Navigating through life isn’t always a straight route of health and happiness. Life twists and turns… and veers off course more than you might like. Sometimes you may find yourself lost, stumbling onto a path of self-destruction or dysfunction. Or maybe you’re traversing through tough terrain with the wrong equipment. But every woman has a hero who can save her and get her back on track. It may just take a little work to discover that this hero is — herself.
You have the power and resilience to overcome any battle. You can heal your wounds. Shine and prosper. But it’s an interconnection of the mind, body and soul that creates this power. Positive intentions, treating the body well and being in tune with yourself all support your ability to stay strong and thrive among the chaos. The following provides insight on this trifecta of wellness, so you can uncover ways to grow your mind-body-soul connection, bring balance to your life, and unleash your inner hero.
The Mind, Body, and Soul Connection
“Our thoughts are just as powerful as our words,” says Lauren Unger, certified holistic health coach and Mind Body Green contributor. “What we think, we become.” If your thoughts and perceptions are negative and judgmental, then your world will suddenly seem against you. If you judge and think poorly of yourself, you have become your own worst enemy. Over time, this way of thinking becomes so habitual that it becomes your reality. As you start to regularly see the world through a negative lens, your mental health can start to break. Then stress, disorder or worries of daily life fill these cracks creating a harmful foundation. Once you invite emotional states like anxiety and depression into your life, your physical health becomes at risk, from toxic eating to loss of sleep. But you can cope with mental stressors like anxiety and depression by caring for your mind with gentleness. Meditate, go outdoors, cook a homemade meal or journal to soothe your head.
One way to take the wheel to drive your life toward good mental health (rather than idly watch life go by from the passenger’s seat) is to live with intention. First, let your mind wander. This place of aimlessness can actually provide direction, leading you to self-discovery. To live intentionally, ask:
- Where do you choose to expend your energy?
- What types of relationships do you want to grow?
- Who do you want near your heart?
- How will you respond to challenge, stress or anxiety?
- What truly matters to you?
Answers to these questions can provide a blueprint for better mental wellness. The mind is powerful. It just takes practice and the will to eliminate threats and construct thoughts that help you live your best life.
Just like we need to care for our mind, to care for our body, we need to do the reverse as well. Nurture your mind by nourishing your body. In cognitive terms, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School puts it like this: What you put into your body affects your brain’s structure, function and mood. For example, refined sugars worsen symptoms of mood disorders and depression. Sinking your teeth into that cupcake will give you a high, but your mood will quickly plummet. Nutrient-filled fuel (like nuts, salmon, leafy greens and berries) will enhance your mental health more steadily.
It’s also important to nourish your body with endorphins. Get your heart rate up and exercise to fire off those feel-good hormones. The American Psychological Association refers to this as the “exercise effect:” moving the muscles benefits mental health, says Jennifer Carter, PhD. There’s an undeniable link between your mood and exercise. You feel good and energized after a workout, and more active people are less depressed in the long run. It also serves as a meaningful activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Explore different ways to move that you enjoy. Find a challenge in training for a half marathon. Experience confidence or calmness through yoga. Build both mental and physical strength by weight training — or use hiking as an opportunity for social connection with others who love the outdoors. Fitness isn’t one size fits all.
Seeking vitality and wholeness completes the trio of wellness. It’s just as important to enliven your spirit with meaning and purpose as it is to care for your mind and honor your body. A thriving soul creates soundness and harmony. But it takes work to reach spiritual health, and it may be the most neglected area of self-care. Reflection, values and beliefs, compassion and empathy, acting for the welfare of others and living with grace among any adversity cultivate spiritual health. A fulfilled soul supports the ability to cope with mental distress, as well as shape our bodies into a strong, well-functioning structure.
Nourishing the soul can start by learning to let go. Free your mind of negative clutter to make room for peace, comfort and hope. Look deep within to discover purpose, which can relieve stress over the small things and foster self-worth. If you can see something great in yourself and greater than yourself, everyday problems and fears may pale in comparison to more meaningful aspects of life important to you. Seek supportive relationships that bring out your best self. Embrace gratitude and forgiveness. Chase change and opportunity. Be open to new people and experiences. Giving more attention to these emotional states will heal and grow your soul.
You Don’t Have to Journey Alone
Despite a diet overhaul or some soul searching, sometimes talking to a professional helps strengthen the mind-body-soul connection the most, which results in a healthy and better mind, body, and soul or spirit. A therapist can help you navigate your journey toward intention and mindfulness. Therapy serves as a tool for seeing food as nutrition, and not as a coping mechanism. Therapy can provide accountability for treating your body well with movement and activity. You can find a partner in exploring your spiritual core.
Take action on your health mentally, physically and spiritually! With professional support from ThriveTalk, you can find your inner superhero. Talk to a therapist today to help you on how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance your mind, body, and soul.