My name is Seyedeh Tina Sadri and I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newport Beach, California. So often in my private practice I get asked a very simple yet complex question. How can I be a happier person? What can I do? Some people say,
"I have achieved my goals and have the family that I have always desired yet, I fill like something is missing".
The question that usually follows is: how can I be happier and feel more fulfilled?
As a therapist, I have given these questions many thoughts and determined that there is never one single answer. All the elements of our life must be stabilized. Many of us focus on one or two aspects of our life such as family and career or career and having a good time yet we often neglect other important aspects of self. Paying equal attention to all areas of our mind and body are crucial in order for us to feel whole. If we deprive ourselves of one of these elements eventually we will feel turmoil. In order to maintain a sense of overall happiness I have come up with a simple diagram that defines important elements, which gives us a sense of BALANCE.
Physical Health- Our bodies need to feel physically healthy in order to feel our best mentally. Healthy eating and physical exercise are the two elements that will help in the process of healing, prevention and giving us energy that gets rid of fatigue. By traveling the wellness path, individuals will be able to monitor their own vital signs and understand body's warning signs. You will also understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how the physical body performs. The benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction. Physical development encourages learning about diet and nutrition while discouraging unhealthy lifestyles like use of tobacco, drugs and/or excessive alcohol consumption. Research shows that optimal physical wellness is met through the combination of appropriate exercise and good eating habits. I always tell my clients that exercising three to five days a week is the best antidepressant because it releases tension and toxins. Best formula for our health should include eating lots of natural and wholesome foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mental Heath- In our society today mental heath is rarely thought about as an important factor. People spend much time focusing on things that are noticeable on the exterior of their bodies while avoiding interior struggles. There is a long list of materialism that includes excessive plastic surgery and extreme attention to looking perfect. Well, the problem is that no amount of money can fix how we feel on the inside. Many times, we try to "block" our emotions by not dealing with them and the problems always resurface leaving us feeling unfulfilled. This is why therapy is crucial to overcome difficulties, develop inner strength and skills to deal with your concerns. You do not have to be mentally ill to seek Therapy. It is a way you can learn how to deal with stressful situations so you are able to move forward with a positive plan and mindset. Another key to mental health is self-care. I call this "me" time. Spending time doing something you love, outside of work, it could be Golfing, swimming, painting, exercising or even getting a massage.
Social life- Human beings need to connect with other people. It is a fundamental desire that is necessary for mental heath. There is no specific formula, it could be a phone call once or twice a week with a dear friend, a nice dinner out with your spouse or a weekend get-away. The point is to have an hour or two connecting socially and having a good time. By the way, this category does not include business meetings or pedicures (smile). Socially stimulating activities with friends or family gives us a sense of belonging and acceptance. A Well person cherishes intellectual growth and stimulation with other people.
Sense of Worth- What is the definition of sense of worth?
It is how we measure what we mean to ourselves. How proud we are of our accomplishments. How important we feel.
We each have many roles in life. For example, one person could be a mother, a sister or a doctor. While another person could be a stay at home mother. It doesn't matter how many roles and titles we have in life. Managing your life in personally rewarding ways, and taking responsibility for your actions, will help you see life as an exciting, hopeful adventure. It is important to feel that we are devoting our life to a cause that we believe to be important and vital regardless of others opinions. The problem is when there is a sense of failure from within, we feel unfulfilled, unhappy and start resenting others close to us. When we lose our sense of worth we point the finger at others for keeping us from achieving our goals. A common example is the housewife who was originally excited about staying at home, raising babies and not working. But after years, starts to feel unappreciated and blames her husband from keeping her from working. We are responsible for our own self worth and how we define it.
Spirituality/ Mindfulness - recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. While traveling the path, you may experience many feelings of doubt, despair, fear, disappointment and dislocation as well as feelings of pleasure, joy, happiness and discovery - these are all important experiences and components to your search and will be displayed in the value system you will adapt to bring meaning to your existence. Believing in a higher power and having faith is the only thing that truly relieves a great sense of anxiety. Once we come to the realization that things happen for a reason, we start relieving our selves of all the pressure and start to truly enjoy life for what it is at the moment, I learned this through my many sessions of therapy, my own life and the experiences of my loved ones, life is short, the only moment we have is now. Living life to the fullest everyday is key to living a proactive and happy life. Being mindful of here and now is the ultimate key. You will know you are becoming spiritually well when your actions become more consistent with your beliefs and values, resulting in fulfillment.