In the mind-body-spirit system, all three parts need attention to make up your emotional well-being.
And before you go thinking this is a life balance kind of post, let me assure you it’s not. I don’t believe in balance. I know, shocking right? What kind of life coach am I anyway?
One that doesn’t buy into a lot of the BS out there in the personal development world. The much hyped, elusive life balance, in my perhaps-not-so-humble opinion, is like the carrot dangling forever just out of reach. No thanks. It doesn’t work for me, and I haven’t seen it work for many others either. Time to let it go and move on.
[pullquote] “Our essence is change. We are movement. Being out of balance is life.” – Chris Boucher[/pullquote]
No, I’m talking about all parts of the system, working together, ebbing and flowing like the tides.
When I first wrote about the mind-body-spirit system, I asked you to rate yourself in each part on a scale of 1 – 10.
Here’s a reminder of what that looked like for me:
Mind – 9/10
Body – 3/10
Spirit – 7/10
Not bad, still relatively stable; picture a 3 legged stool.
Now imagine two of the three ratings at 3 or lower and only one above 7. I’m pretty sure you’d be sliding onto the floor looking like a rag doll.
So don’t go there. Instead, start taking steps to improve your emotional well-being. It’s not rocket science, and yes I know, some days it’s not that easy.
But since you’re here paying homage to your self-care this month, what have you got to lose?
10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Well-Being
10. Check in with your body.
It doesn’t lie.
Stop checking in with your head. There are no answers there, only lizard brain chatter that will keep you trapped in a maze of self-defeatist thinking.
My first coach used to say, “Stay out of your head, it’s a dark and scary neighbourhood!”
Guess what? He was right.
Close your eyes, breathe, and then scan. From the tips of your toes all the way up to your head. Feel what’s going on in there. Your body is always communicating. Are you listening?
“The physical language of the body is so much more powerful than words.” – Bill Irwin
9. Be willing to grow.
Everything in life is given the opportunity to grow and become more of itself. Same goes for you.
Opportunities for growth surround you. Some you will naturally step into, others you’ll have to look for. Either way is fine; just get the learning and move forward.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
8. Be with your emotions.
Newsflash (but not really): suppressing emotion is NOT healthy. Instead, let your emotions flow through you so you can move on with freedom.
I used to try very hard not to cry at movies. Inevitably, I’d leave the theatre with a pounding headache. Your emotions will flow through you like weather if you let them. You don’t argue with Mother Nature do you?
There’s no bad emotion. It’s the meaning you give it and how you respond that’s unhealthy. Like #2, the emotion has a message. Pay attention.
“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” – Charles Dickens
7. Get grounded.
Plant your feet, stand solidly in your body and feel your connection to the ground. Imagine roots growing out the soles of your feet reaching deep into the earth.
When you’re grounded like that you can weather the emotional storms with greater resourcefulness.
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling
6. Feel your heart and breathe.
Your heart is beating. This means you are alive.
Right now. . .notice and breathe. Is your breath shallow? Breathe just a little more deeply. Is your heart beating fast? Use your breath to s l o w i t d o w n.
“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” – Mary Oliver
5. Take one action.
In a system, changing one part automatically impacts the others. Don’t worry so much about what the right action is. What if there is no right action, but only the next action?
Think of one small action that inspires you. Then go do it!
Tomorrow? Do it again. Imagine a week of taking one action every day. The cumulative effect is mindblowing.
For example, I started setting a timer in my office to go off every 90 minutes. It’s one new thing I’m doing to remind me to get up from my desk and stretch, move about or refill my water glass.
“Most people think it takes a long time to change. It doesn’t. Change is immediate. Instantaneous! It may take a long time to decide to change. . .but change happens in a heartbeat.” – Andy Andrews
Two ears, one mouth. What does that tell you?
No one is born with the ability to listen effectively, but like all communication skills, good listening can be learned. It takes breaking old habits and creating new ones.
In conversation, do you catch yourself thinking more about what you’re going to say next than on what the other person is saying?
Begin by noticing how often you want to jump in, correct someone and give your opinion. Then don’t. Stop yourself, take a deep breath and listen to what’s being said.
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” – Jimi Hendrix
3. Express yourself.
Say what you have to say.
Tell the barista your coffee’s not quite right. Tell your server how great your meal was and ask him/her to tell the Chef. Tell your spouse you need more communication. Tell that someone you love them.
Then tell them again.
“Find yourself and express yourself in your own particular way. Express your love openly.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
2. Get what you need.
How are you at asking for what you need? Perhaps an even more important question is do you know what you need? This is an opportunity to check in:
Is it rest, quiet time, exercise, nourishing food, meditation, an hour with a good book?
Get in touch with your needs in the moment. What you needed yesterday may not work today.
Or, notice what works reliably, and do that more often. Make time for it in your schedule. I do this with silent retreats, and having just booked my next 4 day retreat everything in me is already anticipating this soul nourishing activity.
“I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer
I’ve saved the best for last. . .
1. Lighten up.
Some days, my sense of humour is the only thing between me and primal scream therapy. Make fun of yourself. Play a little. Laughter gets you back into your body and gets you out of your head.
Look around. Life is funny. How often do you look back and laugh at something you’ve done? Why wait. Laugh about it now!
“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” – Robert Frost
Over to you:
- Pick one or two tips, and take them on as a practice this week.
Small things done consistently over time eventually add up to big wins. Notice your progress. Notice the increase as you rate yourself again next week.
Notice your increased well being and celebrate.
p.s. Celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada and this quote came to mind, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart