The concept of mind, body, and spirit is a commonly held idea that we possess different aspects of self that make up the total self.  We think and rationalize with the mind.  We use our body to manifest our thoughts physically and we take in sensory experiences through our 5 physical senses.  Our “spirit” is commonly referred to as the part of us that we know as our intuition, drive, and essence.  It seems that science is finally catching us up to what many of us have already suspected.  Exercise helps regulate mood and can help with anxiety.  Not only is that good news for our overall mood and feelings of anxiety, it’s also good for our whole self as mind, body, and spirit are interconnected.  However, if this concept is now a scientific fact, does it still apply to everybody?

(Here is a great scientific explanation of the effects of exercise in terms of lessening anxiety)

If we look at the treatment of our physical body in terms of how we affect our entire being, we can see the real benefits of something like exercise.  Not only is exercise good for our self-esteem because we look better, for example, it also can be better for our self-esteem because we feel better.  It doesn’t stop there.  If we feel better emotionally, we’re going to think and reason better because our mood is stable. There is less detrimental influence on our thoughts.  Everything within us is connected and influences the other parts of who we are.  (There are also studies proving that positive thinking and mood helps people recover from sickness and disease faster than those who report a more depressed state)

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Though there can be ancillary benefits to exercise, the rest of our “self” still requires direct attention.  There are people who are infatuated with exercise that are miserable even though they look like “they have it all together”.  There are many people who are successful in their careers using their minds, spending the majority of their time pursuing “success”, who are absolutely lonely.  If we started a regimen of a healthy diet and running, do we think that will be enough to deal with our anxiety?  If we still feel “unhappy” do we end up labeling those lifestyle changes as ineffective and revert back to old behavior?  What seems to be missing?

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It is promising that scientific studies can back up the widely accepted benefits of something as intrinsically healthy as exercise.  However, it is also important to see the our own whole picture.  The search for the ultimate universal advice will tend to leave us at a dead-end.  Finding our unique balance for our mind, body, and spirit might be the real answer for what we are seeking.  That right combination is for the individual as each one of us and no scientific study will be able to provide the “right answer”.  This answer lies within and nowhere else.

 

 

 

 

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