The corners of a triangle can be used to represent the 3 aspects of our being that make us who we are. Body, Mind, and Soul. Only when all 3 corners are healthy and balanced can we truly be all that we were intended to be and achieve all that we were meant to achieve.
Corner #1: The Body (Physical Health)
The body is the most obvious corner of the triangle for most people. It is what we see every day when we look in the mirror. Our bodies provide us the sensory inputs that help us form our views of ourselves and the world around us.
We cannot understate the value of taking care of ourselves physically. This includes attention to 3 areas.
Exercise: (Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program. Start slowly and build up gradually to allow your body to adjust and to help avoid injuries.)
- Aerobic activities such as walking, running, swimming, biking, dancing, treadmill, or elliptical. Find an activity that you enjoy. Work towards a goal of 30 minutes at a time and several times per week. These activities strengthen the heart, regulate metabolism, and increase endurance. They also help prevent and improve many health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Strengthening activities such as weight lifting, resistance training, or yard work. Improved muscle strength helps prevent injuries and builds stronger bones.
- Balance based activities such as Thai Chi, Yoga, or dance. These can improve strength and balance and lower risk of falls.
Nutrition: Proper nutrition with a healthy, balanced diet are essential.
Rest/Sleep: Adequate amounts of sleep are vital to physical health.
Corner #2: The Mind (Mental/Emotional Health)
The mind encompasses our emotional and psychological being. Neglect in this area will be catastrophic.
- Anxiety, depression, addiction, and related conditions have a tremendous impact on our well-being and sense of wholeness. Proper diagnosis and treatment are very important.
- It is imperative to work through and release the weight of prior trauma and resentments or they will eat us up from within.
- Strive to improve relationships and strengthen interpersonal connections. This will give us much-needed support, and provide us with purpose and self-worth.
- Practice healthy self-care such as recreation and other forms of stress management. This might also mean distancing oneself from toxic relationships.
Corner #3: The Soul (Spiritual Health)
A healthy spirit is essential to healing and wholeness. And yet, the soul or spiritual aspects of our existence may very well be the most neglected. Why? Because, this part of ourselves can be a very difficult area for many to define or even contemplate.
In general, we would define our soul or spirit as the part of us that recognizes that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is that part of us that longingly reaches beyond our circumstances in a search for deeper meaning. Our spiritual self acknowledges a power beyond and greater than ourselves which gives us purpose and energy to sustain us through difficult times. Spirituality connects us to each other and more importantly to God.
How can we achieve something that is so seemingly hard to comprehend? The answer is connection.
We would suggest the following:
- Consider that a power and purpose greater than ourselves exists.
- Be willing to seek that power and make it an integral part of our lives.
- Share what we find with others who may be struggling. Getting outside ourselves can be a powerful force in our own healing.
The Triangle: Body, Mind, and Soul
We must realize that none of these aspects of our being are isolated and independent. Each one depends on and affects the others.
- If we are chronically ill or in pain, our mental health may suffer leading to anxiety or depression.
- Mental illness can affect us physically (ulcers, increased pain, fatigue, headaches to name just a few).
- Physical and psychological struggles may weaken our spiritual health and even cause us to question our faith.
- Strong faith and psychological resilience can make illness and pain more bearable or even provide the power for lasting healing.
Remove one corner of this triangle of life and our entire life’s balance will be thrown off. To achieve wholeness, we need the healthy interplay of all 3 of these key attributes.
What can you do today to strengthen one or more of these areas in your life?