Compartments. I am queen of compartmentalizing in my life. I always have been. Sometimes it serves a good purpose and other times it catches up to me like a sudden bomb, blowing up all hope of avoiding a situation or emotion. Thankfully, as I age, I am learning to “unpack,” so to speak. I now know that whether I choose to avoid something or confront it directly, it’s going to happen at some point.
You can’t compartmentalize your life. It’s not healthy. There has to be a total balance and connection between all aspects of your life. A balance in physical exercise, spirituality, and the psychological well being.
We, as human beings, naturally want to live in compartments. Maybe it’s because it’s much easier to focus on parts of anything rather than something in its entirety. Maybe it’s overwhelming. Maybe it’s just because of the era we live. Looking back in history at different cultures, many believed that everything we did had a direct consequence, whether it be physical, mental, in our bodies, or to the earth. We lived with nature and respected it. We, as a society, have definitely moved towards a lifestyle that revolves entirely about ourselves. And the irony of it all is that we are always looking at everyone else. We are thinking all about ourselves, but watching everyone else. We are constantly inundated with superficial importance. We have become a society that does a minimal as possible in regards to our nutrition. Dinner in 5 minutes and 30 seconds? Yes. Why do I have high cholesterol and pre diabetes? Because nothing that is packaged is going to give you healthfulness, and in turn, happiness.
But I have a challenge for you. Identify which compartment you gravitate towards.
- The physical. This part involves our exercise and how we care for and condition our body. It includes the nutrition we provide our bodies with.
- The spiritual. Referring not only to practicing your religion or beliefs, but also involving your self awareness. This compartment deals with how you handle your emotions and thoughts.
- The psychological. This compartment is not to be confused with your spiritual well being. This is your actually mental health, which many times is directly related to the physical. This area can include stress management, dealing with anxiety, depression, vitamin deficiencies, ect.
Sometimes we only pay attention to one or two aspects of how we are made. But we can reteach ourselves how to live in balance.
Notice that it seems to be in our nature to choose one aspect of our life and dive into it.
We can be so consumed by our spiritual lives, that we completely neglect our physical life. We abuse our bodies in poor nutrition and lifestyle, but our spiritual health is fine. How can that be?
Or we are obsessed with the physical aspect of our life and spend every moment exercising or evaluating which food will provide the most nourishment for our body, but we never stop and breath. We get lost in the momentum the physicality of life and neglect our spiritual needs.
Usually, if we neglect one, another fails as well. Many people suffer from mental illness, but it has been suggested by many (and I wholeheartedly believe,) that many disorders and diseases are circumstantial. They are a result of toxins in the body from chemical rich foods. Some can be the result from total nutritional imbalance. Ever hear of the blood-brain barrier? I can save that rant for another piece, but gluten combined with the majority of carbs, causes inflammation in your body and eventually you can develop a leaky blood-brain barrier. The fact that scientists have began to link Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and MS, among other neurological diseases to gluten is enough for me to consume it as minimally as possible.
The point is, each of these aspects of our lives need to be treated as a whole. We can’t focus on one and ignore the other, or 2 and pay no attention to third. In order to live to our greatest potential, we must invest in each part. We can’t isolate our physical health from our mental health, because they must work hand in hand. For instance, you can exercise all you want, eat like crap, and wonder, “Why am I depressed?” when the real underlying problem is Vitamin D deficiency because you’re not consuming enough of the right foods or are in need of supplements. On the flip side, we cannot solely “eat” our way to “healthy.” In the same way, we can’t expect to be satisfied with our lives when we are never seeking self improvement, let alone, creating time in which our sole purpose is self investment. Each part is a component necessary to achieve total health.
My challenge for you this week is to identify which compartment you focus on, and which you neglect. Think about what you need to do to bring balance to your body and your life, and in turn, live a happier, healthier and more optimally.