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:
individual inner experiences
physical body and behaviors
cultural connections and relationships
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 650-596-0807.