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Are The Relationships in Your Life Energizing You or Exhausting You?

How Friendships and Associations can make a difference in your health.

By Camille Gallinger, CN

A friend of mine who is an incredible and respected doctor in California reminded me this week that it is still a recurring statistic that 95% of all illness is stress-based.  Since most of the people I work with in my consultancy practice are dealing with the effects of chronic stress and the resulting adrenal fatigue and exhaustion (as I once did), I have a heart to instruct and encourage people to healthfully reconsider areas in their lives that may be steadily contributing to energy-depleting stress.   One of these areas is relationships.

Are you surrounding yourself with relationships of people who fill you up or who slowly deplete you with each jab they take? Maybe it’s a combination of both, but depending on your current health and energy, it may be wise to consider making some adjustments if year after year you are not experiencing the vitality you want.  

Take some time and really think about the proximity of the personal connections that influence and profoundly affect your energy levels. At a recent seminar, I had the opportunity to share, from my experiences and observations, negative effects that three types of people can have on our vitality. I also talked about 2 types of people that cause our vitality to soar, either immediately or in the long run. I want to share it here because if you are reading this blog, you probably do a lot to take care of your health in order to regain your vitality so it’s worth taking a holistic viewpoint to protect your vitality.

Briefly, they are:

The Diminishers– these souls have the habit of diminishing you and your energy with subtle but intentional insults designed to constantly make you feel “less than” or to highlight perceived deficiencies.

The Damagers– these people are not so subtle but are rather strategic planners of methods to hurt you, whether it is through gossip, lies, or shame or measures like abandonment and broken promises.

The Destroyers – this group, often driven by hatred for whatever reason, regularly seeks to destroy you through things that might be precious to you such as your credibility, your livelihood, or your confidence.

Vitality Lifestyle Tip: Plan and pray as you consider how to limit or eliminate exposure to these groups in your quest for high vitality living. 

At the same time, there are friends you should intentionally keep in close proximity because they will not only save your health, they might save your sanity and your life.  Here are some fun names for them that will help you to remember.

The Sweet Fruit – these are the friends and connections that have a dose of encouragement and cheer for you because they truly care about your well-being and enjoy your success and happiness.  They want “the good” for you.  Like sweet fruit (grapes, mangoes, apples, bananas, persimmons) they are healthy and can build your body but too many of them can slow you down and make you sluggish.

The Bitter Greens – these courageous souls care for you equally as much as your “sweet fruit” friends but are brave enough to hurt you, when necessary, for your own good, especially if they perceive you’re headed for potential disaster in your health or well-being.  Unlike the aforementioned, they can actually hurt you without harming you. And like bitter greens (arugula, endive, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, kale, escarole, frisee) they can be bitter to the taste but they are necessary for good health, performance and quality of life. 

Vitality Lifestyle Tip: You need BOTH of these in your life. It’s difficult, actually impossible to be “self-made” when it comes to health, well-being, and success.

Rethink the proximity of your relationships – notice if you feel consistently drained or injured in a person’s presence or uplifted, refreshed or grateful. Be intentional about relationships if you want to experience more energy, joy and momentum (the definition of vitality) for the endeavors you want to accomplish in life and the strength and focus you’ll need to get them done.

Wisdom source: Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” and call understanding your intimate friend.  

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