Esther Kane, MSW, RCC
We all want to be physically healthy, but if our emotional life is unbalanced, efforts to reach our full health potential may be thwarted. Following these simple tips and surrounding yourself with positive relationships will re-energize you and pave the way to achieving your full health potential.
We all want to be physically healthy, but if our emotional life is unbalanced, efforts to reach our full health potential may be thwarted.
Being around people who drain our energy can affect our health in ways that are similar to the effects of eating junk food we feel exhausted and depleted.
While it may not be realistic to extract ourselves completely from the lives of people who drain us, we can take steps to both avoid being negatively affected by these people, and to focus on those relationships that energize us and bring out the best in us. Here are my top seven tips to help you achieve this.
1. Make a list of what you value most in friendships/relationships.
This is a very important first step; if you don't know what you want in relationships (for example, must be compassionate, funny, honest), you may not attract the right people. Each person's list will differ since we all have unique needs and values.
2. Take an inventory of the people who surround you.
List everyone you call "friend" and ask yourself which of your values (see Tip 1) each person possesses and what each is lacking. Consider the advice in Tips 3 and 4 for anyone who possesses 75 percent or less of the values you listed as being important to you.
3. Create a list of relationships that are no longer serving you.
This is a type of housecleaning of your personal life. We often accumulate unwanted relationships just as we accumulate clothes that no longer fit well. It's time to downsize and leave room for new people on your list.
4. Slowly disentangle yourself from unwanted relationships.
This is easier said than done, but with persistence and consistency, it is achievable. You might start by having less contact with the person. Most importantly, shift your focus toward doing the things you love. You'd be surprised at how many like-minded people enjoy doing the same things.
5. Make a list of people you would like to become friends with.
This includes the people you think you'd like to get to know, but who you assume would not be interested in being your friend. Let yourself dream; you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
6. Write down potential friends' qualities.
Next to each person on the list (see Tip 5), record which qualities about that person would make him/her a good friend. Next to this, list the qualities you and your potential friend might offer one another.
7. Take one step toward making friends with someone on your list
Using your list from Tip 6, start with something as simple as asking that person to go for a walk. Don't put too much pressure on yourself or the other person. If the first step goes well, then consider doing something together in the future that you would both find fun.
Following these simple tips and surrounding yourself with positive relationships will re-energize you and pave the way to achieving your full health potential.