It was Mental Health Awareness Week on the 9th to the 15th of May this year, so that sets the theme for this month’s post. Values are the foundations that we build our lives upon, giving rise to our beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviour, so understanding our core values and living authentically to them is key to good mental health and subsequently to physical health too.
A value is something that is important to you to the point that it is linked to an emotional state that you either seek to experience or to avoid. So if one of your values is honoured, you will experience positive emotions and if it is violated, you will experience negative emotions.
Examples of values are: integrity, status, honesty, relationships, wealth, loyalty, adventure, security, health, power, creativity, nature, justice, fun, freedom, discretion, modesty, etc. The same value can mean different things to different people, for example adventure to person A may mean exploring close to home and to person B it may be cycling round the World. When you are living in harmony with your values, you will experience ease of being. Whereas living in a way that conflicts with your values will cause emotional distress, which in the long-term can lead to physical symptoms too, so it is important to address the problem.
Most, if not all, values are learned from parents, wider family, cultural heritage, the education system, work culture, etc. For that reason, some of the values that you have may not be authentic to you and may not be serving you, which is why it is worth reflecting on them. Take a moment now or schedule another time to list your top ten values and consider what each will give you when you honour that value. Are there any in that list that don’t sit so comfortably with you now that you have reflected on them? And where in your life are you dishonouring any of your core values and what could you do to change that?
It can be interesting to review your values regularly, say monthly or annually, to observe any change and to notice which are always in your top ten. Be aware that the priority may change according to what is going on in your life at the time. Have fun exploring your values and I hope that it helps you achieve greater ease of being.