In Part 1 we discussed the need to reestablish a sense of balance in our lives. Let us now explore some ideas and suggestions to help us get things better under control.
There has never been a person who, upon reaching their last gasping breath, said, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” People will tell you with words that their families are more important than their work, but actions still speak louder than words. Be honest with yourself and consider where your priorities truly are. If you are not sure of your priorities, consider the following story.
A teacher showed his class a very large empty glass jar. Then he showed them several very large stones. Carefully he placed stones, one after the other, into the jar until there was room for no more. Then he asked the class if the jar was full. They assured him that it was. However, he shook his head and proceeded to bring out a bucket of gravel. He began pouring the gravel in with the large stones. Gravel worked its way into the spaces between the stones until, once again, the jar had room for no more. Again he asked if the jar was full, and again, but without quite as much certainty, the class assured him that they thought so. The teacher then commenced to bring out a pail filled with sand. The sand easily worked its way into the niches and spaces throughout the gravel, until once again, the jar had room for no more. Again the class was asked if the jar was full. They were not quite so sure this time. Then the teacher brought out a large pitcher of water and began pouring it into the jar. The water swirled and flowed easily between stones, gravel, and sand, until at last, there was room for no more.
The teacher asked the class what lesson they had learned and someone came back with, “There is always room for more.” The teacher shook his head. “The lesson,” he said, “is that you must put the big stones in first.”
The big stones are the priorities of life — the really important stuff. If you put those in first, you will be able to fit other things around them in your day-to-day schedule. But it is next to impossible to fit big, important stuff in after other, less important things have filled your date book. So the task is to rediscover your priorities and to plan for those first.
So here are some concepts to help you reclaim your life’s priorities. They are the 3 R’s (plus a couple) of health that we need to claim for ourselves.
● Rest at regular intervals — this does not mean coming home from work with work to do.
● Rediscover your priorities, and plan for them first.
● Renew yourself by getting a fresh look at life from another perspective — this includes both mental and spiritual — consider joining a spiritual study group.
● Relax regularly, something that most people in our culture do not know how to do — learn truly healthy relaxation skills such as the Relaxation Response, and not phony ones such as watching television or smoking.
● Reorient your life to reflect the things that are truly important — maybe it is time for a new career direction, a new focus on family, or some other orientation that makes sense to you as you submit your health to God’s care.
● Recreate — it is no accident that this word can be pronounce either “Rec-reate” as in to play, or as “Re-create” as to rebuild or renew — one of the ways we Re-create ourselves is through play.
● Release control of your life into God’s hands, or to borrow a phrase, “Let Go and Let God” — The Creator knows what you need and will help you discover how to rest and recreate in the midst of your busy life if you will trust, listen, and let go.
Regularly taking time from your busy life for rest is a needful part of healthfully modeling yourself after the creator of all things, and a way to refresh your life. Unless we rest and renew on a regular basis, we cannot hope to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind,” because we will be too involved in busy-ness to know what it is The Creator wants us to do.
Slow down. Rest.
Remember to be good to you!
Copyright © 2013 by Gary L. Flegal, Ph.D.
•Dr. Gary Flegal is a Behavioral Medicine and Health Specialist with a doctorate in “Health Education and Human Performance” from Michigan State University. He is an exciting and accomplished presenter and keynote speaker, presenting seminars for groups and companies on location and at conventions. His advanced training in stress management came to him while working in affiliation with the original Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. and his staff. In addition to corporate presentations, Dr. Flegal keeps a busy schedule working with individual clients for a variety of stress-related issues, including anger management, quitting smoking, learning to relax and manage stress, and learning self-hypnosis.
Dr. Flegal’s other passion is magic. He has been a professional magician for over 30 years and continues practicing his art at every opportunity. These two passions work together beautifully as he illustrates stress management concepts with fun, visual, and “magical” demonstrations in his stress management workshops and seminars. It also allows him to share stress management with his magic audiences wherever he goes because “Laughter is the Best Medicine!” Gary is a Reiki Master and a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists.
Dr. Flegal’s specialties include stress management, anger management, positive behavior change, insomnia, smoking cessation, and exercise physiology. For individual appointments, speaking engagements, or more information, contact Gary at Professional Stress Management Services in Nashville, Tennessee, at (615)812-7280 or through his Web site: www.GaryFlegal.com.