Following on from my last article “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, where I explained the importance of being selflessly-selfish and building up your own strength to help those around you, I am now going to share my process of self-development and how I structure my life in the attempt of becoming the happiest version of myself.
Your Mind, Body, & Soul!
I truly believe that a balance between the mind, body, and soul is the secret to reaching happiness. Sometimes we might be doing great in one of the three areas, but if we lack in one of the other two then you’re lacking in an area that will certainly affect your happiness.
Let’s use someone who has achieved greatness in the “body” area as an example of this imbalance. It is very common to have fitness models, athletes, or anyone successful in health and fitness, to still struggle with self-awareness, relationships with others, and structure in life. This may create self-esteem issues and stresses in other areas of their life. How often do you see someone with an amazing physique but still lack self-confidence? This is an imbalance in mind and soul.
So, what is the difference between the mind, body, and soul? and how do we improve on all three?
Step 1 – The Soul
I always start with the soul. This, to me, is something larger than you, something that you know is there but is hard to describe and explain. Your soul is your emotions and feelings. It is who you “are”. It is what you intuitively connect with, it is your “gut feeling”.
If the soul is who you are, then I like to think of meditation and self-awareness methods as tapping into your soul. So, these are the steps I take to achieve connection with your soul.
Firstly, there is no better way to find who you are than self-questioning and self-analysation. You must spend time with yourself to discover what you connect with, once you know what you connect with on a deeper, more intuitive level, then you can start moving your life towards the relationships, hobbies, and career that matches YOU. Too often we follow the beliefs of those around us, our friends, family, and society, and too often these beliefs don’t actually connect with our personal beliefs. This is where a lot of anxiety and depression comes from as we are now living life through the beliefs and values of someone else, and these values are incongruent with who we truly are.
“Everything we hate about ourselves is due to our own bad habits”
How often have you followed your friends and family in their activities and disagreed with it? Or just didn’t find enjoyment in what everyone else finds enjoyment in?
We follow others and their beliefs because we think we are meant to. We think we are meant to act or behave certain ways because those closest to us are acting that way, but is that truly the way to live your life? Through the passions and beliefs of someone else? How about becoming self-aware, behaving the way that connects with you personally? Trust me, behaving the way YOU want to will also welcome those into your life that share the same beliefs, in turn creating real, lasting, and deeper connected relationships.
“Do what YOU want to do”
You must live life on your terms. Do what you want to do, as long as it doesn’t hurt or cause pain in another person’s life. There will be times that you must end relationships because you don’t share the same beliefs, and sure, that will cause some pain in both of your lives for a moment, but is it best to stay in a relationship that holds you both back from being yourselves? Is that relationship going to bring happiness to the both of you? Will that relationship truly last? Unfortunately, we don’t know what we truly want so we find ourselves in relationships and situations that we KNOW doesn’t bring us happiness, but we struggle to leave those positions because we don’t actually know what we want.
So, how do I find out what I want?? Below are a few questions I challenge you to ask yourself. Spend as much time as possible on each question, finding a connection and deep emotional reasoning for your answer. These should open up your mind to WHO YOU ARE!
- If someone asked you “Who are you? What are you about?”, what would your answer be?
- What one activity in life brings you happiness?
- What is the one thing you love doing, even if you’re tired or rushed? And why?
- If money wasn’t an issue, if you could do anything you wanted in life, what career and/or activity would you spend your time doing?
- What do you believe is possible for you?
- What legacy do you want to leave behind?
- What are your biggest fears in life?
- What do you think holds you back from achieving your goals, and achieving happiness?
- What is your biggest self-limiting belief?
- If you could have one single wish granted, what would it be?
- To your best knowledge, how do you think people perceive you?
- How would you like people to perceive you?
- How do you being ‘here’ benefit the universe?
- Who is your greatest role model/s?
- Who is the most important person in your life?
- Who don’t you like, yet you still spend time with that person?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- Where are you?
