The last words that a client sees when they leave my office is this quote from Gautama Buddha. I recently met with a young lady who was struggling with understanding the difference between our thoughts, our feelings, and our spirituality. She could not grasp that while these components are separate, they are also intertwined with our bodies to create our whole being. The health of one affects the health of the others.
This is my definition of mental health: a state of well-being in which the mind realizes the person’s potential, can deal with the daily stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make contributions to the community.
That’s a tall order, isn’t it? This is why how we think pretty much determines how we live and why taking care of our thoughts is so important.
This is my definition of spiritual health: the capacity for love, forgiveness, joy, compassion, fulfillment, faith, hope, values, and morals.
We all have the capacity. It is a matter of choice and typically includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. Most of my clients are searching for meaning in life. Even the most severely mentally ill adults who come to my office have a desire to FEEL that their life matters.
And finally, my definition of emotional health: an awareness of what you are feeling and the ability to deal with those feelings, whether they are positive or negative.
Emotionally healthy people can feel stress, anger, resentment or sadness, and know how to manage their feelings. The word that comes to mind is resilience . . . striving for a life of wholeness, balance, and contentment despite problems or setbacks.
So, what do your emotions, thoughts, and spirituality have in common? They all originate in that amazing organ called your brain. The brain, body, emotions, thoughts, and soul form the whole person. By recognizing and dealing with each part of the whole within the whole, we can learn how to have a more vital and satisfying life.
I often tell my clients that the work we are doing in each session STARTS with their mental health and AFFECTS their mind, body, and spirit.
Until next time….,
By: Lisa Philippart
Licensed Professional Counselor