"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are"
- Roy Disney
When you think of values, you may be thinking of those ideas that were taught to you at a young age. These values shape how you function as an adult. Being respectful, being kind, telling the truth, these are all examples of values that you may have been taught by your family, or even picked up from others while growing up. Wherever you did gain your values from, they play a part in the way you behave, and how you think. Ultimately, shaping the decisions you may make. The people you chose to spend time with, the job you hold, the activities you engage in are all driven by your values.
So what does stress have to do with values, you may be asking? Well, there is a strong connection. Stress is natural, but when it starts to overtake your life, and cause symptoms that are overwhelming, it's time to take action and come up with better ways to cope. When you are under stress, you may experience physical symptoms such like: nausea, an achy body, and headaches. You might experience emotional symptoms like irritability, lack of motivation, and sadness. Behaviourally, you may stop taking care of yourself and not eat properly, or withdraw from others.
You may not recognize that every day you are making decisions. These decisions may be difficult and challenging, which may leave you at a crossroad. This is when stress creeps in. During difficult times it is important to draw on your values to help you move forward, and help you manage the overwhelming feelings you may be experiencing.
The key to less stress is living within your values. Living within your values makes you feel good. When you stray away from what you value, that's when things may feel like they are going wrong.
It may be a while since you thought about your values, more so that you may not be aware of them. So what can you do to realize your values to help you problem solve, and therefore be less stressed?
Ask yourself these 3 questions.
1) Think of a time when you were happy
What was happening around you? Who were you with? What were you doing? This is an indication of important values. Were you achieving something? Were you feeling calm?
2) Think of a time when you felt satisfied
What was happening that allowed you to feel satisfied? What was satisfying about the experience? What role did you play in the situation?
3) Think of a time when you felt rewarded or proud
What was occurring that made you proud? Were other people around you? Did you receive positive feedback? What was said?
As you ask yourself these questions you may shift through various memories and incidents in your life where you felt good about yourself. This is because you came into contact with your values. You may realize working through these questions, that many of your values may be similar and work together nicely i.e. creating results, and hard work may go together.
Everyone's values are different, but when you know your values and live within them, you are likely to make better decisions, reduce stress, and feel fulfilled