Holistic Faith Lifestyle’s About section talks a lot about how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together.
This is because the mind, body, and spirit are intimately and very intentionally connected. It’s all part of our “created in the image of God” makeup and I believe the Creator would have us take great care of each part.
When we seek sacred in our everyday routines, we begin unraveling the depth and sovereignty of the God that always was, is and is to come being RIGHT HERE. Right now. In you. Around you. Hemming you in on all sides. And every moment this is recognized widens your scope of how powerfully set in motion your life is.Without amped up woo or tamped down dogma, our spirit is freed to find sacred in the ordinary, plain old, everyday routines. #holisticfaithlifestyle #seekingsacred #sacredintheordinary Click To Tweet
How to Make Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Work Together
Why it’s Important to Make Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Work Together
The way we go about everything from dream-chasing to health maintenance and self-care to parenting and relationships, should work together and not against the betterment of the whole. It isn’t something we consciously process on a regular basis, but when we stop to consider this approach, it sounds sensible, right?
You can actively and intentionally support a balanced mind, body, and spirit by:
- Recognizing what God says about you matters and affirming it daily to replace any lies with truth.
- Honoring your inner voice by listening without judgment and simultaneously taking every thought captive.
- Instead of “I can’t stop worrying.”, use more positive language such as, “I’m worried so I’m meeting with God in prayer over it.”
- Speak the truth and change your thoughts with Bible affirmations for success like “I have been prepared in advance to do every good work planned for me, to live a life pleasing to God, and be a blessing to others.”
- Getting to know your gut reactions and how they impact you physically
- Paying attention to where you have control (which always includes your attitudes, reactions, spoken words, and inner thoughts)
- Releasing what is outside your control
- Learning when to sit still and when to move
- Loving yourself.
- This can be hard for Jesus Followers. I get it. There’s a lot of mixed messages out there. If you worry it is all going to fall apart if you take this step, take it to God. Ask for eyes that see creation through the eyes of the Creator. You’re kind of letting yourself off the hook to fall deeply, madly, truly in love with yourself on Day 1, but you’ll eventually come to terms with the goodness of you. And yes, God will still be primo over all things. And you’ll still be able to recognize sin in your life. But you’ll probably be quicker to take it to God and seek restoration ASAP instead of hiding it under make-shift fig leaf garments and spinning more lies. Because love doesn’t limit perspective. It broadens vision.
Jesus Christ laid down his life and took it back up again so that we never have to experience distance from God unless it is by our own choice. Through God’s lavish love and grace, we are invited to work alongside the Spirit loving and healing a broken world, one person at a time. God doesn’t want anything from us, but desires every good thing for us; mind, body, and spirit!
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How To Make Your Mind, Body and Spirit Work Together
So connectivity and balance sound great, but how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and not against the betterment of the whole can feel overwhelming.
From Day 1, our mind, body, and spirit are already intimately connected, working together for better or worse. The harder part, that which takes greater intention, is tending each part to keep them healthy and supportive of one another!
What is the Mind-Body Connection?
We don’t always put mind and body into a cause-and-effect relationship. Pausing to observe human behavior in others or simply remembering anytime we felt a deep emotion cultivate quickly builds your mind-body awareness.
What emotions come to mind when picturing yourself with sweaty palms, a tightened jaw, increased blood pressure, and stomach discomfort?
How about flushed cheeks, raucous laughter, and inexplicable tears?
Whether it’s anger or anxiety in the first scenario or incredible joy over an inside joke with our bestie, we easily see that our thoughts and emotions cause physical reactions.
Effects of Negative Emotions
Over time, the effects of negative emotions include physical pain, higher susceptibility to injury and heightened awareness of resulting physical pain, elevated cortisol levels, and a weakened immune system. When negative emotions lead the way, we’re less likely to practice self-care, take healthy risks or engage socially. When this occasional concern or disappointment becomes the norm, our overall being is negatively affected and our freedom to live joyfully becomes restricted.
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NIV)
Understanding the truth of how we’re created to intimately reflect God’s image is freeing but can feel weighty if we’re already bone tired.
Because it’s not a snap your fingers and feel better kind of thing. The beginning steps of merely noticing our emotions, not to mention dealing with them can be truly difficult.
