The Life/Health Totem Pole and Stress


Totem pole


What does your life totem pole look like?  How do you have it set up?

What is a life totem pole?  Well for me, this is a system of values and priorities that I use to determine what is important in my life.  So to make this simple, I will show you an example with mine:

BOTTOM LEVEL: This would include focusing on my health, fitness, relationships, family, safety, etc.  This includes taking the time to eat properly, sleep properly, fix any problems in relationships, developing good quality relationships, making sure enough finances are available, learning methods of sustainable farming, etc.  This also involves a healthy spiritual and emotional practice, and dealing with anything that happens to be there.  In other words, if I have no extra time, finances, or energy, these are the things I will spend them on.

2ND LEVEL:  In the second tier, I would put things such as career advancement, job placements, making sure I really like what I am doing and am fulfilled on a career path.  This also includes learning about things such as sustainable living, business, banking, stock market, etc.  School goes in this category as well.  These are basically things that are critical to your life and future in the long run but are not as important for you health and mind as the things in level 1.

3RD LEVEL:  In the third level, some more extracurricular fun starts in.  These are things like new hobbies you may want to learn.  For me, its learning the guitar and hunting.  I also want to be able to have more time to hang out with friends.  So this level for me represents friends and hobbies.  If a friend is having a life-challenging event or problem, they will go down to the bottom level until this issue is resolved.

4TH LEVEL:  This level is my last level.  Maybe you have more than 4.  This represents goofing off, wasting time, etc.  Things like mindlessly surfing the internet, spending too much time on Facebook, things of that nature.  These are things that really have no big impact on our lives.

So I have a question for you?  How do you think the average American’s Life Totem is set up?  Unfortunately, I see things very out-of-order sometimes.  Maybe getting that new Mercedes becomes more important than spending time with your children.  Maybe going out partying with your friends becomes more important than your career.  There is no right or wrong way to have this set up.  However, I believe that the basics remain the same.  If you find yourself stressing out about your health, it may be time to focus away from hobbies and friends for a while and learn more about how to get/stay healthy.  If your low on finances, work with that.  Don’t be wasting precious time and energy on higher-level stuff when the bottom is hurting.  Focus on your health, family, passions, God, and almost everything will be able to flow from there.  If you don’t have the bottom level it will be extremely hard to reach the top levels for long.  You do not want to risk your totem pole falling over as it does to so many people here.  So what does your Totem look like?



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