LIFE IN BALANCE
Part 5. Mind Your Mind
by Elena Greco
LIFE IN BALANCE is a multi-part series exploring health–
what it is, how to get it and how to maintain it, easily and naturally.
Read other parts of the series here: Life in Balance
Typical reading time: 2 minutes
In the first part of this series, we learned that health is balance, and that to be healthy, we need to learn ways of keeping our balance, physically and mentally, in the midst of life’s many challenges. In Part 2, we took a look at some healthcare paradigms and learned the value of using a holistic healthcare system, one which takes all aspects of you and your health into account, and which views health as much more than being free from symptoms of illness. In the third part, we learned that true health is reflected in vitality and resilience.
In Part 4, we began an assessment of your traits and lifestyle that will form the basis of your healthcare plan. To recap, there are four areas that contribute to our assessment: physical body, mind and cognitive/emotional state, environment, and lifestyle. In the last post, I asked you to take a look at the status of your physical body. Now let’s mind our minds. Think about what your life looks like in this area. Again, there’s no judgment about this, no good or bad; just notice. Here’s a list to get you started. And again, keep these assessments together so that you will have a complete picture at the end of the process.
2. Mind and Cognitive-Emotional State
a. Overall mood (positive/negative)
i. experience feelings as they occur and don’t get stuck
ii. tend to have over-reactions to events or frequently have bursts of anger
iii. feelings are suppressed or dull
iv. have stuck feelings, such as (a) simmering anger or hate or (b) perpetual sadness or grief (sometimes called “depression”)
c. Cognition and processing of information
a) clarity of thoughts
b) murky thoughts, succumb to every thought that arises, focus on negative thoughts
c) able to separate your automatic thoughts—i.e., the continuous stream of thoughts that arise—from yourself and the world, able to decide what thoughts to ignore, able to focus on or create positive or constructive thoughts to think
a) You’re able to create intentions and goals, and follow through with them; you have clear purposes in life.
b) You don’t create goals or don’t follow through with them; you drift through life with no clear purpose.
i. You have an understanding of any trauma that has occurred and its effects on you; you have sought help and/or are recovered, i.e., you are not at the effect of it or in its control.
ii. You’re stuck in an endless and unpredictable loop of symptoms, such as intense startle reflex, nightmares, free-floating anxiety, feeling removed from your life and feelings, knee-jerk emotional reactions to things that resemble the trauma(s) in any way.
iii. You tend to repeat old patterns with regard to relationships and professional life.
iv. You have frequent bouts of disruptive states of sadness, numbness or violent behavior.
v. You frequently dissociate.
e. Relationships: Excellent, good, problematic (e.g. abuse, domination, manipulation)
f. Communication: You understand and utilize fundamentals of healthy communication and boundaries.
i. Do you take psychotropic pharmaceuticals or cigarettes?
ii. Do you take caffeine, alcohol or marijuana to excess?
iii. Do you take too much sugar or starch?
iv. Do you have food “addictions”?
v. Do you take supplements, herbs or food that support a healthy brain?
vi. Do you get some aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, dancing, jogging, cycling) most days?
h. Mind medicine
i. Do you do meditation and/or visualization?
ii. Do you do mindful walking (or sitting) in nature or walk a labyrinth most days?
iii. Are you selective about your reading and media intake?
iv. Do you surround yourself with people who have a positive influence on you?
v. Is your home life stable and supportive?
vi. Do you use music or art to make your environment pleasant, beautiful and/or supportive?
vii. Do you participate in a creative art form or a hobby?
i. Support: Do you have people and organizations you can turn to in times of trouble?
i. family members
v. like-minded groups
Assignment: After doing your Mind Assessment, notate any ideas that come to you of how you might address any areas that you see are troublesome. Again, there’s no need to “fix” anything, and no need to think of everything. This is just about notating any ideas that come to you as you make your complete health assessment.