September 24, 2019

Hope in Despair

As a therapist and a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I believe all the parts of an individual are interconnected and dependent on every other part. What I mean by this is the number of hours of sleep we get and how and what we eat and drink on a daily basis is connected to how we treat our partner. And each of these are integrally connected to the amount and the quality of time that we spend communing with our Creator. Our ability to exercise and whether or not we feel like exercising is quite likely directly connected to all of the above-mentioned parts of us. 

The importance of each one of these things is not new to us, but perhaps the degree that they are connected and even dependent on each other might be a new way to conceptualize how we treat ourselves. Think of the curves of a Slinky. Each curve is its own wave, but each is interdependent on all the other waves. When one wave goes down, the rest follow. When one goes up . . . You get the idea.

How much sleep we get might determine the choices we make regarding food and drink consumption, getting up to get to work on time and whether we have energy enough to motivate ourselves to exercise.

If you feel you’re not performing in certain areas to the maximum of your potential, check the areas listed above to see if they are balanced and are being given adequate attention. It is important to remember that when one area is out of balance, it will pull the others out of balance. Take a moment to ask yourself which area is the most out of balance and choose one thing that might help you improve in that area. For example, if it has been a while since you’ve done physical activity, commit to going for a 10 minute walk two different days next week.

When I discuss this topic with my clients or students, they usually respond with, “I’m too busy. I don’t have time.” This excuse is an attempt by your brain to resist change. Change is hard and not always welcomed by our brain, which tends to crave what it knows and resists what it doesn’t know. My recommendation is to always choose a small change that is sustainable.  Once you have that small change incorporated into your life, increase the frequency or duration by another small step and practice that.

Everyone is busy! It’s become a hallmark of our society. If we don’t focus on improving our quality of life, we will be spending more of our time with medical interventions.

It is important to note that this article is not intended to take the place of medical advice or to diminish the effects of mental or personality disorders.

Brad Hinman, LPC, LMFT, AASECT is a certified sex therapist, director of Hinman Counseling Services, and assistant professor, Andrews University.