The overarching theme of all my writings is the extraordinary connection between Mind, Body and Soul. They are the three pillars of life and inextricably linked for overall wellbeing and happiness: challenge the Mind, exercise the Body and nourish the Soul. Sounds simple yet it is so easy to be out of balance, just ask a workaholic or a marathon runner. They dedicate all their time, energy and focus on one endeavor, compromising the necessary attention to the other two pillars. That may be okay in the short term but ultimately they will desire calibration for total fulfillment in life.
Of course, it’s great to have goals and dreams and strive to be the best you can be. But my message is, regardless of your ambitions or over/underachiever status, to simply be mindful of this delicate balance in your every day life. There will be days, weeks, months, even years that may be skewed, but your self-awareness of any imbalance is the critical part I’m hoping to convey here. By taking a holistic approach with these three dimensions, we can effectively manage each key facet of your life. So let’s explore further:
Your Mind is either growing or slipping, it is never stagnant. Are you challenging your mind with new interests, hobbies, skills, projects? Do you have creative outlets to harness your mental energy in the right direction? Are you getting mental stimulation from your friends, acquaintances, colleagues? An active mind is a healthy mind so give your brain a regular workout, but also rest it with meditation and adequate sleep.
Your Body is your temple, so a healthy diet and exercise are essential here. Food is a genuine pleasure of life, but strive to eat to live as much as live to eat. In other words, the primary role of your diet should be energy and nutrition; not to satisfy an insatiable sweet tooth. Simple substitutions such as replacing candy for fruit (nature’s candy!) can make a profound difference. I could dedicate my entire website to this subject as there are so many conflicting, mixed messages in the marketplace.
Exercise obviously keeps you lean and fit, but it also delivers an oxygen boost to the brain which can enhance your memory, your ability to think and reason, and fight depression. Even simply carving out twenty minutes a day to briskly walk around your neighborhood can have a extraordinarily beneficial impact.
Your Soul is the essence of who you are and your spirit. Ironically, for such an incredibly important subject (i.e. -you!), many of us don’t invest the time to fully nurture the Soul. Perhaps because this is an intangible quality that’s difficult to measure. But it starts and ends with one word: LOVE. Family, friends, pets, church, community, connection in your daily activities are all essential ingredients to tapping into your Soul. Helping one another, random acts of kindness, doing the right thing and just spreading the love will nourish the Soul. We feel empty inside when we lack meaningful connections as deep fulfillment can only arise when we feel we are a part of something larger than ourselves.
And then there is the elusive, eternal quest for our Soul mate. But who is our Soul mate if we don’t truly know ourselves? The romantic view is it’s an undeniable connection with someone special; the psychologist’s view is it’s a reflection of self so we can ultimately then truly love ourselves. Freudian theory aside, once we explore our own identity and nourish our spirituality, a Soul mate can complement your true essence and align with you. This increased self-awareness of who we truly are meant to be in this world is a critical key to unlocking your path to happiness and getting the balance right.
So how do you capture or track your progress with the three dimensions of Mind, Body and Soul? My ideal method is to quantify this by keeping a mental scorecard. At the end of each day, sum up each of these three pillars on a scale of 1-10. For example, if today you had a challenging new project at work and then took a photography class in the evening, your score may look like the following: Mind 10/Body 3/Soul 2. The day offered you great mental stimulation, but left little time for exercise or contemplation. No problem. It’s all about compromise and moderation. Tomorrow, you will make a concerted effort to eat healthy and go for a long hike in beautiful nature where you always find peace of mind and this score may look like Mind 2/Body 9/Soul 8. Add up your daily points and then plot out your trajectory on a weekly, monthly, even annual basis to assess if you are lopsided or neglecting any of the three dimensions. A perfect balance will have you scoring 5 or higher on any given day. It’s a calibration that constantly needs tweaking, but being mindful of this intra-relationship will help you get the balance right between Mind, Body and Soul.