Choosing to Thrive—Not Just Survive


Exhausted? Fatigued? Overworked?

Unfortunately, these scenarios can describe many people in today’s society. Too many hours at the office, double duties as homemaker/parent and the pace of life in general—with technology coming at you from every direction—creates havoc and chaos.

Our lives don’t have to be out of control and filled with chaotic motion, though. We can choose to live healthier, more abundant lives by placing self-management at the top of our lists.

We constantly hear about stress management, but what is self-management?

Self-management is all about how you cope and interact with circumstances and people who appear in your life. We can’t stop stress from entering our lives, but we can manage our self with confidence and strength to ensure good feelings, energy and thoughts.

This is the cure for stress. When YOU are in control of yourself by choosing to be aware of your circumstances, and you are willing to learn strategies to help you through, you move from surviving to thriving.

Dr. Sharon Melnick, a Harvard-trained psychologist and educator, gave a lecture about our power to control our lives. By taking responsibility for what is in our control and letting go of what is not, we are able to catch our breath and live with more tranquility. Dr. Melnick speaks about the 50% rule: In relationships, we are only responsible for our 50%. The relationship you have with your boss, spouse, child, etc. is 50% yours. She emphasizes that trying to control what is not in your 50% creates feelings of stress.

To clarify, each one of us must be impeccable with our half. Live with integrity. Do what you say, and say what you will do. Make it a rule to under-promise and over-deliver. Carrying your weight in life is the responsible, right thing to do. By doing your full part, you not only create your best life, but you contribute to helping others live their best lives. So what do you do when others don’t carry their load? First, appreciate that we each come from our own upbringing and social conditioning. Every person’s long-standing coping patterns will ultimately affect the direction of a relationship. Even if your intentions are good, and you work hard to create a life of ease and calm, things may not turn out as well as you had hoped.

Self-management to the rescue! Self-care for body, mind and spirit allows you to make educated, balanced decisions. Evaluate what you want for your life. Understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for your standards. Too many of us settle for less because of fear. Letting go when necessary is part of living a true life. Living with an open heart that accepts differences is also vital.

Oprah is quoted as having said, “All stress comes from resisting what is.” I agree that we spend too much energy trying to fight the stuff we can’t change. Owning your 50% and being the best you, along with knowing what you want in your life, will lessen your stress and bring in more of the stuff you are looking for to create your best life.

A few life-coaching tips for self-management:

1. Create a self-care program for your life. Include your body, mind and spirit.

2. Become mindful of life in general. Creating a practice of gratitude (like starting a journal) and breathing work (which will create peace of mind) are two great places to start.

3. Get support to help you manage yourself. Find a good friend, rabbi or life coach who can help guide you to soothing techniques and advice.

By taking time to focus on your better life, you will definitely thrive—and not just survive.