Tag Archives: wellness

Social Health: Soul to Soul Relations

(Taken from Chapter 5 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth. ~~ George Bernard Shaw

09 Sept picHumans are pack animals—we are meant to be with people. No matter how “independent” we think we are, we still depend on those around us for at least some things, and we obviously wouldn’t have been brought into the world without the help of others. In most cases we could not survive, let alone thrive without the help of parents or other caregivers, teachers, friends, neighbors, pets, and others. What makes the world go around is our connection with others and the sense of community we receive through these interactions.

All of our relationships can have a direct impact on soul healthIf I were to guess, I’d say nearly 90 percent of people come to therapy because of their relationships with others in their lives. Depression, anxiety, grief, adjustment, low self-esteem, job stress, body image, weight-related concerns, physical injuries, traumatic events, anger management, abuse, and even some ongoing physical health concerns can be attributed to either present-day interactions with others or to the ideas, values, or beliefs we were taught as children.

The social branch of soul health encompasses all the relationships we have in our lives. This chapter discusses the many types of connections we have with other people, not only those close to us, but also others we may see less frequently—store clerks, dry cleaners, mail carriers, receptionists, pharmacists, manicurists, massage therapists, hair stylists, and even coffee baristas. Many people, including me, also consider pets and other animals to be significant contributors to our overall social health. No matter how connected we are to those who appear regularly in our lives, they are all part of our personal flock.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Physical Health—From Basic Needs to Body Language

(Taken from Chapter 3 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.  ~ C.S. Lewis

07 July picHealth is a deeply personal thing. From the common cold to chronic illness, every physical ailment has an impact on how we experience the human condition. Any indication that we are not well threatens the quality or duration of our existence, and, more seriously, it affects the core of our being—our soul. Our health is multidimensional; it involves each and every aspect of our lives, which, cannot help but suffer along with the body. When we are ill, we often feel down emotionally. Our relationships suffer, and in some cases we lose them. Our jobs may be jeopardized, we neglect our surroundings, struggle to find or maintain inner peace (which may go out the window altogether), lose sexual interest, perhaps lose money as well, and certainly are not in the right frame of mind for good fun and leisure.

In 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest and philosopher, wrote in Le Phénomène Humain (The Human Phenomenon) that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And there is nothing more human than our physical bodies. They may be finished evolving, but they are necessary to the soul’s continued evolution.

People spend an inordinate amount of money each year not only on health and physical fitness products, but on beauty products as well, which demonstrates the value they place on the state and appearance of their bodies. However, this focus on the physical body often ignores other aspects of overall well-being. This chapter explains the complex effects that our physical health can have on all branches of our vitality and illustrates how our body’s health reflects the health of our soul.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Sacred Finance

(Taken from Chapter 9 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Man cannot be satisfied by wealth. ~~ Katha Upanishad

There is nothing sacred about money itself—sacredness lies in the meaning we ascribe to it. Often it is in having less, not more, that we build the platform on which our souls can grow.

08 Aug picIn his book , Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein outlines the history of money as well as the influence money has had on our overall sense of separation from ourselves, each other, and the world at large. Eisenstein writes about how communities of the world have become fractured by getting lost in concepts of money, and points out how money, rather than an inner life, has become the focal point for most people. He emphasizes that both the meaning and power of money have morphed into ends in their own right rather than the means of supplementing growth and consciousness.

Another author, Lynne Twist, provides a philosophical view of money through the eyes of both the rich and the poor. Her book, The Soul of Money, offers a broad view concerning ideas about scarcity, prosperity, abundance, and success. She interviews everyone from Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to aiding the poor,  to others who are vastly wealthy. In her work as a global fundraiser, she has woven her experiences into her writing and captured the essence of everyone’s longing for financial security.

Both books offer views that can be helpful in developing your own financial well-being and applying it to soul health.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Joyful Soul

(Taken from Chapter 12 of Soul Health:  Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~ Norman Cousins

06 June picI have long lost track of how many people have entered my psychotherapy office bringing with them their sorrows, but leaving behind any sense of joy. They have lost their enjoyment and feel as if their zest for life has completely disappeared. When asked, few can say what used to make them smile, let alone remember the last time they really laughed. When I ask what they do for fun, the all-too-common answer is “nothing.” Certainly, when people are anxious, depressed, grief-stricken, stressed, or in any other state of turmoil, their experiences of joy are rare. But reacquainting with what brings them joy is guaranteed to free them from the gravity of any challenging circumstance or situation.

Our soul is nothing without joy. Without joy we are void of all light that reminds us why we live. In times when the human condition has us in its darkened grip, our experience of joy is less tangible, and so is our connection with our soul. We cannot see as clearly how to make decisions that suit our wisest ally, and we often go further off track rather than closer to our inner wisdom. Consequently, it’s not unusual for people who are distressed to report that they no longer know who they are, as their despair further disconnects them from their soul.