Even though it is uncomfortable, it’s important to be aware of your emotions and their roots, as well as what triggers their ill effects. Being mindful of your emotions means noticing how you feel and taking time to accept the discomfort for now, knowing it will pass. In this acceptance, we are better able to soothe ourselves and look for solutions.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. ~ Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)
Many moons ago, I was texting my sister-in-LOVE about how I was recovering from a hard situation and expressed that I felt furious and sad. Her response?
“Then be furious and sad. And keep taking all that to God.” ~Kacy of Redeemed Ruth
Such pure, intuitive emotional intelligence in that heart of hers! With her as my guide, I fully realized the power in giving myself the OK to feel all the feelings and do what I needed to deal with it and then recover. In my case, she knew that was taking it straight to God, who PS was not surprised or offended by my humanity.
Building Mind-Body Awareness for Better Health
Unhealthy emotional responses such as justifying our physical reactions or compartmentalizing or sectioning off feelings can be second nature for many of us. Our emotions lead to a physical reaction, and often we have negative feelings like shame or resentment in response. It can be a nasty cycle with lifelong effects if we don’t learn to pull in the reins.
Experiencing a range of emotions without feeling any pressure to react can bring insight on the root cause, wisdom in finding a solution, and great relief knowing you can sit under a dark cloud or atop a hot fire and not be overcome.
How To Make Your Mind, Body and Spirit Work Together
Here are tools for breaking this negative cycle and improving your mind-body awareness.
- Meditation is great for learning to take notice rather than react without thought. It took time, but after meditating consistently for a year, I noticed how my emotional intelligence improved. I could sense anger rising up, take a breath and evaluate whether or not a reaction was necessary, and if so which reaction would be helpful. Meditating is an empowering gift to yourself and anyone that spends time in your presence. Did you know Holistic Faith Lifestyle sends out free, weekly Guided Christian Meditations? There’s an intro for centering on scripture followed by self-led quiet time. I began writing these for myself because I craved both parts; the God connection & the self-led quiet meditation that’s often overlooked and even avoided in our faith. Once you sign up, you’ll receive access to all previously published meditations and receive a new one in your inbox every Monday.
- Yoga provides healing through stillness, balance awareness, and confidence. We often focus on our mind’s role in healing the body, but I love that over time, yoga can heal our mind. Such a beautiful cyclical practice!
- Positive Affirmations help by sending a positive reset to our message center. These are especially helpful when reinforced by our spiritual beliefs. In crafting powerful daily affirmations for myself and for my kids, I use God’s own words on who we are created us to be.
- Talking it out – friends, family, a counselor,p and even journaling can help uncover roots, triggers, and untapped wisdom.
- Practice Gratitude – There are countless studies on how gratitude changes our outlook, controls toxic thoughts, improves mental and physical health. The benefits take a while to build, but once activated the effects are long-lasting. You can read more on one study here, and if you’re interested in putting this practice in place, check out “Gratitude Works! A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity“ by Robert A. Emmons. I love how the book walks you through numerous studies to build an understanding of how gratitude works, then gives assignments you can continue long after the book is completed!
- Sunshine, sleep, exercise, and diet affect both sides of this emotional/physical response coin. Depending on how low your emotions have you, these may be the hardest to pull off. If so, start small and without judgment. Progress is never negligible!
What is the Difference Between Soul and Spirit in the Bible?
Now that we’ve simplified the overwhelming equation of how to make your mind body and spirit work together, let’s look at some Biblical definitions.
How do you think of your Self? Mind, Body, Spirit? Mind, Body, Soul? Or perhaps a broader mix that includes Heart, as well?
And at the end of the day, how much does it matter? I’m not certain on that one, but if you want to nerd out with me, I’m stoked to have you by my side as see how the Bible defines each one. I feel so Ms. Frizzle right now! Let’s pretend this is the one where The Magic School Bus dives under the sea. Because, can’t we be that way? Tumultuous at the surface, needing to go miles deeper before discovering any stillness?
I pulled my understanding of these terms from the dictionaries at BibleStudyTools.com. This is a great site to bookmark for when you need more context.
Each heading in this section is linked directly to that term’s summary page.
The Bible references the mind as the place where our thoughts are originated, where we perceive events and create our worldview, where we make decisions and express ourselves.
