Valuing Your Value

By David Haddad, EdD, Program Director, MA in Counseling Psychology in Community Mental Health; Core Faculty in the Counseling Psychology Department October 05, 2015

Mental Health Tips from William James College Faculty: Valuing Your Values by David Haddad, EdD, Program Director, MA in Counseling Psychology in Community Mental Health; Core Faculty in the Counseling Psychology Department.

Values determine the choices, actions and attitudes we bring to our lives. They determine what we care about and what gives our lives meaning. Research in positive psychology has demonstrated that when we pay attention to what we value, it contributes to our overall mental health and well-being. When we take the time to identify and pursue healthy values, it is often accompanied by actions that broaden our capacity to respond to life’s challenges. We move in the direction of what we are curious about. So the simple act of shifting our attention to what we want more of in our lives can serve as the catalyst for positive change.

Tips for Cultivating Appreciation for What You Value

  • Be Appreciative: Make a practice of appreciating colleagues, friends, and family. Look for what you value. 
  • Be Curious: Pay attention to the kinds of questions you ask. Are you in a debate or are you practicing curiosity? What do your questions say about what you value? 
  • Practice Kindness: The golden rule is golden because it works. Try it out; make the intention to practice acts of kindness and keep track of what effect it has on your mood. 
  • Be Grateful: One of the most effective positive psychology interventions is the gratitude journal. At the end of each day write down three things that you are grateful for. Consider the relationship between what you’re grateful for and what you value. 
  • Reflect: Create time for self-reflection. What we value shows up in those moments when we feel our lives are really working. Without self-reflection, these moments pass by unnoticed. 

Like any new skill, paying attention to what you value requires practice. Research has shown that as little as six weeks of practice can increase our understanding of what gives meaning to our lives and increases our sense of well-being.