Mind-Body-Soul Wellness lies at the foundation of the Hierarchy of Resilience. Why? And how can you start to shift toward better health and greater resilience today?
Among the six resilience factors, Mind-Body-Soul Wellness is the broadest and often the most challenging. Our culture does not prioritize the basics of health; it’s far more efficient and there are much greater profits found in pills and procedures.
Our socialization is to act as consumers, expecting these quick fixes. If you’re health is off, go to a doctor who will fix you right up.
At this point, we don’t actually want to learn about nutrition, prioritize our sleep, or workout more frequently to address the underlying root causes of our physical or mental illnesses.
Buckle up: this article is going to burst the bubble, challenge you to accept the reality that your everyday decisions are adding up to your long-term outcomes – many of which will be irreversible once they take hold, and to take ownership of your whole health.
Within Mind-Body-Soul resilience, there are two primarily tenets:
First, we are WHOLE beings. Our emotions manifest physically, and our physical health impacts us emotionally and cognitively. It’s seamless.
Just one example:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS) is a catch-all diagnosis for a collection of unpleasant symptoms with no known physiological cause. The treatment protocol is symptom management.
In one study study, IBS patients in the experimental group received psychotherapy instead of conventional treatment. These patients experienced an average of 80-90% symptom resolution.
Stress manifests in our bodies, and vice versa.
Interestingly, if your gut is under attack from bacteria or a virus, your enteric nervous system can trigger neurotransmitters that create anxiety, so that you behave cautiously while your body defends itself and heals.
Second, resilience relies on a holistic wellness. The roots of physical and mental illness lie predominantly in the accumulation of our daily choices; the simple, hard stands we take, against all of the temptations of short-term gratification.
There are four core lifestyle components where we need to draw the line in the sand and make the simple, hard choices:
Thanks to electricity and a culture that prioritizes productivity over sleep, our hours in bed have declined over the past few decades while insomnia has been on the rise. Many restorative functions like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep.
Did you know that sleep deprivation substantially increases your risk for obesity?
Sleep regulates the hormones that impact appetite resulting in cravings, plus, with just one night of sleep deprivation, our adipose tissue shifts to increase capacity to store fat while our muscle proteins break down.
If you’re in the 40% who are getting less than 7 hours a night, two simple, hard ideas:
- Set and stick to a bedtime that creates at least an 8-hour window for sleep.
- Turn off all screens and work activities one hour before bedtime. Unwind with a walk or a good book.
Our lives have become increasingly, luxuriously easy. 100 years ago, the average housewife would expend at least 3,000 calories a day just doing laundry, cooking and cleaning. Now, we sit at home. We sit at work. We sit in the car.
Screens aren’t helping. The average American adult now watches 5 hours of television per day and is on a screen for nearly 11 hours per day. We can assume those numbers have only increased during the pandemic.
When we exercise, we release endorphins and endocannabinoids that boost mood, energy and confidence, while decreasing inflammation and protecting cognitive function.
Exercise is a natural offset to negative stress, and even just daily walking has been demonstrated as an effective intervention for clinical depression.
If you’re in the 30% of adults who are considered sedentary, two simple, hard ideas:
- Create a morning ritual that includes 20 minutes of exercise. Put it first in your day.
- Take on the mission to find a favorite exercise. Mine are yoga and hiking. Let go of limiting thinking and explore all of the possibilities.
What we put in is what we get out. It’s both hard to break bad habits because sugar and fat are so tied into our dopamine response, creating compulsive cravings, and it’s also one of the most empowering changes you can make.
From 1950-2010, obesity increased 214%. Two out of three Americans are obese now, and every associated chronic disease is stealing away their quality of life, financial future and longevity.
The main culprits: we eat a LOT more calories now (on average 3,750 per day) and move a LOT less, our portion sizes have tripled, and our mass-produced meat and processed foods are filled with saturated fat and sugar.
All of that adds up to weight gain, insulin resistance, fatigue, cancer risk and more. But when we take back control over our diets, we can feel more energetic, clear, focused and happier.
If you’re motivated to eat, and therefore feel, better, two simple, hard ideas:
- Make your own meals. Stop eating out where you have no control and many temptations.
- Clean out your kitchen. Toss the junk food and processed foods, especially the ones that beckon to you at night. You’re human, let’s plan for success.
Soul, spirituality, karma, or universal energy…whatever you call it, there is a human need for discovering your own meaning and experiencing the mysterious collective belonging that we touch when we experience serendipity, deja vu, or the kindness of a stranger.
At it’s base, feeding your soul is about simply creating a ritual or space for deeper connection beyond the surface level of life. For some, that’s church. For others, it’s meditation or journaling on deep inquiries.
If you’ve been detached from your own definition of spirituality, two simple, hard ideas:
- Craft your own daily or weekly gratitude practice.
- Set aside time weekly for a soulful solo experience in nature. See what happens.
Our values and priorities don’t mean much without alignment in our actual decisions, which takes a deep reckoning with the reality of how seemingly insignificant choices add up to big outcomes over time.
Each day (today even!) holds the opportunity to make one small but powerful stand for your Mind-Body-Soul Wellness, and your resilience.
The trick is to build slowly through routines, habits and rituals that take in-the-moment choice out of the equation, which is what I’m teaching in The Resilience Class.
P.S. Ready to dive deeper? Learn more about The Resilience Class – at the time of this writing, you can still enroll with lifetime access for just $44 (will be $97).