have your future children that aren't even born yet there. Doesn't matter to your imagination. So really do whatever you want. So if magic could happen, so all your dreams come true, then what would your 80th birthday look like? If your mind starts telling you things that hook you like, no one would say this about me and my dreams could ever come true. And all that stuff. Just think your mind. Thank you mind. Just to unhook from that thought. And just go back to your imagination. Right? So it's your 18th birthday. And everyone who matters to you, friends, family, partner, children, whoever else, everyone you care about is there. Now imagine that one person who you really care about stands up to make a speech about you. The speech is short and sweet, just a few sentences and they talk about what you stand for in life, what you mean to them and the role you played in their life. So I'm gonna give you about 30 seconds just imagine them saying whatever you would most love to hear them say. Now choose the second part. Have them do the same thing, just three or four sentences about what you stand for, what you mean to them, the role you played in their life, whatever words your heart most desires to hear. And finally, pick one last person who shares again just a few words about what you stand for, what you mean to them and the role you played in their life. And remember, this is what you'd most like to hear. Most people find that this exercise brings up a range of feelings. So just notice what you're feeling. Consider what the feelings are telling you. What truly matters to you what sort of person you want to be and what you're neglecting. We're gonna end this exercise. So just notice your breathing your body. Notice the sounds you can hear. Open your eyes and notice what you can see. Take a stretch and notice what it feels like to move your body Hopefully the exercise helps you connect with some of your values more specifically. Now again, some of you might still not see how values have anything to do with improving your well being with chronic illness and that is okay. It's good for I think overall well being anyway and our mental health just to know what our values are and connect with them on a very intentional level, because we rarely get the chance to do that in our lives. So let's reflect. What did you notice about your thoughts and feelings during the episode? What are you noticing now as you look back on you're noticing just reflect back to what you thought about the concept of values before this episode. And then what comes to mind right now. Next week, my guest is a health coach who's going to talk to us about something I love food. All right, everybody keep making the most of it. Special thanks to marred.e for the origi al music and Charity Williams or the original art