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Finding Joy

The Intersectionality of Joy

Someone just asked me to explain what undermines our health today?

After 20 years of working in healthcare, I came up with this...

The Intersectionality of Joy

Disintegration or disharmony of the mind, body, and soul is what undermines people's health the most in today's society. As individuals, we each have an intersectionality of the mind, body, and soul that functions to provide meaning and joy in our lives. When one of these parts gets overwhelmed or under stimulated, the individual suffers from disharmony and, as a result, he or she's health suffers.

For example, if Tommy, the Task Rabbit, works 8-10 hours a day in a cube at a high tech company, overstimulating his mind on the computer, but doesn't work out his physical body by taking a break and walking, running, or playing a sport for an hour or two per day, he gets out of balance and his health suffers from being underactive. He may develop headaches, posture problems, become obese, and unknowingly be overstimulated from excessive computer use. 

On the other hand, Jumping Jane may work out 4-5 hours a day on the treadmill at the gym, doing cross-training courses and physically work out excessively but do very little reading or socializing outside of the gym. She may develop shin splints from running too much and suffer pain from too much working out. She may even crave intellectual stimulation or social stimulation from groups or church and not have an awareness of her need to satisfy her meaning and/or purpose in life. If these behaviors get too far out of balance then the individual suffers undue stress or pain, physically or mentally and eventually loses struggles with finding joy in their physical and mental life. It is virtually impossible to experience joy and happiness if one is under chronic stress and this is what starts the cascade of health problems that we see too often in our society today.

So what should we do about this disharmony of our three parts of the self? Get out your whiteboard and draw three circles each intersecting each other in the middle with some overlap. In the middle of each circle write in mind, body, and soul and make the circles big enough to write in action items below each of the three labels. Color in the overlap part of the three circles a bright orange-yellow (this is the intersection area of the three circles). This bright colorful area represents the joy in your life! To combat the disharmony mentioned above, we must strive to make that colorful circle bigger and bigger, essentially superimposing each of the three circles on top of each other and ideally all becoming one super bright yellow-orange circle. Now, when you first draw the three circles there should be a lot of white space in each of the three where you can write yourself notes like take walks at lunch every other day (in the physical circle) or attend a women's group or church (in the soul circle). As you visit your whiteboard every other week, update it with some of the progress you have made and the joy you have increased in your life. The intersectionality of joy in your life should be growing and growing each and every month and you will start approaching a more harmonious life full of joy and happiness.

This example of a whiteboard wonder that I have created is one material way to take action and begin to transform a disintegrated self into one of wholeness and happiness. Once you have momentum, you will feel healthier and happier and constantly work to maintain balance in your life!

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Finding Joy
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