This is the time of year when we make resolutions to eat more healthily, take more exercise, and then have a really unpleasant cold, wet day, and curl up in front of the TV with a box of chocolates!
It is curious that we are obsessed with health, yet are now far more unhealthy than our predecessors. Their way of life involved much more physical activity as part of the everyday living and we can decide to compensate for our sedentary lives by taking the odd walk, climbing stairs instead of taking lifts or escalators, and just moving our bodies a bit more.
And there is more to health than just being physically in shape. The word health comes from the same root as the word healing, and it means being whole. When we only pay attention to the physical side of our health, we are ignoring the wholeness of ourselves. All the different aspects of us are interlinked, and whilst keeping myself in physical good shape can help with the other parts, it is not enough, as the other parts can also dramatically affect our physical state.
So we also need to ask: what state is my mind in? what state is my heart in? what state is my spirit in? these are not questions that we are taught to ask of ourselves, and we often have no conscious awareness of what is happening with our minds, hearts and spirits. This is exacerbated by the fact that they are parts of us that can keep going despite the knocks for longer than our bodies. The damage to them tends to be slow-growing and we only notice when it has reached crisis proportions, or when some life-threatening event happens to us or someone close to us, and prompts us to consider the bigger picture of our lives.
An easy way to discover how those parts of you are feeling is to describe them as metaphors. For example, my mind feels like a sleepy bear ready to hibernate, or my heart feels like a blossoming scented flower, or my spirit feels like it is in a cage, wanting to be free.
If you like the metaphor, then that part of you is fine, if you don’t, imagine how you would like to change the metaphor to be how you want to be. For example, I would prefer my mind to feel like the bear ready to come out of its hibernation, hungry and motivated. Imagine what that would feel like, and then ask yourself to move towards that over the next few days. If you feel resistance, you can ask yourself, what would help me to be like that? And add that into your life!
This year, when you make those new year resolutions, remember to include one for your mind, heart and spirit, to encourage them to thrive as well!