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M
ind Over Matter
 

Feeling Good: Reaching the Top of Your Game

© Barry Bittman MD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by Barry Bittman MD. View all columns in series
Are you at the top of your game?

As you might imagine, I'm not referring to sports.

Your "game" refers to your unique way of life and the delicate balance that enables you to feel your best.

Staying on top of our game rarely becomes our primary objective when simply making it through each day is tough enough. I suppose life itself is a game - one that sometimes becomes progressively more challenging each day. It's obvious that "survival," our principal objective, is bound to take precedence over playing well.

So if our energy is spent on surviving or simply getting from point A to B each day, where does the "game" enter the arena of life? No doubt living in a fast-paced society takes it’s toll, yet isn't there more to living than simply existing?

If you spend a few moments pondering this issue, perhaps you'll discover a rational personal strategy for staying on top of your game. And when you do, I'm certain you'll be rewarded for your efforts. Playing the game of life with greater ease and joy than you’ve ever imagined is certainly worth the effort.

The key to staying on top of your game often requires a change of perspective, or better yet, an attitude adjustment. Perhaps the best place to begin is self-reflection prompted by one important question. Ask yourself if you really feel the way you’d like to feel.

Far more challenging than it seems, this question is often avoided. Sometimes it triggers sarcasm or a series of defense mechanisms. It's far easier to avoid one’s personal truth. Yet for now, try to set your standards at least a few notches beyond just breathing or being able to look down and see green.

Why not stop what you are doing, take a few slow deep even breaths, and focus on how you really feel inside? The following questions may guide you to the heart of the matter:

  • Is there a sense of melancholy that's blocking a smile?
  • Is there something you’re dealing with that hurts deep within?
  • Is there a relationship that's tearing you apart?
  • Is there an unfinished goal that’s preventing you from being who you want to become?

Your answers are likely to produce more than insights. The pain associated with one's sense of reality often bring forth unpleasant emotions that signal emptiness or loss. Perhaps that's why we tend to ignore our personal truths.

Consider writing down your answers and set aside some quiet time each day to explore them one at a time. Entertain potential solutions and develop a simple and doable plan you feel comfortable carrying out. If this challenge seems overwhelming for you alone, why not discuss the matter with a loved-one, close friend or confidant. If these resources aren't available, consider speaking with a spiritual leader, a therapist or your personal physician. Sometimes working with a caring and dedicated professional can help unlock the gates that are preventing you from playing your game.

While this process might superficially seems like no more than a mind game, I can assure you it is not. Rediscovering peace of mind and restoring what’s missing in your life is the true essence of healing - becoming whole again in mind, body and spirit.

For the mind and body are inseparable teammates, and your game requires both players. Whether you’re facing financial challenges, struggling through raising a family or dealing with a serious illness, the playing field requires your active participation.

The rules are simple: in order to stay on top of your game, you must play.

Perhaps it's time to ask yourself if you are really playing on the field of life, or are you just struggling to mop up the field in order to simply keep it dry? It's amazing how fast life can pass us by without any real engagement!

Achieving your best possible quality of life depends on you! Ultimately the choice is yours. Far more than you might imagine is at stake - peace of mind, freedom to experience life as a player rather than as an observer, and most importantly, your mind-body health.

So ask yourself if you’re at the top of your game. And always be prepared for the answer and the next inning. For the bases are loaded, and the next pitch isn’t going to leave the glove without you standing bat in hand at the plate.

Remember the words of Woody Allen, "75% of success is showing up!" Strive to be present in your existence, take an active role in your well-being and step up to the plate. Most importantly ... play your game with gusto. Your next swing could be a grand slam - Mind Over Matter!

©2001 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary outpatient medical facility in Meadville, PA., Dr. Bittman has pioneered a new paradigm for treating the “whole person.” Based upon extensive......more
 
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