So Healthy, Soul Happy
So Healthy, Soul Happy
By Charity Haigans, MA, LPC
The word “soul” is an interesting term. In the therapeutic environment, we often use the word “soul” to mean inner-self. We speak of fulfillment, seeking ways to capture the joyous feeling of being whole. How often do we really examine our individual definitions of such emotions? How do we know what we are seeking? More importantly perhaps, how do we know when we have found it? And the most common question that arises in my office is, “How do we achieve it.”
I won’t attempt to create these definitions for you. They are unique to each of us. However, I do hope you will define them for yourself. What does fulfillment mean to you? Have you ever experienced a moment of completeness within yourself, at your core, in your soul? What did that feeling mean for you?
Once we experience a joyful soul, or inner-self, we seek to re-experience that moment. When we examine what that memory is like, we can find the individual pieces that came together to create that feeling of serenity.
The majority of us feel whole under common circumstances that we can sum up as “self-care.”
- Spending quiet time with yourself (morning cup of coffee, an evening walk, daily meditation)
- Regularly engaging in a favorite hobby (reading, golfing, painting)
- Exercising (90 minutes of weekly cardio, playing a sport, yoga)
- Quality time with family (playing with the kids, having lunch with mom, phone calls to brother)
- Socializing with friends (girls night out, book club, poker with friends)
- Eating healthy (less fast-food, more whole food)
- Personal Grooming (new hair cuts, hot baths, fitting clothes)
My clients and readers are likely exhausted by hearing me push for self-care yet again. If you have ever sat in my office, you have without a doubt, heard my take on the importance of self-care. So if we all know how important self-care is, why don’t we practice it? What gets in our way? What is preventing us from achieving those moments of feeling soul happy? Yet again, a common pattern emerges when we look at obstacles that keep us from practicing self-care including:
- Guilt and Shame (Feeling selfish for taking personal time, seeking happiness when someone we care for is unhappy, feeling that we are putting our needs ahead of others needs – I could do an entire book on guilt but instead I will direct you to Dr. Brene Brown’s book “I thought it was just me, but it isn’t.”)
- Sacrifice (The knowledge that to have time at the gym, we are giving up time at work. To go out with friends, we sacrifice time with our spouse. To eat well, we sacrifice much needed down time in order to cook)
- Insufficiency (We feel that nothing is sufficient. There is not a sufficient amount of time, money, involvement. We feel that we are consistently underprepared.)
These are only a few of the reasons for the cultural wide phenomena of knowing what to do but not actually doing it. We operate in survival mode 90% of the time, which is why the feeling of thriving only occurs during that remaining 10%. How can we switch the balance? How can we feel whole and soul happy, even with these very real obstacles blocking our path?
I don’t have an easy answer for that. I don’t have a list of how to’s because there is only one way that I know of to make that shift…re-prioritize. One word that can cause so much difficulty. Let’s be honest we have the priorities we have for a reason. Yes, our family and friends may be more important to us than work but wehave to spend the majority of our time and energy at work to provide financially for them. Yes, our health is more important than our house being clean, but if we don’t get it done now we will never be able to finish it.
Devising a new way of living your life, more compatible and authentic to your happiness, is the most difficult of tasks. It’s not a quick and easy fix. It’s not going to make you or the people around you comfortable in the short term. This is a long term commitment. To make it happen you have to be in it to win it everyday. You have to seek out the whole and authentic version of yourself, and make that the priority. Just imagine what your New Year can hold if you do? May your New Year be So Healthy and Soul Happy!
Soul Happy New Year from Noyau