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Welcome to the Minding What Matters community of learners.  Minding What Matters is the newsletter developed by Dakhari Psychological Services, LLC to deliver information relevant to your mental and behavioral health, education, wellness, family, and community interests.  We are dedicated to becoming a valued first resource for clients and professionals in the health and well-being of our communities. 
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It has been said that one very important factor that tips the scale toward either stress or passion is value.  Yes, even when our intensity of effort is the same, we call it  passion when we are working toward and focused on our values. When our actions are not aligned with our values we are much more likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and disconnected.  One approach that we utilize in our practice, which comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), is to help individuals engage in values clarification exercises (click here for an example.) Aligning effort with values can prove quite powerful. 

As a psychologist I have the privilege and opportunity to engage in conversation with many individuals - young and old alike - about their values.  In session I am frequently referencing images of "moving towards your lighthouse - your values" or commenting that "it's what matters to you that's important." Indeed even the inspiration for our newsletter's name ' MindingWhatMatters' came from ideals of the importance of focusing on values.  

As you read on and enjoy our own Dr. Sheryl Pipe's article, I hope that you will also take some time in the coming days to ponder how the themes of value, significance, and engaged living can empower and excite you. 

E n j o y !

J. Oni Dakhari, PsyD

Licensed Psychologist

NJ #4481  DE#736

Minding What Matters, Editor-in-Chief

Engaged Living

What do  you think of when you read the word "value"..."worth", "importance" or "significance"?  Perhaps "ethics", "principles" or "ideals"?  It can be said that our ethics, principles, and ideals are what give our lives worth, importance and significance.  Pursuing endeavors that support our values make life more fulfilling and sometimes also make some of life's trials and tribulations more tolerable (McKay, Wood & Brantley, 2010). 

Research within the realm of positive psychology is looking at a relatively new construct, Engaged Living -which is defined as having a passion to help others and be completely immersed in activities.  It involves social integration and absorption.  Studies (e.g., Froh et al, 2010) have indicated that youth high in engaged living tend to be more grateful, hopeful, happier, and prosocial.  They also report higher levels of life satisfaction, positive affect, higher levels of self-esteem, and better grades.  Those with high levels of engaged living also tend to be less depressed, envious, antisocial and delinquent.   Those with high levels of engaged living tend to endorse statements such as, "I want to make the world a better place," and, "when doing things I enjoy I get lost in it."  They value engagement and contributing to their community.  By pursuing such activities, they add fulfillment to their lives. 

But the concept of engaged living is not reserved only for youth.  Research among adults also indicates that those who are committed to intrinsically motivating social values (e.g., doing this makes my life more meaningful) exhibit greater life satisfaction and positive affect.  Those committed to extrinsically motivating values (e.g., doing this will result in social or financial reward or not doing this will result in social or financial losses) are more likely to exhibit negative affect ( Ferssizidis et al, 2010)

So how do we use this knowledge about values-based or engaged living to reap the benefits and make life more fulfilling?  How do we use this knowledge to make some of the things we must do more tolerable?  It comes down to how we think about things and if we think of our life activities as consistent with our values. 

Do you value family?  Maintaining relationships with family members, regardless of how difficult they may be at times, conforms to your values and may be viewed as tolerable and intrinsically motivated. 

Do you value education?  Taking time to engage in learning events and studying can be absorbing and intrinsically motivating.  Refraining from some leisure activities to study and do well academically is more easily tolerated. 

Do you value work?   Spending time engaged in work related activities is satisfying and validating, regardless of the financial compensation.

Do you value spirituality and religion?  Engaging in work for or rituals of your faith will be rewarding. 

Are romantic relationships important to you?  Investing time and attention to finding or maintaining a relationship is seen as a worthwhile endeavor.

Do you value being a contributing member of your community?  Community service activities will be fulfilling and engaging. 

How can we assess our values?  There are some research scales available but for learning about ourselves, they may not be necessary.  We can be less structured in a self-assessment and ponder questions such as:  I would be at my best if I could ...?  In my interactions with others, I want to experience ...?   I want to be remembered for ...?  When we can view what you do through these lenses, we become socially integrated and absorbed. 

Ferssizidis, P., Adams, L. M., Kashdan, T. B., Plummer, C., Mishra, A., & Ciarrochi, J. (2010). Motivation for and commitment to social values: The roles of age and gender.    Motivation and Emotion ,    34 (4), 354-362.

Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Yurkewicz, C., Fan, J., Allen, J., & Glowacki, J. (2010). The benefits of passion and absorption in activities: Engaged living in adolescents and its role in psychological well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 311-332.

McKay, M., Wood, J., & Brantley, J. (2007). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. New Harbinger Publications.

Licensed Psychologist
NJ# 5376

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Words of Wisdom
A Word to the Wise
The spot for words of wisdom, pick-me-ups, funny stories, and quotable quotes.

"Try not to become a [person] of success rather try to become a [person] of value"  
 ~Albert Einstein
     (Disclaimer:  Success and value are not mutually exclusive...one can be a successful person of value...just like Albert Einstein.)

"Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself."
~ Nathaniel Branden
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J. Oni Dakhari, PsyD                      Sheryl Pipe, PhD                  
Licensed Psychologist                     Licensed Psychologist           Licensed Psychologist
856-796-3392                                  516-652-2467                        856-617-1897
NJ Lic# 4481 DE Lic# 736               NJ Lic # 5376                        NJ Lic# 5435


We trust that you will find the information and resources we have offered to be a benefit.  Please be advised that while Dakhari Psychological Services, LLC works with other professionals to help offer you helpful services that we are not responsible for the content of their services. Please note that all material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical, academic, or otherwise personal advise or instruction.  No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information.  We urge readers to consult appropriate professionals on any matters relating to their health and well-being.  The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the authors, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. In addition, the information and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of every contributor to Minding What Matters and we welcome the exchange of different viewpoints.