“Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to”. MindTools
I know, yet another tough task I am throwing at you all for the sake of positive mental health. Staying true to your values can be a gruelling task especially when life throws all kinds of challenges and curve balls to test your ability to navigate and grow. But first, we really should figure out what those values are so that we have something to grab onto when the life boat feels like it’s sinking. Your values really guide your behaviour in life. Staying true to my values has been a positive influence in my life as well as making me, sometimes, seem like the “difficult” one in the group. Oh well, at the end of the storm, I am the one who is stuck with the thoughts in my head that haunt me and I want those to be “at least you didn’t cave and become someone you are not proud of”.
Also, an awareness of core personal values can help you to stay motivated, to stand up for your personal rights and help you to decide where you want to spend your time and energy.
So many benefits!
There is increasing recognition of the need to shift mental health policy and practice from the traditional emphasis on mental health problems to include the promotion of Positive Mental Health. A task force of psychologists and researchers in Scotland compiled some pretty great psychological science, distilled it down and conceptualized it into “8 Elements of Positive Mental Health.
I am including the list of the eight elements because I think that the one value that most people should have is a commitment to consistently work on their mental health and wellbeing. Taking charge of their own life. The 8 elements can really be a guide for us to ask ourselves, “am I making time in my life to work on these?” and “are these 8 elements a priority in my life?”.
8 Elements of Positive Mental Health
- Emotional well-being
- Life satisfaction
- Optimism and Hope
- Resilience and Coping
- Social functioning
- Emotional intelligence
These 8 elements are all areas where your values can reside. So set aside some time to squeeze in a little happy brain oriented “workouts” in your life, flex those mental muscles, and build some healthy and helpful neural pathways (Hardwiring Happiness).
Just a reminder that this post is part of a 10-part series designed to help you get out and do things that improve your mental health and wellbeing. #PsychoSocialMentalHealth
Series: 10 Things You Can Do to Be Nice to Your Brain
- Learn to Tolerate Ambiguity
- Be Open to New Information
- Learn to Reframe Adversity
- You Don’t Have to Act the Way You Feel
- Zone in on Your Purpose in Life
- Mastering Motivation a.k.a Setting a Fire Under Your Butt!
- Seek Out Peak Experiences and Give Your Brain a Little Party!
- Apply the “Power of Yet” in Your Life! Yes, Trix are for Kids, but a Growth Mindset is Not Just for Kids!
- Stop Tripping Up Your Life and Learn the Art of Balance.
- TODAY! Who do YOU want to be in this world? Staying True to Your Values for Positive Mental Health. #WorthTheEffort
Big PsychNERD! Big!
Research in the area of personal core values and mental health is still getting started, but wow! is this ever an important area to keep on researching in. Here is a 2017 study, Realization of Personal Values Predicts Mental Health and Satisfaction with Life, that found some inspiring positive mental health connections and really great evidence showing that us humans really should spend some time thinking about our core personal values.
Living according to one’s personal values promotes mental health and satisfaction with life. This is what they found:
- We humans tend to place more emphasis on conservative values (non-risk taking) than values representing self-transcendence, self-enhancement, and openness to change.
- The researcher found that the realization of values (living your values) significantly predicts mental health and satisfaction with life. The realization of values indicating openness to change is especially associated with better mental health and higher satisfaction with life.
Get out there and start opening your mind to new experiences!
If you want things to be different in your life, you need to do things differently. The researchers suggested that the health-promoting effects of living value driven life are a thing, so, by putting your values first and stepping up into a self-actualization frame-of-mind, rather than remaining stuck and conservative, can have mind altering life changing effects in your life.
Food for Thought
The Evolution of You.
Values are important to focus on.
So How Do I Do This?!?!
I hear you saying…
Try this approach….
7 Steps for Finding Your Core Personal Values
During one of my internet adventures, where I became lost in the woods of “so much cool information!”, I came across this resource created by Scott Jeffrey, a business coach. I thought that this was a well developed and psychologically sound process, that was laid out in a straight forward manner, for people to embark on their own value exploring journey.
I have added a little outline to entice you to go an click on the full resource 🙂
- STEP 1: Start with a Beginner’s Mind
- STEP 2: Create Your List of Personal Values
- Peak Experiences
- Suppressed Values
- Code of Conduct
- STEP 3: Chunk Your Personal Values into Related Groups
- STEP 4: Highlight the Central Theme of Each Value Group
- STEP 5: Determine Your Top Personal Core Values
- STEP 6: Give Your Personal Values Richer Context
- STEP 7: Test the Ecology of Each Value
Interested in living a mindfully value driven life that leads to a state of positive mental health and a life that maintains it?
I thought you would say yes 😉 Check Out the “7-Steps” in Detail!
Who Are You? Unleashing Your Core Values.
with Jennifer Jones
pssst! Guess What? She’s Canadian!!!
Do you know who you really are, what you stand for and what is fundamental to your personal DNA? These are all questions that Jennifer will cover as part of a discussion about core values. Core Values are the guiding principles that dictate our behaviors and actions.
One of My Core Personal Values Descried Beautifully!
Hygge is the Danish and Norwegian word for a “mood of coziness and comfort, with feelings of wellness and contentment”. This is a cultural practice in Denmark, a country that regularly shows up as one of the happiness nations in the world. I think there just may be something to the way they intentionally live their lives!
So this is why “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things” is so important to me. One of my values is that I have to take an active part in my life. Essentially, show up as an active participant, the main character of my story and do my part at maintaining my mental health and happiness.
Here is an example of how the principles, and essence, of Hygge manifest in one area of my life, amongst many:
- Radical Acceptance:
I live in a cold climate. We have winter. There is absolutely nothing I can do about that right now, so I must accept that I have to endure the cold, the lack of sunlight and the inability to be barefoot for months (yes, I need to be barefoot!). With this comes a bit of low energy, a “bummed out” mood and weight gain (great!). So I accept the things are a bit more difficult with low energy but make a strong effort to exercise outside by snowboarding, winter walks, going out of my way to see friends, making my inside living environment cozy, just to name a few intentional acts. I do things to make myself happy during a rough season.
- Peak Experience Mindset:
Hygge is so much about being intentional. Taking charge of your own happiness. Creating a life you want to live in. Not waiting for things to change or someone else to change things for you. You create your experience. For you PsychNERDS out there, this is called developing an Internal Locus of Control.
Want to live more intentionally?
Want to be a person who takes charge of their life, when life gets hard?
Curl up, Take Charge, Read this Book and infuse some of the practices of one of the happiness nations in the world!
6 Word Memoir
Ok, I have some homework for you.
Stop groaning, this is good home work! It is all about you 😉
The 6 Word Memoir is such a cool concept and such a great activity that can help you really distill down your values and how you would like to be described and remembered in this life. Check out the “Six Word Memoir” page for more fun, interesting, hilarious, thought-provoking memoirs from other great humans. This is how the founder describes how this concept got legs:
“Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, gave the six-word novel a personal twist by asking his community to describe their lives in exactly six words”
Dr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.
Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Human Flourishing * Human Muddling Through
- Miriam Ostermann, Silke Huffziger, Nikolaus Kleindienst, Jutta Mata, Christian Schmahl, Constanze Beierlein, Martin Bohus, and Lisa Lyssenko (2017). Realization of Personal Values Predicts Mental Health and Satisfaction with Life in a German Population. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 651-674.