3 Considerations to Improve Your Life

This article was originally published on Wellness.com. You can view the original article here.

Our soul is our very essence, it’s the part of ourselves that makes us who we are. It is separate from our body, which is simply our outer form, our shell, the home in which our soul resides. As we go through life, most of us become consumed with external factors, stressors, other people and even our physical form. As a result, we become less aware of our internal self, our soul, and what it truly needs.

The more detached we become from our soul, the more likely we are to develop self-destructive habits, to engage in hurtful relationships and to experience depression and anxiety. To be balanced, we must tend to our bodies and our souls, caring for both, but remaining mindful of each as separate entities. As we are better able to care for our soul and its needs, we naturally treat our bodies with greater honor and respect. So, how do we do this?

Consider the following three perspectives to support your soul.

1. Describe Your Soul. If you are to think of your soul all on its own, what is it like? What has it experienced in this life? What has it endured? How is it feeling in this very moment? What is it needing? What makes it feel joyful? What can you do to nurture and support your soul? If you are having trouble connecting with your soul and its needs, think about yourself as a child when you were less inhibited. What made you feel happy? Who or what made you feel safe? What things did you gravitate toward? How did you feel in your body when you felt these things? As you connect with yourself on this deeper level, you are getting closer to yourself and your true needs.

2. Your Soul in Relationships. If you are to think of your soul in your current and past relationships, how does it feel with each of your main relationships? Loved, safe and valued? Scared, tense or worried? A combination of complex conflicting feelings? By paying attention to how your soul feels in relation to another, you get out of your intellectual thinking brain that may rationalize hurtful dynamics and you get closer to the heart of how you feel in your primary relationships. As you become more aware of this, it will help you to have greater love and compassion for your soul and how to take care of it. You will be more inclined to set better boundaries if you are being mistreated in a relationship and move closer to those who honor you.

3. Your Relationship with Your Body. As you have been able to separate your body from your soul, you can begin to appreciate your body in a completely different light. Your body is your soul’s home. It deserves to be treated with love and respect. Your body is a miraculous thing. It wants to thrive. When you send it critical messages or hurt it through various addictions, self-harm, or lack of self-care, you are abusing the very thing that is doing its best to support your soul. What can you do differently to take care of it? What support does it need? How can you honor the home of your soul?

As we become more aware of our bodies and our souls as separate from one another, we are better able to tend to both. We can begin to get to the heart of what we truly need, rather than becoming distracted by everything external. When we honor our soul’s true needs, our lives begin to reflect our very essence, creating more peace within.

Avery Neal, PhD is a practicing psychotherapist, international author and speaker. In 2012 she opened Women’s Therapy Clinic, which offers psychiatric and counseling support to women. She specializes in depression and anxiety at all stages in a woman’s life.

Dr. Neal is the author of, If He’s So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad?: Recognizing and Overcoming Subtle Abuse, which has been translated and published in twelve languages. Her articles and interviews have been published by Oprah.com, American Counseling Association, Counseling Today, BookTrib, Best Self Magazine, Hitched Magazine, Bustle, POPSUGAR and PKWY Magazine, and her courses have been taken by over 18,000 people worldwide. The International Association of HealthCare Professionals nominated her as one of the top psychologists in Houston.