Aligning values with stressors and rewards

Lesson 31 of Recovery Nation had some interesting questions.

A. Make a list of all identifiable stressors that have affected your emotional health over the past week. For each, document whether it is a mild, moderate, severe or extreme stressor. 

1) Supporting my wife in dealing with the trauma and grief I caused as well as with other “normal, routine” stressful issues: severe; 2) preparing for forced retirement, relocation, and job hunting: severe; 3) adjusting to fluid travel schedules and other responsibilities at work and as a parent-volunteer leader: moderate; 4) dealing with parents, dog, traffic, co-workers, and other people and events in general: mild

B. Return to your values list created earlier in the workshop. In a healthy life, the majority of energy being drained (e.g. stress) should be related to the pursuit of your highest prioritized values (top fifteen or so). Do you see this pattern in your life? If not, what do you think this means in terms of the way that you are expending your energy? 

Here, again, are my top fifteen values

1. Counting my blessings

2. Honesty

3. Maturity 

4. Being a good husband 

5. Being a good father 

6. Wanting the best for my family

7. Protecting my family

8. Meaningful relationships with my wife and kids

9. Being active

10. Being useful

11. Lifelong learning 

12. Creating new ideas throughout life

13. Improving the community or world

14. Living with integrity 

15. Living with compassion 

Yes, in my view, it does appear that the stressors I listed above are basically related to the several top values that relate to family and earning a living.

C. Likewise, in a healthy life, the majority of meaning and stimulation that you gain should also be related to your highest values. Do you see this pattern in your life? If not, what do you think this means in terms of the quality of life you are living?

Yes, it does seem to match. Five years ago I don’t believe it did match.


10 thoughts on “Aligning values with stressors and rewards

  1. MC,

    Values are important as they guide a person through what is “good/right ” and “bad/wrong”, “desirable” and “undesirable” behaviours. Values influence behaviour and attitude and they serve as broad guidelines in all situations (freely adapted from
    I am a bit puzzled by how #B is worded; as energy drained and as stress. If loyalty and honesty are one’s person’s most important values, and they live by it, it would not drain them, but would inspire them and would give peace.
    If one goes against their values, it would result in “cognitive dissonance”, and as a result in stress which is draining one’s energy.

    So, in short, behaviours that are inconsistent with your values are draining as someway and somehow they need to be “molded” to make them fit (justifications). Behaviours (including thoughts as well as actions) that are in-line with what you feel is important in life gives peace. They cost energy, but are not draining as they feel good and are invigorating.
    When these values with your consistent behaviour are in-tune with your beliefs and directly concern your wife and children, the return is invigorating you.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, good point. One thing that bothers me about Recovery Nation, aside from Jon Marsh’s poor writing, is his inconsistent terminology. I think you’re right, that doing things in support of your own values might drain energy but not create stress. Thanks for noticing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Repairing wrong doing costs energy, but when these lead to “going back to your core values”, the rewards are huge. They will be intrinsically rewarding (peace) and they come from those who appreciate that you are doing the work.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you.
        My husband says the same. He feels also good when repairing although it is emotional.
        I had a flare-up of anger the other day. I had so many reminders due to not sleeping and a bad nightmare. Not proud of me going at him. It was not good. I need to take responsibility of my actions and do it differently. My husband said that he is not giving up when I said that I could not do it anymore. I hate myself when I act like an angry mad-person.

        Being in-tune with his values provide my husband with peace and me with hope.
        Today we are going to do an outdoor activity with the four of us…like the wild-water rafting. This time we go snowshoeing in the mountains. I wish you and TL and your kids a peaceful holiday.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You know, Elizabeth, it would be wonderful to join you for rafting or snow-shoeing. That’s the kind of thing I love to do with TL and the boys. Right now it looks like a good day for biking or walking, as we anticipate a New Year party.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. TL and I have exactly the same experience with anger flare-ups that you just described. Obviously, don’t be too hard on yourself about it, Elizabeth. It’s not your fault. You’re handling this admirably, just like TL is. And, I too tell my wife I won’t give up, even when she says she has had enough.


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