Soul Food

By Terri Willis

I believe human beings are made up of three parts: Spirit, soul, and body. More specifically, we are spirit beings living inside of  bodies, which also house our souls. 

Caring for your soul, aka your mind, will and emotions, is another key component of self-care. 

 

The Mind

Although you cannot control all of the thoughts that flow into your mind, you can control how long thoughts remain.  I encourage you to become proficient at recognizing negative, toxic thought patterns that are vying for your attention.  Using your free will, choose to replace those negative, toxic thoughts with pleasant, peaceful, joyful, thankful, life-giving thoughts.  You may find music helpful in diverting your attention.  One of the quickest, most effective ways of exchanging thoughts is to sing.  The brain has to stop and listen to the words you are singing. I actually enjoy writing new encouraging jingles and songs, right in the middle of discouragement.  Why lend your imagination to negativity?  It's much more peaceful and fun to lend your imagination to creativity.

One of my favorite proverbs was written by King Solomon during his reign over Israel circa 970 to 931 BC (date source: Wikipedia). 

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

 

Caring for Your Emotions

Grieving losses is healthy, normal, and necessary. However, it is wise to add prayer & faith to the process to avoid getting stuck. Ask for the oil of joy (Isaiah 61:1-3) instead of (prolonged) mourning of losses. Do not isolate, but rather allow healthy, stable friends and family to comfort you.  It is good to communicate what you feel is specifically comforting to you. For example, you may ask them to sit quietly with you and watch a movie. Or you may ask them to simply listen, but not to offer advice. I also highly recommend seeking help from licensed trained professionals or your pastor. 

Anger is another normal response to loss and is part of the grieving cycle. However, learning to managing your anger is prudent. 

In the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14).

 Your emotions are connected to and are the direct result of your thinking. Therefore, once you master the art of positive thinking, your emotions will respond by returning to homeostasis.