Our sense of joy—or lack of one—, thus, serves as another measure of our soul health. Our sense of joy is much like the pilot light for our inner ally—as long as it is lit we are still experiencing at least some pleasure in life and are able to tolerate the darker sides of the human condition. However, when that light is dim or snuffed out, nothing seems to matter—not even oneself. Therefore, awareness of what brings us joy is of utmost importance to our overall health. Essayist Logan Smith notes, “If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.” Indeed, our souls do define us; and if we don’t listen to them, we will never find our way back home to this inner ally. More tragic is the risk of losing who we really are.

Joy stems both from the fun and leisure we create06 June pic2 in our lives and from the meaning we place on the activities we choose for recreation. Individual recreational needs may differ as widely as the people on the planet do. What we all have in common, though, is that fun and leisure not only buffers the unpleasant aspects of our human condition, but also fortifies or feeds the soul.

The recreational branch of soul health relates to both the fun and the leisure we allow, invite, or create in our lives. There is a difference between the two, though. We experience fun through “acting playfully”—reacting in a light-hearted, humorous, or jesting manner —at home, work, or social situations. Leisure time, however, allows us to find respite from our responsibilities—personal and professional—which usually represent the heavier aspects of our human condition. Both fun and leisure are necessary in fortifying our soul and promoting its evolution.

Unfortunately, most people don’t make or take time for fun and leisure. In a 2010 survey, an online travel agency found that only 38 percent of Americans use all of the vacation time they were allotted. This may not be surprising, given the standards for long hours of work in this country; however, the physical and emotional cost may outweigh the praise we get for the long hours worked. In fact, there is often a direct impact on physical health when people don’t take time to relax. One researcher found that people who don’t take time to slow down from daily life may find it harder to relax in the future since the neural pathways that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it increasingly more difficult to shift to less stressful states of being. This demonstrates that our bodies are indeed restored when we are at rest or at play—and that this is necessary in sustaining our well-being.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

 

Emerging From the Muck: Top 6 Mistakes People Make in Personal Evolution

Happy New Year, Everyone!

If you’re like most people, you’ve started the new year off with the best of intentions, high aspirations for creating a fulfilling year, and hopeful anticipation that the things you’ve wanted to see come to fruition will occur with few or no obstacles.  Conscious evolution entails much more than setting a few milestones and hoping they will come to be.

In my own life, and in 25+ years of observing others’ lives, I’ve actually come to discourage setting goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, and instead encourage setting a proactive “theme” that you want to integrate into your life instead.  Why?  Because the stats show that after about 18 days, most people ditch their intentions and end up feeling like failures.  While scientist claim that our bodies have evolved about as much as they are going to, our soul’s evolution is infinite.  Meaning, that if we expect to have fulfilling and purposeful lives, we have to consciously create them!

In my experience, the 6 biggest mistakes that people make in setting goals or new year’s resolutions are:

  1.  Unrealistic thinking.  We are all encouraged to “shoot high” when it comes to our dreams, but few are taught to set and follow step-by-step milestones in getting there.  While our evolution is infinite, it occurs in stages or increments and must be consciously created.
  2. Lack of planning.  It sounds cliche, but when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.  We can set wonderful goals and resolutions, but if we don’t take the time to explore a plan for change, we miss key elements that will get us to our destination.
  3. Unready to change.  When I worked for a medical center weight management group, I would ask participants, “How ready are you to lose weight?” and people would immediately express their excitement about reaching their end goal.  Then I would ask, “How ready are you to do what it will take to lose the weight?” and they would immediately start to back peddle.  Being tired enough of yourself or your situation is an essential part of making sustainable change.
  4. Not outsmarting the obstacles.  Real change entails planning for both the successes and the failures or obstacles that will occur while in the midst of achieving your mission.  When you create a conscious plan for overcoming potential challenges, you are assured of more success and satisfaction with the shifts you make.
  5. Forgetting to evolve.  Most people focus on a goal or resolution as if it’s going to change their life once they hit their given milestone.  Then people fall off the wagon and return to their previous way of living.  Life-sustaining change means consciously evolving beyond where you started, not hitting the mark, then backtracking.
  6. Impatient with results.  Change takes time.  But most people become impatient with reaching their outcome in a reasonable amount of time and throw in the towel.  It takes 3 days to change a simple behavior into habit, 3 months for a more complex behavior, and sometimes over a year to create a new lifestyle.

One of my own missions this year is to launch into the “vlogosphere”, video-taping stories, tips, and suggestions in order to help you on your soul health journey.  It took time for me to prepare– both in gaining courage and also in learning the logistics of buying and using equipment that a techological novice could handle.  What I’m saying is that I’m right there with you with the challenges of change as I face my own obstacles in my evolution.

