Welcome to Your M.B. S. (Mind, Body, Spirit) the Most Important Plan to Follow
I’m not sure about you, but I find times tougher than they ever were before. In addition to the everyday concerns we all have, there are extra worries that affect the health and wellbeing of (literally) everyone on the planet. That’s a huge burden to carry around, especially for the college student.
What can you do to ensure that your mental state is healthy and fresh – that you can approach each day with optimism and clarity?
Let’s separate the areas of mental wellness into three categories: Mind, Body and Spirit. If we approach our daily lives with these three “must haves” always in the forefront, we can create a plan for healthy living that can get us through each day.
Starting with the Mind: what’s on yours? Are you so immersed in studying and chasing the grades, that you forget about the content, what you’re actually learning? Can you use your ‘big picture thinking’ as a constant reminder of the WHY of your journey? Try not to get caught up in proving what you’ve learned (acing that test) that you forget to absorb your new knowledge and champion your success. Reach out to someone outside of your classes, and share your new information with him/her/them – practice what it feels like to own a new skill set, group of facts, express excitement about your new knowledge.
How do you handle any negative thoughts that might enter your mind at any given time? Do you have a journal or can you record messages on a phone? Is there some method you can use to ‘write out’ your insecurities, concerns, and have them viewed in a more open-minded light? Who do you trust that you can turn to when you are feeling lost or ‘out of sorts’? Remember, we have all felt the pull of loneliness and fear – do not allow it to direct you outside of your goals and missions. Talk to someone.
You can also keep your mind fresh by ordering your thoughts. Create a working “to do” list in your mind that you can use to calm down, and regroup. Start by sorting out what needs to be done, or is a pressing issue, and break it into little, manageable, pieces that you can handle one-by-one. Then put it out of your mind, using a mental line across the entry. Handling what goes on in your mind is the first step to healthy living.
How is your Body doing? Are you eating properly? (this includes as many basic food groups as possible and possibly a vitamin?). Do you eat when you’re supposed to or do you skip meals? Do you skip the super-important one, namely, Breakfast? If you are guilty of this, perhaps now is the time to be creative in your pursuit of a cool and colorful breakfast. Do a brief google search, or talk to almost anyone anywhere, and garner suggestions for a breakfast that is vitamin-full, tasty, and quick.
Do you eat lunch when it’s lunchtime – and do you have a dinner that is more than fast-food? There are so many incredible choices that are reasonably priced, and healthy, and should become a part of your daily routine. Take a good look at what you eat every day and ask yourself if those choices are making you feel stronger, clearer, more energetic? If the answer is no, you are feeding your Body all the wrong things; you need each other and must always be on that proverbial “same page”.
When is the last time you had a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed, for the proper number of hours all in a row? *Sometimes what’s on your Mind prevents this important aspect of your life. *Try to clear your mind of disturbing issues before your head hits that pillow. Make sure you sleep when your body tells you it’s time -we have learned that “all-nighter’s” last way longer than that one night and we should be cognizant of those effects.
Are you moving enough? So many of us spend hours in front of a screen or slumped over a keyboard or phone; what kind of real exercise are you getting? Sometimes a small walk around your campus (if onsite) or your neighborhood – apartment – can get your senses moving and rejuvenate you when you feel sluggish. Some of the most successful speakers and salespeople boast about their “standing up” conversations – can you walk around the next time you’re speaking on the phone? When is the last time you blasted a song and danced to it? Go ahead. No one is watching.
The Body also likes happy things like comfortable clothing and shoes, it usually likes to look presentable and clean -and there is nothing wrong with a little splurge on an interesting soap, crazy pair of socks, or a fresh haircut.
Your Spirit is probably one of the most interesting ways you can help improve your mental wellbeing. When I think of Spirit, I think of creativity, joy, your inner essence that defines the ‘you’ in you. The dictionary actually defines it as “the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character, the soul”. What do you enjoy doing, what makes you happy and fulfilled? Can you do more of those things and on a more consistent and intentional basis?
Some people are able to grab a few moments in their week, month, to create some music, work on a painting, write a story. The lucky ones are able to do this more than sporadically and can be considered among the few with a true “work-life balance”.
What about those hobbies? Can you schedule some time each day to engage in them? And, can you add something new to that mix? If you’re a writer who specializes in plays – have you tried your hand at non-fiction? What about your art – have you tried a new medium? Who can you Zoom/collaborate sing with that might add an extra dimension to your voice? I have always found that those who can play a musical instrument can usually excel at another one – have you found that as well?
Spirit can also be encouraged through meditation, scented candles, and avoiding toxic relationships. Spirit can be encouraged by a fresh work or study space that is lively and friendly. Remember that your Spirit is everything you are – take good care of it.
Your mental wellbeing is the first step to your success. How you approach your day, your world, your future begins with the space you live in. Treat your Mind, your Body, and your Spirit with the respect it deserves and watch the magic that happens.