5 Apr 2015

Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) balance – Part 2 - What does it mean?


What does Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) balance mean?


Beauty of a cloudy sky


In the previous article of this miniseries, we had an overview of what balance in one’s life is, and looked at how to restore Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) integrity after having a fight with one's boss; but we did end pondering on how one can restore this balance when the issues are long-standing and deep-routed.

I know my psychologist friends are already whispering "therapy and anti-depressants" … well, I certainly agree with them that in some instances these may be helpful. However I would like to consider in more details what generates this Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) balance of which I am so enthusiastically confabulating.

To put it quite simply, it is exactly what the words indicate: we need to meet the needs of our Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) facets. Of each and every one of them. Without fail. Let us consider them briefly one by one

Spiritual

I will start from Spiritual, as this is possibly the most abstract and hence difficult one to articulate.

Spiritual means many different things to many people. Spiritual is really whatever lets one feel in touch with the more esoteric and ethereal part of their perceptions, something eerie, out-worldly, more powerful than us, and yet benevolent. To some a sunset or a landscape may provide a spiritual experience, while other might prefer the formalities of meditation or prayer.

Whatever it is, we must never forget that it is a very important part of our wellbeing. Due to the busy lives we lead, it is often easy to forget to meet our spiritual needs.

Emotional

Another difficult subject is discussing Emotional needs.

We live in a society where we can easily feel that we have to suppress our emotions to survive. We must be professional at work. We have to be jokers with our friends. We have to look after the emotional needs of our loved ones, particularly the little ones. When people ask "How are you" we know they don't really want to be bothered with our problems, and sometimes we just assume that they are not interested. And sometimes emotions are too raw, so much so that we want to hide them away.

Again, we must not forget our emotions. Although it is not always appropriate to show them, it is always important that they do not remain undealt with, and must never be allowed to fester.

Emotions grow and gnaw at one’s mind, particularly negative ones. From anger comes hate, from sorrow comes desperation, from pain comes agony, and so on.

Mental

The last two items were really about soothing. They deal with pacifying our inner selves. The next two are about challenge. Our Mental and our Physical needs include challenge.

An active mind is always more willing to accept new difficult situations, and will be more readily apt to provide solutions, options, and a more positive outlook on whatever life throws at us.

Yet, after a long day at work, who wants to challenge their mind? Slouch on the couch, have a beer, watch some dumbing TV show, and let apathy take over.

While that might be soothing, it is not the role of our mind to sooth us. Looking after our emotional and spiritual needs will sooth us. Our mind likes the challenge. Hobbies, or pursuing an interest, reading, and even games can help keep an active mind, and can be fun too!

Physical

It is the same with our bodies. We need to keep active and healthy.

In the example above, where I slouch on the couch, again, that would be soothing to my body. And at the risk of being repetitive, looking after our emotional and spiritual needs will sooth us. Our body likes the challenge.

I am not talking about running a marathon every week, or playing competitive sports. Just general activities, like running, hiking, yoga, or more if one likes.

Aside from the fact that exercise can have a meditative effect (i.e. help meet our spiritual needs), a healthy body is always more willing and ready to take on the challenges that life throw at us without giving us palpitations, or bad side effects whenever something turns sour.



To conclude this short analysis, it will be evident now why we need to keep a balance between all these aspects of ourselves.

Life is hard. It will always throw something negative at us. Ensuring that all our needs are met will ensure that we can cope with the challenge, and are at peace with ourselves.

Also, it will also be clear that it is less challenging, once achieved, to maintain, and retain the balance, than it will be to restore it, or gain it in the first place. I will discuss this in my next post.




Articles in this mini-series:

  1. What is balance?
  2. What does Mental-Emotional-Spiritual (and Physical) balance mean?
  3. What if we lose, or never gain this balance?
  4. Got balance? Time to help others