Bernie’s Well Being Check List
How to Get Sick:
- Don’t pay attention to your body. Eat plenty of junk food, drink too much, take drugs, have lots of unsafe sex with lots of different partners and…above all, feel guilty about it. If you are over-stressed & tired, ignore it & keep pushing yourself.
- Cultivate the experience of your life as meaningless & of little value.
- Do the things you do not like & avoid doing what you really want. Follow everyone else’s opinion & advice, while seeing yourself as miserable & “stuck”.
- Be resentful & hyper-critical, especially towards yourself.
- Fill your mind with dreadful pictures, & then obsess over them. Worry most, if not all, of the time.
- Avoid deep, lasting, intimate relationships.
- Blame other people for all your problems.
- Do not express your feelings & views openly & honestly. Other people wouldn’t appreciate it. If at all possible, do not even know what your feelings are.
- Shun anything that resembles a sense of humor. Life is no laughing matter!
- Avoid making any changes which would bring you greater satisfaction & joy.
How To Get Sicker (if you’re already sick):
- Think about all the awful things that could have happened to you. Dwell upon negative, fearful images.
- Be depressed, self-pitying, envious, & angry. Blame everyone & everything for your illness.
- Read articles, books & newspapers, watch TV programs & listen to people who reinforce the viewpoint that there is no hope. You are powerless to influence your fate.
- Cut yourself off from other people. Regard yourself as a pariah. Lock yourself up in your room & contemplate death.
- Hate yourself for having destroyed your life. Blame yourself mercilessly & incessantly.
- Go see lots of different doctors. Run from one to another, spend half your time in waiting rooms, get lots of conflicting opinions & lots of experimental drugs, & start one program after another without sticking to any.
- Quit your job, stop work on any projects, give up all activities that bring you a sense of purpose & fun. See your life as essentially pointless, & at an end.
- Complain about your symptoms, & if you associate with anyone, do so exclusively with other people who are unhappy & embittered. Reinforce each other’s feelings of hopelessness.
- Don’t take care of yourself. What’s the use? Try to get other people to do it for you, & then resent them for not doing a good job.
- Think how awful life is, & how you might as well be dead. But make sure you are absolutely terrified of death, just to increase the pain.
How to Stay Well (or get better, if you’re not so well to begin with):
- Do things that bring you a sense of fulfillment, joy, & purpose, that validate your worth. See your life as your own creation, & strive to make it a positive one.
- Pay close & loving attention to yourself, tuning in to your needs on all levels. Take care of yourself, nourishing, supporting, & encouraging yourself.
- Release all negative emotions-resentment, envy, fear, sadness & anger. Express your feelings appropriately; don’t hold on to them. Forgive yourself.
- Hold positive images & goals in your mind, pictures of what you truly want in your life. When fearful images arise, re-focus love images that evoke feelings of peace & joy.
- Love yourself, & love everyone else. Make loving the purpose & primary expression in your life.
- Create fun, loving, honest relationships, allowing for the expression & fulfillment of needs for intimacy & security. Try to heal any wounds in past relationships, as with old lovers, & mother & father.
- Make positive contribution to your community, through some form of work or service that you will value & enjoy.
- Make a commitment to health & well-being, & develop a belief in the possibility of total heal. Develop your own healing program, drawing on the support & advice of experts without becoming enslaved to them.
- Accept yourself & everything in your life as an opportunity for growth & learning. Be grateful. When you ____ up, forgive yourself, learn what you can from the experience, & then move on.
- Keep a sense of humor.
Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. from the book Peace, Love & Healing by Bernie S. Siegel, MD, Copyright © 1989 by Bernie S. Siegel
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