In Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the “4 Cornerstones,” we explored how living with a healthy MIND and BODY can energize us mentally and physically to live with greater vigor and strength. Yet living with a healthy mind and body without inward contentment leaves us short of achieving health that is complete and satisfying. Part 4 in the series explores a healthy SOUL, as the final cornerstone to a deeper and more meaningful definition of good health. A definition that transcends the traditional notion of healthy living.
Defining a healthy soul is complicated. So let’s try and simplify the complicated. If we define “healthy” as thriving, and “soul” as being our essence and personification, the ultimate question becomes whether the essence of who we are is thriving – or not. Are we growing emotionally and perhaps spiritually as a person? When we look in the mirror, do we like who we see? Are we lifting others up or tearing them down? Are we happy and content?
I propose four secret sauces for thriving and living with a healthier soul.
- The act of caring for others is powerful. In fact, science has shown us that altruism is hardwired in the brain. MRI technology reveals that the act of giving stimulates the same brain areas as eating food and having sex; both of which are essential human needs and satisfying. Becoming a servant for good brings us pleasure. Living a pleasurable life, in turn, leads to a healthy soul. Love others for the sake of ourselves.
- Life can be full of joyful events and beautiful moments, yet life also yields difficult and challenging times. Both ends of the spectrum will come. Embracing the happy periods, while enduring the turbulent moments with a healthy attitude is vital for maintaining a healthy soul. This does not mean turning away tears of sadness when they fall or our screams of rage when we tremble. In fact, during great periods of loss in my life, releasing my emotions was a critical step towards moving through pain and sorrow. We must sincerely strive, however, to resist allowing darkness to dominate or define who we become. Emotions are fleeting. Attitudes endure. Over time, painting a positive attitude (not a perfect one) with the numerous colors that life serves up (the good and bad) will create a healthier soul.
- Humans need to feel a sense of purpose, direction and meaning in their lives. Some learn their calling early on and even find it within their careers. Physicians save lives as their purpose. Firemen put out fires. Teachers educate. Sadly, others die feeling as if their time here didn’t matter. Yet if we are capable of asking the questions – what is my purpose; how can I help; or why am I alive; isn’t it logical that we should be able to find, or even create, our answer? Set the direction. Establish a purpose, and go.
- Texts, emails, phones, television, radio, print, internet, social media … ENOUGH!! If souls are our very essence, how can we expect to ponder and nurture such treasured personifications with so many noises and distractions interfering, on a constant basis? We need to make time for rest, quiet and self-reflection. Yes, make the time. Every day has twenty-four hours to fill and the competition for each block of time is fierce. Unless we schedule, plan and commit to reserving moments for solitude, the odds are high that moments for quiet will pass us by. Devote time for love. Create opportunities that will foster positive and uplifting attitudes, such as spending time on hobbies, interests and activities. For those who have heard the call for their purpose, carry it out. If it remains a mystery or seems lost in the haze, seek to find purpose through moments of reflection. Read, walk, run, sing, study, play, fish, bike, swim, paint, craft, plant, garden, nap, swing, sport or merely stare into the blue sky once in a while and count clouds as they pass overhead. Our essence of soul exists. We must all, however, make time to find it, nurture it, develop it and grow it. Such is the path to a healthier soul.
So this 4 Cornerstone series has set forth a path to finding a healthier MIND, BODY & SOUL. One aspect is no more important than the other. Combine them as ONE and we can become more complete and healthy BEINGS. The journey TO BE 4 HEALTH, however, is long and often tiring. Life continues to throw us new paths, distractions, challenges, joys and opportunities along the way. Despite this truth, it is my desire and commitment to keep TO BE 4 HEALTH messages, reflections and support alive and growing, so that we can all share knowledge and support for the purpose of making each other and the world a better, and healthier, place “TO BE.” #2B4H lives so that we can too.