HEALTHY LIFESTYLE (a sister site to www.basic-counseling-skills.com)
Personal Well-Being Check List
• Anti-nutrents including junk food, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and illegal drugs
• Check in with Dr/NP (weight, blood pressure, blood work including hemoglobin, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and thyroid functioning)
• Our brains need regular and diverse stimulation.
• We thrive on meaningful, paying work.
• Time with partner
• Time for children and / or parents
• Personal time or “down-time”
• That which gives meaning to one's life and draws one to transcend oneself.
Socio-Economic Well-Being Check List
• Food security – always has groceries
• Clothing – especially in northern climates
• Shelter – safe pleasant housing
• Access to health care including dental, vision, hearing, dietary, etc.
CAREGIVING AND EDUCATION
• Child care or elder care
• Income – over the poverty line
• Job security
• Safe recreational areas including parks, pools, hiking trails
• A valued role in the family, work and community.
• Culture / race – addressing possible discrimination
• Gender / sexual orientation - discrimination
There is a comprehensive Directory of Community Resources put together by Sudbury Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association - on-line.
Regular Acts of Kindness
When all is said and done, however, people who feel the happiest and the healthiest are those who practice "regular acts of kindness." A national survey of 3,000 Americans who regularly volunteer hows that more than 95 percent said they experienced heightened physical sensations--a "helper's high"--which for many led to an improvement in overall health, reduced stress, relief from depression and a decreased awareness of pain.
The research also shows that there's a particular kind of altruism that, over time, boosts your health and happiness the most - one-on-one contact with a stranger. Empathy is the key to experiencing the lasting euphoria and youthful energy that altruism brings, says Allan Luks, an attorney who heads New York City's Big Brother/Big Sister organization and who led the national volunteer survey, described in his book The Healing Power of Doing Good.
Problems and pain don't vanish completely when you volunteer, Luks says, but they can be alleviated to a great degree when you focus outside yourself. Helping someone else helps you leave your worries behind.
I have an entire website dedicated to counseling. Section D is all about Self Help and provides you lots of information and exercises. See http://www.basic-counseling-skills.com/self-help.html
- Jan Carrie Steven, MA, RSW