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Olwen Anderson's Blog

Are you really too busy or is it just not important to you?

Saturday, January 28, 2017
man in hammock by ardanea via morguefileI’m not sure if you’ve ever heard yourself murmuring that modern mantra “I’m too busy to….make a real breakfast…..exercise….meditate…. (insert term for any particular health-boosting activity that takes time and effort). But in fact “too busy” could really be code for “this is not important to me”. 

We all have the same allotment of time resources – 24 hours every day. Energy levels differ from one person to another, and our incomes vary.  But we can all make time, gather together energy and money to do what’s important to us. I came across a tweet recently that summed it up beautifully: “People are remarkably good at doing what they want to do.” (@justsitthere) .

Only you can decide what’s important to you and where you want to expend your time, energy and money. But not everyone knows what they value, and when there’s a mis-match between their values and what’s actually happening they can become pretty uncomfortable.

That discrepancy between values and activities is something I often see in clinic as the source of much physical and emotional distress. So there’s a chance a reality check could make you a lot happier – and healthier.

For example, someone whose top priority is family relationships is likely to be happiest working in a field that doesn’t take them away from their family for long periods. A person whose top priority is health will be happiest when devoting resources towards improving their well-being. A parent who has made the conscious decision to make child rearing their top priority will feel best when involved with their children. Someone whose highest value is travelling will devote their resources towards that. 

Want to know what’s most important to you? On a sheet of paper list the areas of parenting, personal growth, leisure, spirituality, health, work, community, family, partnerships and social relationships. Number them in order of importance to you. Then, number the list again by how you’re actually spending your time/energy/money. If there’s a mis-match between the two lists, you might be feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied, even stressed. 

Health crises can sometimes be a wake-up call that the activities you’re pouring your effort and resources into don’t actually match your values. So if you catch yourself murmuring “I’m too busy to….” perhaps what you really mean is that it’s not an activity you value. That’s OK; but when your life activities revolved around what’s important for you, more happiness and health can follow.

If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy "Controversies of Health: Why do they keep changing the rules?"
 

Image credit: Ardanea via MorgueFile


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