Are you fighting fit?

A quest is a testing endeavour, it will push you to your limits. To give yourself the best chance of success, you want to be as fit as you can so that you have the energy, endurance and resilience to pass the many trials along the way and, of course, to slay the dragon.

When I talk about health I mean all-round health, which encompasses not just your physical health but also your mental, emotional and spiritual health. They are all inter-related and improvement in one aspect will help you get better in the others. The opposite is also true, if you neglect one aspect it will adversely affect the others.

Asses how you are in each of these four aspects. One way to do this is to note what regular practices you have to maintain good health in each.

When it comes to physical health, we know that regular exercise, a good diet and moderation in our pleasures (chocolate and alcohol, in my case!) will help to keep us in shape. There are also things we can do to keep us healthy in the other aspects.

We can look after our mental health by keeping physically fit but also by making sure we are getting as much social contact as we need. Isolation is very bad for us and so meeting with friends, doing group activities and hobbies and belonging to clubs and societies are all good for us. Mindfulness practices are also good, whether that is meditation, or just taking a walk in the countryside. 

Our emotional health is sustained by recognising and accepting our emotions so that they do not take control of us (this includes acknowledging negative emotions, being relentlessly positive is as dangerous as ignoring our emotions). Practices like writing a daily journal, working with a coach or therapist, or having a regular heart-to-heart with a trusted friend, help us to surface our emotions, to express them and then to work with them. This is not about being emotionless but about embracing them and exercising control over them.

We can maintain our spiritual health in many ways. Some may choose to follow a faith tradition and attend regular services, whilst others may prefer to engage with nature or to follow another path. It is undoubtedly true that helping others is good for the soul and so volunteering or just helping your neighbours will help your spirits. Practicing gratitude will also have a significant impact on mood and your sense of well-being, which can be done through keeping a gratitude journal or just reminding yourself daily to ‘count your blessings’. Making a point of expressing your gratitude to others is also a good practice.

Consider what of these practices are part of your daily routine and how much you consciously work on maintaining your health in all four areas.

Now score yourself out of 10 on the scoresheet.

Onto Question 6 >>

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