When it comes to our health, it is helpful to take a look at what we are doing on a regular basis that is taking us away from how we want to feel and keeping us stuck, as well as looking at what is moving us toward our goals. In other words, we want to do a cost benefit analysis of our habits.
When we spend, we deplete our resources and we do not expect to get any long-term benefit back in return. When we invest, we deplete our resources up front, but we also accumulate value and we get a beneficial return on our investment.
In taking care of our whole selves, it can be useful to investigate how we are spending and how we are investing in all of the layers that make up who we are. In yoga and ayurveda, we learn about the five bodies or layers that we have around our soul. Let’s take a look at each of those layers and consider how we can invest rather than spend pertaining to each.
- Physical body- This is the layer of ourselves that we are most familiar with. It is the body that we live in. Activities that would qualify as spending will deplete our physical health without any longterm payoff. This may include things like: staying up late and only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night, eating fast and processed foods frequently, deprioritizing exercise and moving our body, and ignoring what our body is telling us it needs. To invest in our physical health, we would lean in the opposite direction from these spending activites. Investing in our physical health would include going to bed by 10pm and setting ourselves up for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eating whole in-season foods, moving our body in some way every day, listening when our body tells us what it needs or doesn’t need and honoring that.
- Energy body- Our energy body is all about our lifeforce energy and how vitalized we feel to maneuver through our daily lives and to regulate our emotions. Activities that would qualify as spending will deplete our energy stores without any longterm payoff. We can think about things that feel like they suck energy rather than energize us. Certain foods that are more difficult to digest or that cause or increase inflammation would be on this list. Not getting enough rest or exercise would also be on this list. So, many of the items that we listed for investing in the physical body would also help us invest in our energy body. We could also add breathwork, body work like massage or accupuncture, time outside with fresh air and sunlight, as well as identifying and feeling our emotions to our investing list for the energy body.
- Mental body- Our mental body is all about the stories we tell ourselves and our regular thinking patterns. Activities that would qualify as spending for the mental body will keep us in a negative cognitive space and feel like a drag on the energy and physical bodies in the long run. This may include things like excessive worry, repetitive negative thinking patterns, always looking for what is wrong, and spending time in unhealthy relationships. To invest in our mental body, we may use affirmations or mantra to direct the mind in a more helpful way. We may journal to process our lives and practice gratitude to train our minds to look for what is right. Learning things that add value to our lives is also a way to invest in our mental body.
- Wisdom body- Our wisdom body represents the inner well of wisdom that we all have within us and our ability to be guided by our own inner knowing. Activities that would qualify as spending for the wisdom body would be things like ignoring our intuition, living a life based on what others think we should do, not learning from our experiences, and not updating our beliefs based on what we have learned and what is best for us in this chapter of our lives. Investing in our wisdom body shows up in things like tuning in and listening with meditation, journaling, investigating and questioning our own actions and beliefs, creating a personal mission statement, and spending time with ourselves.
- Spirit body- Our spirit body is the deepest and most etheric of the layers. It is also called the bliss body because it is all about who we truly are at our core. Activities that spend here would be things like living our lives out of alignment with our core values, not showing up as our authentic selves, and shutting down our connection to ourselves and/or our higher power. To invest in our spirit body, we prioritize our core values as drivers for how we show up in our lives, we express our authenticity by using our unique gifts, and we do the deep, inner work to connect with ourselves and something larger than ourselves. That “something larger” may mean our higher power, nature, or the community of humanity.
This week, I invite you to take some time to write down how you want to feel and assess where you are spending and where you are investing. Choose one thing that you can shift for the next week to begin creating the mind and body that you want to live in.
As always, I am practicing right along with you and I am happy to support you in your journey. Feel free to reach out.
Chat again soon,