The Old Testament refers to the mind in many different ways to reflect the inward, hidden parts of human beings in a comprehensive, holistic manner. Commonly, the use of “heart”, “spirit” and “soul” are interchangeable with “the mind” in these books. So, right off the bat, we confirm that each term in our “how to make your mind body and spirit work together” equation is woven tightly together.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” ~Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
“The Hebrew culture, which considered the intellectual and emotional dimensions of human life from the perspective of the whole person: heart, soul, and spirit are not separate parts of the inner person, but each is a reference to the whole inner person and is to be viewed in relation to the body (Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology).”
Paul and other New Testament authors refer to the mind as our disposition and our inner compass, allowing for thought, understanding, and discernment.
The body is deeply connected to all other parts. Unraveling the body and soul connection is near impossible when viewed from the belief that God created the world and everything in it.
Genesis tells us that God created and completed our environment with great detail and purpose. We were then created, both male and female in God’s image. We were brought to life when God’s own breath sparked life in us.
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:44 (ESV)
“This integration of body and soul constitutes an internal dynamic that is truly remarkable. The body becomes the expression of the soul. The voice articulates prayer, raised hands express praise, bowing low reflects humble adoration and worship (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology).”
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” ~Psalm 139:14-16 (ESV)
Two words in the Bible refer to the spirit as breath or wind; “Ruah” in the Old Testament and “Pneuma” in the New Testament.
From these definitions and our review of the Creation story, we understand the spirit of Adam was God-breathed. For Adam and Eve and each of us after, the spiritual portion of our makeup is a God-given gift. Breathe in that goodness!
God, let it settle in our bones. You created us and called us good.
Our spirit is what allows us to have dynamic communication with God. It is also what can open us up to the darkness of avoiding what we were created to be. Spirit also refers to our vital powers of life. It can be lifted up or be crushed. It can be renewed and decreased. It can sustain us through sickness and adversity.
“A (person’s) spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Proverbs 18:14 (NIV)
This explains why so many times, a crisis is what leads a person to spiritual healing. We innately know our spiritual health is the key to recovering our life.
Have you ever wondered what is a person’s soul exactly? Or what is the difference between your soul and spirit?
Me, too! And guess what, it’s pretty simple.
Soul = Life.
“Clearly, then, in the Old Testament (Hebrew language), a mortal is a living soul rather than having a soul. Instead of splitting a person into two or three parts, Hebrew thought sees a unified being, but one that is profoundly complex, a psychophysical being (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology).”
In the New Testament, the word “psyche” is used more often for “spirit” versus the Old Testament which uses the word “nepes”. Nepes was primarily used in poetry, which is common in the OT. Psyche can indicate the person, as well as their emotional drive.
Knowing this provides clarity when we come across verses that use spirit and soul as separate and distinctive parts.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)
So to paraphrase that verse with our new vocab understanding, “Allow the God of peace to work in you so that everything about you, your God-breathed spirit, the very life in your veins and even the body which carries you through your days, be made wholly pure. God can be trusted with any question on how to make your mind, body and spirit work together!”
Biblically, the heart is the spiritual center of our being and also the place from which we execute our life operations.
In some cases “Soul” and “Heart” can be used interchangeably, but often they indicate deeply connected, but separate portions of our being. The Heart acts as our conscience and determines designations of a person as pure, good and upright, or hard and wicked.
It is here in the heart that the process of salvation begins with a believing reception of God’s love and grace. Alternatively, a hard heart “evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).”
Regardless of our heart’s feelings or beliefs about ourselves, its spirituality and perceptions, humanity has long recognized the heart as the center of our being.
As a Jesus follower then, it all makes so much giant chalkboard circling and arrows sense why having my heart whole and healthy through his love and grace, brings life to all other parts. Even on hard days, my heart’s designation as His brings life, freedom, and joy.
How to Make Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Work Together
So in case you skimmed the post and didn’t catch it above, there’s nothing we can do to “make” our mind, body, and spirit work together. It’s already done. For better or worse, these parts are working together. We might find greater balance, however, if we flipped the order and begin thinking of ourselves as Spirit, Mind and Body creations, acknowledging our spirit as the greatest indicator of our holistic health.
God created us this way. Part of the beauty in this is that we get to feel uncomfortable when things are out of balance. Don’t run from this feeling, tuck it in close and go straight to The Source. God has you and will provide your breakthrough!
How does better understanding these definitions change the way you view God’s desire to set you free?