Who doesn’t want more HAPPY?…and who doesn’t want it fast?
A few weeks ago I tried planning dinner with my friend Jen and her husband Matt. Jen, also a doctor, and I looked at our calendars and found it would be two months before we’d be able to meet up. Two months?! We were interested in a fun date night together now, but we’d have to wait until the end of the season to make it happen. I suddenly realized that with all the things I’d packed into my life, I’d neglected to make room for spontaneity and socializing, something very important to me.
When I teach my patients about igniting their body’s healing power, one of the most important things I focus on is prioritisation. “Yes, you really can have it all!” I avidly declare, but you MUST put things in the right order.
When you prioritise the things that really matter to you, your serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine levels increase, all of which make you feel good and protects your body from disease. When you’re not making time for the things that matter most to you, you get depleted. Your body’s stress response kicks in, cortisol rises, your immune system becomes imbalanced, and you age faster.
When I realized there was no space for socializing, something that adds to my life greatly, I had to take inventory of how I’d been doing things lately. I’d been soooo stressed, on edge and exhausted, that clearly some needs were not being met. This incident with Jen pointed out exactly what it was! I remembered how a night out with friends, or even just going out with my husband for fun, always refuels my engine. I’m lighter, happier and more relaxed for the days following, and I remember all the reasons why I love to be alive.
I’ve recently s-l-o-w-e-d my life down to be sure to make space for friends and spontaneity (and Jen and I did meet for lunch together this week.) It wasn’t easy to cut things out, but it was worth it. I already feel lighter and happier!
Here’s how you can be sure you are meeting the top priorities in your life (the things that give you back more energy than you put into them) so you always have plenty of energy and you get to be happy and fulfilled:
1. Ask yourself, “What are your top three priorities right now?” These fluctuate, so just look at what your focus is on lately. Do you want more time with family? Health and fitness? Money? Fun? Career success? Get clear on what three things are most important to you right now. (Be honest with yourself! If career comes before your kids, it’s okay. Likely your fulfillment from your career serves your kids in many ways.)
2. Scale each one from one to ten based upon how fulfilled you are with that area. If you haven’t had a date with your partner in weeks, but “relationship” is a priority, you might give this one a three, for example.
3. Write down five ways you can insert your top priorities into your life this week. It may be calling up a babysitter for a night out. It may be calling several clients, or reaching out to colleagues to conjure up new business. It may be scheduling time to exercise or meditate regularly during the next month. Find something you can do right away to generate this change.
Do this exercise every few months to check in with yourself. Don’t wait for things to fall apart (or like I did, wait until you’re stressed out because your needs are not being met!) You deserve to be happy now, and to live the life you love, so get to work and sort out how you’re using your time, energy and attention. Only you can create the life you love, and your body is listening to your every thought. Take charge and start thriving now. It’s contagious!
I would love to hear your answers and am here for support. Put your plan into action now!