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Identify What Life Domains Are Affected

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

A good first step towards figuring out what is wrong (if it isn't already obvious to you) is to identify which parts of your life are most affected by your problem. Mental health professionals have developed various classification systems useful for describing the important aspects of people's lives. A reasonably comprehensive summary list of life's various aspects or domains is presented below. In order to better help you appreciate the importance and scope of each domain presented in this list, we have included a list of questions to ask yourself regarding each one. If you can answer these questions for a given domain without having problems come to your mind, you probably don't have any serious problems with regard to that life domain.

Physical and Mental Health.
Your physical and mental health are the foundation upon which the rest of your life sits. Problems with physical or mental health are basic and tend to affect you on many levels. You have the potential to positively influence your health by making time to take good care of yourself (exercising regularly, eating healthy food and getting enough sleep), and by following doctor's instructions when you are prescribed a treatment regime. Physical and mental problems can be obvious or subtle. Consider the following questions to give yourself a sense as to whether your problem has to do with your physical or mental health:

  • Are you physically healthy?
  • Do you feel well? Do you feel energetic?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • Do you regularly eat a nutritionally sound diet?
  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Are you over-using or abusing alcohol, drugs of any kind or any foods?
  • Do you binge on food or purge foods (by use of self-directed vomiting or laxatives)?

Spirituality and Values.Though you may be physically healthy, you're unlikely to feel settled and comfortable if you don't have a set of values and/or spiritual beliefs that help anchor you and guide your actions and decisions. Even when people have a good set of values, they don't always follow those values. Conflicts between what you know you should do and what you end up doing can sometimes cause problems too. Consider the following questions to determine if your issue has to do with your spiritual beliefs or your value

  • Do you have a strong sense of your values (e.g., what is right and what is wrong)?
  • Are you able to live your values by putting them into action in your daily life (if not, does that bother you?)
  • Do you take part in any spiritual practices? If not, would you like to?
  • Do you have spiritual beliefs? If so, are these beliefs helping or hindering you in living a satisfactory life?
  • If you don’t have what you consider spiritual beliefs, would you like to develop some? Do you think this would be helpful to you?

 

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