HEALTHIER MIND / HEALTHIER BODY:
Every now and then we wish things were different―that we were three inches taller or not quite so shy.† We wish that we had more authority at work or more vacation time.† That our partner were more attentive or that a loved oneís health wasnít failing so fast.† Wishing is fine, of course.† But itís also important to be able to accept certain things the way they are.† Because studies have shown that the alternative―continually feeling angry, frustrated or depressed by events beyond your control―is downright unhealthy.
Are you making yourself sick?
If youíre the kind of person who has a hard time going with the flow or facing facts, you might be putting yourself at risk for health problems.† You may be more likely to get sick―and possibly even contract a serious illness like heart disease or cancer.† The fact is, our mental and physical wellbeing are deeply linked.† In this case, the ability to accept the imperfections in life, ourselves, and in others is associated with a healthier body and mind.
What does acceptance look like?
Although itís a rather passive word, the concept of acceptance is powerful.† Itís about letting go of unrealistic expectations, large and small.† Itís about coming to terms with reality―no matter how unfair or unpleasant it may be.† Acceptance is what we do when we acknowledge that no matter how hard we try, we canít control everything.† And when we recognize that the ongoing struggle can be destructive in the end.
When does acceptance make sense?
Acceptance is not the same thing as being weak, giving up or giving in.† It does not mean that you are a victim or a doormat.† It means that youíre able to stop, be objective and decide whether the things that are bothering you are really worth getting upset about.† If it is something outside your control―like the traffic, the stock market or other peopleís personalities―the answer is probably no.† Thatís not to say that there is nothing you can do to help yourself feel better.††
There are lots of ways to work through your feelings or refocus your attention.† If youíre in search of ideas, your EAP is a great place to start.
What are some common examples?
Some people have a hard time accepting themselves.† They never really feel satisfied with who they are or what theyíve accomplished.† Others are continually bothered by the behavior and beliefs of others―and theyíre compelled to try to change it, usually with little success.† And a lot of us simply struggle with the annoyances and unpredictabilities of life itself:† Everything from bad weather and barking dogs to politics, taxes and death.
Where can you turn?
Acceptance is something that is natural for some people.† Others have a harder time.† Either way, it takes practice.† Acceptance is an attitude of tolerance and an act of judgement that requires timing and tact.† You need to assess the situation and decide when to fight and when to fold.† But if you get it right, the reward is a happier outlook and better health.
If youíd like help becoming more accepting, call your Employee Assistance Program.† Itís a free resource, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for you, your dependents and household members.† The EAP offers counseling, information and referral services for all kinds of issues you face―from life-altering questions and events to day-to-day concerns.† Give us a call.† Weíre here to help.
Employee Assistance Program
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Copyright © CIGNA Behavioral Health, Inc. 2001