Your Best Life: Mind, Body, and Spirit

It is essential to balance our mind, body, and spirit in a way that will support good health, happiness, and well-being. Sounds good? Of course, but, as usual, with most good things, this can be easier said than done.

With the demands of our everyday lives, we are often distracted with too many things to do in too little time. During times like these, it can become painfully difficult to successfully juggle each aspect of our mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellness. So, with a plop here and a drop there, we find ourselves out of balance and simply trying to survive from one challenge to the next.

How can we align our mind, body, and spirit to live and age well?
To get started, take a step back and honestly assess the essence of you.

How would you describe your current age in terms of your general health and well-being?

What areas specific to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being would you like to change?

To thrive in life, start with these essential strategies. Focus on finding your balance.

(1)  Take Time for You
There is only one person who is consistently with you each and every day and that person is YOU. While it may sound selfish, it is critical that you make yourself a priority. This doesn’t mean you focus exclusively on your own needs and wants and forget about the people around you. It simply means that you structure your life in a way to make your own health and well-being your top priority. Ultimately, if something happens to you, it will directly impact you first and foremost.

(2)  Be Responsive to Change
Life is consistently changing, and so are you. With aging, your body and mind will experience inevitable changes – good or bad. In addition, the habits from your past may no longer work for you now. For example, you may find that you can no longer eat or go without sleep like you did when you were younger without paying a high price on your health.

What steps should you take?
Be vigilant. Evaluate your health and well-being as you go through your daily activities. Understand that your mental and physical abilities will change and adjust your approach as needed. For example, if you have problems with your hearing, get tested and be willing to wear a hearing aid to stay connected to the world around you. Finally, while you may have more aches and pains from one day to another, don’t ignore persistent changes to your body or mind, especially when these changes include such areas as your blood pressure, weight, balance, energy level, pain, memory, eyesight, hearing or general ability to function. Don’t ignore any adverse changes in your health and well-being by chalking it up to “getting older.”  Seek the appropriate medical help to determine what is going on and how best to address it.

(3)  Keep Current and Informed on Healthy Living and Aging
To make the best of living and aging well, learn as much as you can about the latest trends and scientific research specific to your lifestyle. New discoveries are being made every day. Explore the many resources available to you via the internet, books and magazines, consult with your health care providers, and attend health-related classes or presentations. Embrace new strategies that directly pertain to your current health and well-being and be willing to incorporate them into your everyday life. With anything, have an open mind but also be critical of what you read. You will encounter a lot of misinformation or “fake” news disguised as serious research. Always consult with your primary healthcare provider before you embark on a new diet, exercise program, or major change in your health regiment. What’s good for one person might not be good for you.

(4)  Take Control of your Health Care
You are your greatest advocate for your health and well-being.

Keep up with your health care visits. Use health care providers who are willing to spend time with you and to truly listen to your concerns.  Be proactive with your dental, hearing, skin, and eye care needs. If you feel uncomfortable with the outcome of any diagnosis or prescribed treatment, be willing to get a second or third opinion. And, in all, prevention is your best approach to healthy living.

(5)  Find the Joy in Living
Your attitude will drive your priorities, your actions, your values and your outlook on life. Keep a positive attitude and treat your life as a blessing. Learn to treasure every moment you have on earth. Take time to distract yourself from your concerns and to focus on the positive – those things that bring a smile to your face or make you laugh.

In any given day, make the little things count. Get out and meet new people or reconnect with old friends and family members. Enjoy the beauty of nature. Take time to support others who might be less fortunate than yourself.  Embrace hope and add that extra touch of love and joy to brighten your day.  Always remember…be grateful for life is precious.

Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University  and on the Board for LEARN Idaho.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.