Mind, Body, & Spirit: A Balancing Act

Reprinted from PN January 2001

Feeling overwhelmed or weary? This new year, resolve to get back "in sync"!

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Our world is continually changing and ever more demanding. So it's not surprising that at times many of us feel overwhelmed and weary. Too often we neglect our personal needs—and even deny they are important!

The eventual toll to the mind-body-spirit is enormous. The essence of who you are is not in sync with who you want to be. Being out of sync can result in feeling depleted, over-stressed, uncertain, unmotivated, and unhappy. Achieving balance and well-being is an inward journey.

The mind-body-spirit connection starts with the premise that you do have control over your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. The key component is y-o-u! You must take care of yourself, grow, change, and build resources. The "wellness model" provides tools so you can experience greater happiness, fulfillment, and success.

The wellness model focuses on the whole person. Somewhat similar to a jigsaw puzzle, each piece is important in forming the final picture—but the pieces alone make little sense. The picture's true value and beauty can be appreciated when all the pieces are connected.

This is similar to your life journey. All pieces of your lifestyle (physical, cognitive, social, emotional, vocational, and spiritual) have to form a good fit in order for you to reach your potential.

Change is a major part of life, and we continually receive input externally as well as internally; this impacts the wellness balance. You probably experience times in your life when things go as planned; life is smooth and predictable. Stress is manageable and productive at this time.

But then something unforeseen happens. A major change occurs, usually without much warning. Events that are out of your control (i.e., death, loss of a relationship, job layoff, spinal-cord injury or disease [SCI/D], etc.) can send you into a tailspin.

Sometimes you may feel you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. At these times, you question your sense of purpose and ask yourself, Where is my life going? What is my purpose in life? Why am I not as successful or happy as I want to be?

At these times, you have a tendency to think things are out of your control. Well-being's goal is to help you think clearly and gain control over your actions, thoughts, and behaviors. When you carefully assess and reflect on what you can and can?t control in your current lifestyle choices, healthy options become more apparent.

Let's assume you experience fatigue and other physical and emotional symptoms but are not aware of them because you are too busy. Possible outcomes include the following:

Physical sphere—You catch a cold

Emotional sphere—You have anxiety

Cognitive sphere—You have difficulty with concentration and short-term memory

Vocational sphere—You experience a decrease in motivation (i.e., you don't want to go to work!)

Social sphere—You have no time for leisure

Spiritual sphere—You question your purpose

Using a strong mind-body-spirit connection creates a wonderful opportunity to view change as a challenge, not a roadblock. Roadblocks can—and do—occur in all six areas of wellness. They can be in your control or out of it. The wellness model provides the opportunity for you to create new, positive life experiences - starting here and now!

Barbara G. Fox, Wellness Lifestyles president, has 19 years' experience in the corporate, community, educational, and healthcare industries. During her career, she has been consultant, educator, occupational therapist, and director. She has extensive team-building and management experience.

Hilda Derzsy is a licensed clinical professional counselor who works in private practice and offers consultant services in a variety of mental-health settings. She has extensive experience in treating anxiety and mood disorders and provides outpatient individual and group psychotherapy. She holds a master's degree from Governors State University (University Park, Ill.).

Private e-coaching and e-counseling programs, as well as books, videos, and relaxation tapes are available. Contact: (708) 301-5769 /


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