Living a dynamic and inspired life requires you to take a holistic approach to healing and maintaining health on all ovals of your being. I have identified four “bodies” that are non-negotiable when it comes to moving out of pain and frustration and into vitality and a greater sense of purpose in you life.
The four bodies of health are:
- Physical body
- Mental body
- Emotional body
- Spiritual body
In a series of four posts I review each of these bodies of health.
Here are a few suggestions on how to maintain health and harmony in the mental body.
We’ve all heard how important sleep is to all aspects of our lives. Good sleep is really a foundation to all the bodies of health. Yet despite all the research about the negative side effects, we are still a sleep-deprived society.
Make sure you are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night for optimal mental health. If you struggle with insomnia, try to find natural practices and supplements that can help and avoid prescription medication if at all possible.
Meditation or mindfulness practices
More and more psychotherapists are turning to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- couples’ conflicts
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
Mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.
This doesn’t have to mean you have to sit for an hour in a pretzel position on a pillow. There are many simple ways to bring mindfulness meditation into your everyday life. Here’s a simple exercise you can try right now.
One Minute Mindfulness Breathing
This exercise can be done anywhere at any time, standing up or sitting down. All you have to do is focus on your breath for just one minute. Start by breathing in and out slowly, finding a count that is equal for both the inhale and exhale. For example, if you breath in for a count of four, let the exhale be to a count of four. Notice the slight pause that naturally occurs at the top of the inhale and bottom of the exhale.
Naturally your mind will try and wander. This is nature of the mind. Lovingly bring your awareness back to observing and counting your breath. Mindfulness and meditation can begin by simply giving attention to our breath a few times each day.
There are many forms of meditation and mindfulness practices. We will be exploring this subject more in coming posts.
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India.
Ayurveda means “the science of life” (Ayur = life,Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help us stay vital by providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, lifestyle and the proper use of our senses.
Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our entire being. Referred to as dosha in Sanskrit, these primary forces are known as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature.
Although I am trained as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, I do not strictly adhere to all the recommendations given for my particular dosha, which is predominately Vata. I like to use the system as a guide and then experiment with what works best for my unique constitution.
To determine your own primary dosha you can take an online test.
Here are just a few recommended tips for keeping your dosha in balance as they pertain to the mental body. In coming posts we will look at each dosha in further detail.
Vata: Try to get to bed before 10pm, awaken by 6am. Of all the doshas, Vatas are themost prone to insomnia. Regular sleep habits are vital for this reason. Favor soothing, calming music to promote a steady and stable mind.
Pitta: Balance rest and activity allowing some free time everyday. Be careful not to create unnecessary time pressures for yourself. Laugh many times each day!
Kapha: Clear your space. To avoid clutter from accumulating in your home, office, car, and other physical spaces, regularly clean out and give away things that you know you’ll never use.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Remember that the mental body is just one of the four bodies of health that we need to care for in order to live a vibrant and energized life. Please check out these other posts to get tips on how to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.
And now I would love to hear how you.
In the comments below list a few ways that you have found effective for maintaining mental health and harmony in your life.