For more information about making sustainable change by emerging from your own “muck”, take a look at the following video.  I share one of my favorite “evolution” stories about a conversation I had with a client who was frustrated with his difficulty with change.

I would love to hear what you think!

 

From Zen to Zany: Learning to Feed Your Soul for Optimal Health in 2016

000 Soul Health ModelI’ve been doing holistic psychotherapy, wellness education, and health promotion for over 25 years. The biggest challenge I hear when working with others is that very few people know 1) how to really feed their soul and nourish themselves at a deep level, 2) what to do to relax and fully restore themselves, and 3) what activities cause them to laugh enough to really have fun. Work and no play is always a formula for feeling unwell, whether emotional, physical, or other branches of health are affected, but now is the time to learn how to truly nourish oneself at the deepest level—the soul level. This knowledge will help you both to withstand whatever storms life brings your way, but also allow yourself and your soul to evolve in such a way that there is no going back.

Ask yourself:  What do I do to relax? ZenWhat specific activities take away the stressors of the day? Are these healthy behaviors—or vices that only temporarily distract you from the source of discomfort?

Although some may know what it takes for them to really unwind, few actually take the time to engage in these activities due to perceived time constraints, guilt, and the tendency to care for others before one cares for themselves. Learning to soothe your soul with restorative activities ensures not only a less stressful life, but also more optimal and radiant health.

DSC_0059AFor instance, simply pausing to take some slow, deep breaths can immediately decrease your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall sense of stress. Practicing meditation, journal-writing, and gentle movement such as yoga, tai chi, and mindful walks around the block can clear the mind, increase optimism, and improve your immune system. Doing creative activities such as painting, drawing, gardening, and decorating provide a mini “mental-vacation” so that you can become more peaceful and centered. Any “zen-like” activity will help you to feel more balanced, but finding the right one for you makes all the difference in guaranteeing your optimal soul health.

On the other hand, it’s also essential to learn how to have fun—and more importantly, Zanyhow to give yourself permission to do so! Countless times, I’ve heard that people feel guilty for taking time to play and laugh, noting that there’s too much to do to allow oneself to let loose and enjoy some good-hearted fun. Many also say that they don’t know how to allow fun and leisure into their busy day or week, neglecting to prioritize playful activities in lieu of the long list of responsibilities. However, there is clear evidence that fun, laughter, play, and all jovial goings-on have an undeniable, positive impact on radiant health.

rollercoasterFor instance, when was the last time you did something that was out of the ordinary? What was it that made you laugh to the point of tears in the last few months—year—or longer? Are you afraid of how you will appear if you do something that is fun to you?

Now, remember how you felt after you took time to relax and restore—and how much more energetic and light-hearted you felt after a good laugh. Reminding yourself of the results of allowing yourself to be both “zen” and “zany” will instill a restorative nature to your approach to the year—one that is crucial in paving your path to optimal living.

Take the time now to jot down a few things related to fun and leisure that you would like to incorporate into your life. Then, pull out your calendar to identify times in which you can most effectively integrate these activities into day-to-day living. By learning to feed your soul, you will undoubtedly enhance your overall sense of well-being, as well as improve your soul health.

Join me in this year, From Zen to Zany, and create your deepest sense of radiant health yet!

 

Family Relations and the Soul

(Taken From Chapter 5 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Your soul is a dark forest. But the trees are of a particular species, they are genealogical trees. ~Marcel Proust

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A standard joke for many people is that they tolerate family holidays so that they can enjoy the rest of the year. Once we arrive in this world, we are generally stuck with the families into which we were born. In cases of neglect, abuse, or some other tragedy, this may not be the case. Whether we have a large or small family, one or more parents (including step-parents, adoptive parents, or foster parents), siblings (including step-siblings and half-siblings), grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins, the influence family has on us—both positive and negative—is lifelong. Research clearly indicates that a sense of a healthy family community not only extends our lifespan, but also contributes to better overall health and wellness.

Like many things in our evolving life, family structure has changed significantly over the last several decades. “Family” has come to mean different things to different people. The following list is a compilation of descriptions for family from several sociologists:

Nuclear Family—the previously traditional idea of family: husband, wife, and one or more                 biological or adopted children.

Single-Parent Family—one parent with one or more biological or adopted children.

Blended Family—a couple and one or more children from previous relationships.

Common Law—a couple who is not officially married but have lived together long enough to meet criteria for legal partnership; may or may not have children.

Childless Family—a married or unmarried couple without children.

Extended Family—includes, along with one or more parents and their children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all other blood relatives; may or not live in the same household.

Gay Family—same-sex couples who may or may not have children, and may be legally married.

Because of our changing times, many people now have an even broader idea of what family means to them. Close friends, spiritual communities, and pets are now often considered part of a person’s family depending on how the individuals define the term for themselves.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)