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Living an Integrated Life                                                                

by Helen Selenati

To bring about lasting change we should pay attention to both the inner and outer work that is required to bring about a more satisfying life experience.  To live fully as a human being we need to adopt an integrated approach to our evaluation of our current situation and make adjustments in areas where we are not fully satisfied with our level of commitment or engagement.  

In doing our self-evaluations we should consider four areas to come up with an integrated plan for our future development and well being. These are:

Our individual inner experiences

Our physical body and behaviors

Our cultural connections and relationships

Our society and environment

Following are some questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate the quality of our individual inner experiences:

How am I doing emotionally?  Do I feel centered and peaceful or are my nerves on edge? Do I need to practice some stress reduction techniques to alleviate life’s stresses? How has my general mood been lately? What can I do to bring more joy into my life?

How am I doing intellectually? Do I find mental stimulation in what I do daily?  Am I becoming forgetful and are my thoughts scattered?  What can I do to become more intellectually focused and alive?

How am I doing spiritually?  Do I have a meaningful spiritual connection?  Should I be incorporating more spiritual practices in my daily routine?

In evaluating our physical bodies and behaviors we need to look at our genetic inheritance as well as our physical appearance and general well being.  If our genetic inheritance has the potential to predispose us to certain ailments, we need to take extra preventive care wherever possible.  We need to get enough rest and exercise, eat a balanced diet and have enough fluid in-take to stay in good health. Keeping our weight within normal limits not only makes us feel good about ourselves but also reduces many health risks. Regular medical checkups are also recommended for the young and older in years. Ask yourself where you could make some improvements in maintaining a healthy body by making some adjustments in your behavior patterns.

Our relationships with others give us a sense of belonging and support us during difficult times.  To keep ourselves nurtured in this way we need to examine our relationships with our family members, loved ones, friends, acquaintances, co-workers and others within our community.  Some people take energy from us, while others give us energy. Often we are able to choose to spend more time with people that energize us and nourish us while minimizing time spent with energy draining people.  What can we do in the next few weeks to deepen our relationships with the people that we feel we have neglected? How can we make our meaningful relationships more alive and fulfilling?

Finally our environment is also a critical factor in supporting us in a fully integrated life. How are we treating our environment? Are we doing all we can to make it safe and healthy for ourselves and everything else that shares in making up our place of being? Do we care for our environment at home, in our communities, in our cities and states, and in the world in general? Do we use our tools and technology wisely?  Do we recycle and conserve wherever we can?  What can we do to beautify our environment today and in the future?

Our beliefs have a lot of power in determining how we feel and how we act. The more hopeful, positive, and optimistic our belief system is, the greater the probability that we will feel energized and joyful about life. And the better our chances are of creating the life we’d love to live.

Helen Selenati is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Coach. She has a private practice in Redwood City and can be reached at helen@selenati.com or by calling 650-596-0807. Also visit www.selenati.com

 

                             

Copyright © 2004 Helen Selenati & Associates