- What are you doing?
- What are you wearing?
- How are you acting?
- How are you feeling?
- What do you believe is the meaning of your life?
Step 2 – The Mind
The mind, to me, is your consciousness, logic, beliefs, values, memories, and understanding and perspective of life. It is the way we view and process our surroundings. There is quite a connection between the mind and soul, as you must be mindful to consciously be aware of your soul (intuition and gut-feeling).
I use meditation, visualisation, and planning to conquer the mind. You can use meditation and visualisation for the soul as well, which is why the mind and soul are so closely related.
Following the above questions for self-awareness, now it’s time to use that self-awareness as we meditate and visualise our future. We must really ingrain our self-beliefs and wants in life so that we are truly connected with our soul. Even meditating using positive affirmations so that when obstacles and tough times come our way, because I promise you they will, that you can overcome that hardship with complete clarity and positivity.
How To Meditate
There are many methods of meditation but here is what I highly recommend doing.
- Find a space where you are undisturbed and comfortable. Use ear plugs and a face mask if it’s noisy and there is too much light.
- Lay or sit in a position where you can relax and release your mind, but without actually falling asleep. You do NOT want to fall asleep, you will know what I mean, falling deep into meditation is a different feeling altogether.
- Now it’s time to meditate! All I want you to do is “box-breathing”, which is simply breathing in for a count of 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold once again for 4 seconds. Hense the name, “box-breathing”. You’re simply following the 4-second count on all ends of the breathing.
I like to then follow my meditation with visualisation, think of meditation as clearing of the mind and serenity, and then visualisation as planning your future.
Planning Your Future
Now you have discovered who you are and what you connect with, then you have meditated and got into a relaxed state, it’s now time to start visualising your future. It’s as simple as repetitively answering the above questions on a deeper and deeper level every time, then asking yourself what career, relationships (partner and friends) and future you want. Once you’ve discovered what you want to “aspire” to then follow Kirsty’s process on planning.
Step 3 – The Body
The last step of the process, but like I said at the start of this article, ALL three areas are equally important. I actually believe “the body” can be the most effective first step because once you start looking after your body (health and fitness) you start creating value and love for yourself, driving you to think more positive and to dive into other areas of personal development, such as your mind and soul.
Why Is The Body Important!?
Achieving aesthetics (attractive appearance) is only one benefit to health and fitness. Aesthetics will certainly drive confidence and self-belief, but not always… We have already discussed people who have achieved a visually appealing body may still struggle with self-love and belief. But I actually want to discuss the internal/health benefits of exercise and nutrition, instead of using your physical appearance as a driver to start exercising and eating well.
I’m only going to discuss a few benefits to eating well and exercising, I could be here all day explaining all the benefits if I wanted to –
- “If you look good, you feel good” – As mentioned above, this isn’t always the case, but looking good sure does help with your self-belief and confidence.
- Improved mood and sleep – Think of exercise as a renewal of energy. You release stored energy, including negative energy, and then you rest, recover and replenish your energy with brand new, positive energy. We also know that exercise and physical activities impact our sleep, which also affects our mood and energy in a positive way.
- Improved quality and length of life – This should be the main purpose of your exercise. All of the benefits to exercise are just building blocks for an improved quality and length of life. We become healthier, stronger, enthusiastic, energised, passionate, and happier people. Health and fitness positively impacts all aspects of our lives, from careers to relationships with all people around us. Do NOT neglect your health and fitness.
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to love yourself and enjoy all aspects of life?
Then give all the above methods a try –
- The Soul = Self-discovery and self-awareness. Ask yourself intrusive questions, find who YOU are.
- The Mind = Meditate, visualise the future, and then structure your life to follow the right path to your aspirations.
- The Body = Get your energy and mood to a positive state through healthy eating and exercise.
Find balance in your mind, body, and soul, and make a positive change in your life. I guarantee that once you get yourself in order then everything else in your life will follow.
Keep being you, love,