I tackled my life goals as quickly as possible. It was 1997, the year I finished graduate school. I needed to complete my thesis, plan a wedding, and look for a job.
Despite my multi-tasking, I managed to graduate with honors. And, over the next 3 weeks, I moved to a new city, found an apartment, landed a job in my field, and got married. I was at the top of my game, or so I thought.
Looking back, it felt like I was moving at warp speed on auto-pilot. What was the result of all this hyper-change? Well, I was sick on our honeymoon. I won’t get into the details, but I didn’t eat much during our trip. And, by my first day of work, I was still not feeling well.
I was no longer immune to the effects of stress. I was shaken up and felt like my health was out of my hands. I gradually regained my health, by discovering I have choices.
Choice #1: Look inside yourself for answers
At first, I consulted many medical professionals to determine a diagnosis and treatment. I tried different medications with some relief. Ultimately, I was becoming more dependent on my doctors to make me feel better.
Medical professionals are great at treating diseases and handling emergency procedures. Yet, I didn’t have either of these. I was starting to see that I wanted my body to function better. I was done treating the symptoms.
Choice #2: Put good fuel in your body
After I exhausted medical treatments, I consulted an array of holistic healers. I tried massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, energy healer, and a nutritionist.
Like most college students, I had gotten used to eating a lot of junk food. I am surprised that my brain was able to perform and learn as much as it did. My poor diet wasn’t helping my body function to it’s fullest anymore. And, I started eating whole foods and limiting my sugar intake.
Choice #3: Spread out life changes whenever possible
Prior to this, I never, not even once, stopped to think that stress could be contributing to my physical symptoms. I mean I had just received my Masters in Clinical Psychology. Wouldn’t I know how to manage my stress now?
I also learned that we all need time to adapt to changes in our lives. By 1998, my health symptoms were more manageable, and I started a new job. It was the job I had been looking for, as I would finally begin counseling others. I didn’t make anymore major life changes that year!
Choice #4: Reduce the impact worry has on your life
There is always more to learn, isn’t there? I heard a speaker talk about how relationships can have an impact on our health. I was very intrigued, and sat on this idea for about a year. I didn’t know what she was talking about, but I was curios.
I eventually hired her, and began recognizing how worry had an impact on my health. I challenged my worry, and became more calm about my physical health. I don’t remember when the physical symptoms evaporated, but they did.
Choice #5: Allow others to be responsible for themselves
I gained even more than eliminating my stress-related health problems. I also discovered new choices in how I relate to others. Allowing others to learn from their mistakes and make their own decisions is liberating. How long do you think it takes to pop a symptom, like poor health, once you carry other peoples’ problems around with you?
Choice #6: Be mindful of small choices each day
It’s weird, but the physical symptoms eventually led me to open up a whole new world . It’s not just how I think or what I put into my body, it’s remembering that I have choices in every moment and in each interaction. What choices are in front of me? And, what choices are in front of others?
There are always more choices than we are aware of. When you bring your choices to your awareness, it is liberating. Even more freeing is watching life change happen by making small steps.
Finding and Holding onto Liberating Choices
Today, I am physically healthy. I am enjoying my creative kids, a growing practice, and an active life. Do I still get the occasional stress-related symptom? Of course, who doesn’t! But, my symptoms are no longer chronic. They are temporary hiccups.
I am using my life and my work to share how making small choices in your day-to-day life can bring big changes. Here, I want to encourage you toward finding and holding onto choices that liberate you.
Have you ever been through a tidal wave of change? Share what small steps have made a big impact on improving your health and happiness.
This blog is having a makeover. The first step is changing the name from Changing Perspectives to Liberating Choices. If you enjoyed reading this, follow Marci’s blog by subscribing via RSS or by Email to get updates.
Photo Credit: Flavio Spugna