Thoughts From A Psychotherapist

Live a life true to your priorities

As I drove to work the other day I saw the person in the car next to me talking on the phone and reading a document while he was driving. It seemed to me that the man had decided his work was more important than his safety and the safety of others on the road. I suspect he prioritized his work in a passive way by not really thinking about the consequences of his actions. If you asked him I suspect he would say that safety was a higher priority than work.

So why is it that we act in ways that are not congruent with what we say our priorities are? Why do we say our family is our priority and then not spend enough time with them? Why do we say we want to be healthy but not behave in ways that would make us so? Part of it is that we assume that things will be as they always are. Our kids will always be young, our spouses there for us, and our health good.

Perhaps it is part of the human condition to take things for granted. It is easy to spend very little time being present each day. How often do you take a moment during your day to be thankful for your health, your home, your spouse or any other aspect of your life?

I have written before about how people that feel gratitude have better health outcomes than people that do not. A Harvard Mental Health Letter states “Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

I believe that gratitude is a function of being present each day. I challenge each of you to take a moment each day to pay attention to how you are moving through the world. Give yourself a chance to think about the consequences of your actions and what they say about you and your priorities. Allowing yourself to act in ways that reflect what is important to you will lead to you having a happier and more fulfilling life.

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