The Power of 3 (aka: Finding Balance for a Healthy Life)

I think that the number 3 is the key to a balanced life. I know, I know, it is an odd number, which makes it seem counterintuitive. However, I have found that my life is most fulfilling when I strike a balance of nurturing the three parts that make up my whole person: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Each part is equally essential for a balanced, healthy life. Here are some examples of ways to nurture your entire self:

Mind Body Spirit

MIND

  • Read Literature – This is different from merely reading for pleasure. Read the classics, the Great Books, the time-tested literature that will expand your mind and stretch your imagination. Don’t have time to read? Listen to an audiobook during your daily commute.
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Puzzles and Word Games – Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, or my personal favorite, Scrabble.
  • Learn about another culture – This world is such a huge and interesting place. Pick a country and learn all that you can about its history, its culture, and its people.
  • Take a college course – College classes are not only to advance one’s career. There are many online courses available, including free courses for anyone who is interested.  YogaBalance1

BODY

  • Commit to an exercise routine three days of each week (There’s that number 3 again).  — Stick to it.
  • Learn a new sport or physical activity. — Not a runner? Try yoga, or swimming, or an adult drop-in soccer or volleyball league.
  • Eat less meat. – You don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy meatless meals. There are huge health benefits to cutting out meat even on an occasional basis. Try making a goal of eating a meatless lunch or dinner three days per week. This doesn’t mean you have to eat like a rabbit. Explore the internet or your local library for healthy and delicious meal ideas.
  • Move your body as much as possible. – Avoid shortcuts. Park in the back of the parking lot and walk. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk in place while watching television. Just keep moving.
  • Sex – (No advice here, but some would say that regular sex nurtures the body, mind, AND spirit) Nourishing relationships feeds the spirit

SPIRIT

  • Keep a journal – More than just a record of your daily activities, a journal is a way to express your personal thoughts and ideas as you travel down the path of life. Or you can do as I do – write a blog. Just be cautious — remember that the rest of the world can read your journal, too.
  • Read what makes you happy – This is a different type of reading. Whether you enjoy reading children’s novels, humor books, or just plain smut, read what makes you smile. A little book candy every now and then is good for the spirit.
  • Give back to your community – Get involved in a community service project, plant flowers along the roadways, pick up litter in the local park, or visit with the elderly in a neighborhood care home. You may be surprised at how altruism nurtures your own spirit while improving the lives of other people.
  • Become an encourager. Smile at strangers and wish them a good day. Give your neighbors a basket of homemade muffins. Write thank you notes and send get well cards to people. Make friendly comments to other people or Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, or whichever online social community you prefer.
  • Surround yourself with beauty – Display beautiful artwork in your home or office. Take time to look at other people’s beautiful photography on Flickr. Go for hikes out in nature. Listen to beautiful music that feeds your spirit.
  • Find religion – Dedicate yourself to the belief system that brings you the greatest sense of peace and belonging to something greater than yourself.
  • Develop friendships – Get together regularly to talk, laugh, and enjoy life with other people. That way, you not only nurture your own spirit, but you will also nurture the spirits of other people in your life.

Balance and Happiness in Life

I am most certainly not an expert in achieving a balanced life. In truth, I often fail in several of these ideas – especially the ones which involve other people. But just because something is difficult to do, it does not mean it is not worth trying. Perhaps striving for balance is like climbing a mountain. In order to climb, you must have a sturdy anchor, a rope, and the strength or your own body. When you put these three together, you can keep climbing; keep advancing inch by inch toward the summit.

Plotting My World Takeover (The Secret Life of an INTJ)

There are questions which we all ask ourselves which are perhaps an essential part of being human. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? How can I give back to the world? How do I fit into society? Even when we think we know the answers to these questions, our lives change, circumstances change, and we begin to ask the same questions again.

Many of us turn to pop psychology for the answer. Yes, I’ll admit it, for a while, I was a Facebook survey addict. Hey don’t judge me – a lot of you took those quizzes, too. Which Book Character Would You Be? What’s Your Social I.Q.? How Well Would You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? (Okay, really, why are people on the internet so obsessed with zombies? Is it because we all fear that deep down, we are all zombies? Hmm…a topic for a later blog post, perhaps).

Not very long ago, I was able to complete an actual personality test – the Briggs-Meyer Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment. The one that many employers have their employees take in order to weed out who will do well in management positions based on their personalities. Just a theory. For those of you living in caves, the MBTI is a questionnaire developed in the 1960s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. It consists of about a zillion questions which, after compiled, can be used to place you into your very own little personality box, neatly labeled and sorted into groups of people with similar personality traits, based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung. Ha! And you thought you were an original.

Your Briggs-Meyer personality type is comprised of four letters, each representing one of the eight preferences: Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. These preferences are combined to produce one of sixteen neatly packaged personality types. Some of these types, such as ISFJ or ESFJ, are quite popular, shared by 9-14% of the US population.

I, however, am an INTJ. Not only is this personality type somewhat rare (about 2% of the population), but the nickname for this type is The Mastermind. What immediately jumps to my mind, of course, is some mad scientist working feverishly in his lab, creating evil potions to take over the world. Really. The antagonist is almost always an INTJ. Don’t believe me? Try a Google Image Search for INTJ and tell me what you find.

Oh great. I’ll just bet that Voldemort was an INTJ. Probably Hitler, too.

Words that summarize a person with the INTJ personality type: Highly independent, analytical, creative, pragmatic, insightful, unsociable, reserved, cold, perfectionist, strategist. Yikes! That sounds like Voldemort. Even worse, that really does sound like me. I guess being a teacher of young children was not the best career path for someone like me. Maybe it’s time to start plotting my world takeover.