Please write down your top five priorities:
Take a second to think what matters the most to you in life and then list from most important to less important. An example could be:
While this is just a fun example, some of the above priorities may also be ones that are important to you as well. When asked to list their top priorities, most people forget to include the obvious… themselves. Some sense of misplaced altruism may cause us to put everything else ahead of ourselves. When you think about it for a second, this is REALLY about establishing a firm foundation upon which to build your life.
What’s wrong with the list?
How many people when asked to list priorities place family, faith, marriage, etc. then behave in ways that defiantly don’t reflect their supposed priorities. The sayings “Actions speak louder than words,” and “Talk is cheap” really seem to apply here. Let’s look at this from a different angle. Many people focus all of their time and energy in the priorities listed above. They completely ignore themselves until the neglect leads to health issues. I see this in the clinic on a daily basis and the story goes like this: A patient comes into the clinic with a problem and wants to know what they have been doing wrong. “So when did these symptoms first appear?” The answer is usually 6 months to a year ago. My next question is, “How committed would you say that you are to your health and happiness?” Usually, they are quick to affirm that they are, so the next question is then obvious, “So why did you wait so long to come into the clinic?”
Let me ask you:
Can a mother give her best to her family if she suffers from chronic low back pain? Is a father who neglects to work out regularly and has a heart attack giving his family his best? What about the person who lists faith as a top priority and then eats a terrible diet even though he knows it is harmful to his body simply because he is too busy to “eat right?” I’m pretty sure there is not a major religion that advocates destructive behaviors and neglect of the body as a central pillar of faith. If you are honest, most of us know that productivity at work is tied to how we are feeling. So if I don’t exercise, eat unhealthy foods, and have chronic back problems, what will my mental state be, and how will this impact my performance at work?
Shifting the perspective is important in understanding priorities. It runs counter to our thinking to make “me” a priority. This concept is not about focusing all of your time and energy on self to the exclusion of everything else in your life. It is about making yourself a priority so you can have energy and vitality to meet the needs of others in your life like family, friends, and co-workers. Accepting that you matter and have needs is very important to consider. If you are always giving and never receiving, you soon will have nothing left to give. How can you give your best when you are empty? You must make yourself a priority so you can give more to others!
Think of your body as a high performance engine. You are designed to run on high quality fuel and much like a car, you could put low grade fuel in the tank. This of course leads to lowered engine performance and perhaps engine wear. The saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” So much is tied to spending time on selecting, preparing and eating a healthy diet. Food can influence mental state, physical energy levels, disease processes, and body function. It should be a leading priority in your life and not an accident of too little time or instant gratification. Personally, my family noticed some startling changes once we learned about functional nutrition and applied it to what we thought was our family’s “above average diet.” Just tweaking small things resulted in a major impact. For the average American eating a very poor diet, these changes can cause startling improvements in a host of areas as relates to health!
Exercise is a form of stress called eustress or “good stress.” It builds up the body and helps keep the various systems in peak condition. This goes beyond just the muscles and looking good. Numerous scientific studies show it impacts hormones, brain chemistry, contributes to regularity, helps the heart and lungs and a host of other areas too numerous to go into here. Personally, if I can’t work out, I carry stress home where it can sometimes manifest itself in my interactions with my five year old, wife and even with our one year old. I need to exercise for my physical body and sanity but more importantly, my family needs me to work out because they deserve a patient and kind daddy and husband. I have more to give my family if I prioritize some time for me to get that exercise into my day.
Nervous & Physical Function:
Is your body able to function at 100%? Your nervous system is complex and controls everything that goes on in your body. There are many ways the nervous system is affected by misalignments and this leads to a host of physical problems. If the nervous system is at 100%, you are realizing your full potential and experiencing life as it should be. Most people have a series of health issues which we grin and bear stoically because after all everything else come first. I can’t leave work early to see the chiropractor; I just have too much to do! Personally, after exercising, doing yard work, playing with my kids, working all day at the clinic, sleeping at night and all of the other tasks required in my busy day, I need something to help me maintain my physical function. I rely on my chiropractor to keep me in alignment so I can function with vitality and energy. Pain demands attention and it will suck your energy and concentration from all of your “priority” areas. I can’t give my best if I’m distracted by physical pain or loss of normal nervous system function.
Coming Full Circle:
Now that you understand that YOU need to be a priority in your own life, re-write your priorities. Remember, when you choose to not prioritize yourself (mindset, nutrition, exercise, and physical function) you are prioritizing something else. You in effect are saying no to your health and limiting your ability to meet the needs of others. So what are you saying yes to instead of yourself? Go ahead and schedule that chiropractic visit you have been too busy to make! Why not get tested and find out what nutritional deficits exist in your diet? Why not find out if you have any allergies which might be contributing to your list of symptoms? Why live at less than 100% simply because you fail to prioritize your own health?!?! The road to optimal health begins with a simple call to Firm Foundation Chiropractic (515) 440-2005.