Scientific studies are confirming, though relatively earlier in its research, the concept of “The Four Bodies”. What is clear is that there is a positive association with tending to each of the four bodies with health behaviours and subjective wellbeing.
So, what are the four bodies we need to be aware of?
Firstly, there’s the physical – our physical being, our presence.
Then we have the mental side, which deals with our thoughts.
Finally, we have the emotional and spiritual elements, which are ‘newer’ to us in the context of how we think about our health.
The physical and mental parts of us focus on the linear patterns of life, and we often feel very connected to these elements of ourselves.
To embrace our spiritual and emotional sides, we must really be able to live in the here and now, be good with the processes of feeling and learning to think about our emotions, and to be able to think about our spirituality beyond our religious culture.
The whole notion is that in order to benefit we give 25 percent of our being to each of the four bodies, sometimes equally, sometimes to the body that needs most.
This blog delves further into the four bodies, defining each one in terms of its function and importance, and offering insight into how we can strike a balance between all four to support overall health and wellbeing.
The physical body
The physical body deals with the skin and everything that functions beneath it: the skeletal system, the organs, the blood flow – all of those things. Our body represents our experience in this world; the ability to heal, the ability to be sick – our physiological journey.
When our physical body feels balanced, we’re likely adopting more health practices. Life is being lived in a way that is more meaningful to us. We feel open and flexible.
On the other hand, when we’re underbalanced in this physical body, we may begin to notice that it breaks down, so we start to feel unwell. We start to get conditions, maybe even chronic conditions. We may develop issues with our digestion or find that we age more rapidly, in a way that is not normal or natural.
When it is overbalanced, we might notice that we’re overly focused on our physical appearance; how strong we are, how beautiful we are, and we might even become obsessed with how we are aging. We might start doubting ourselves and our ability to support our body’s healing. External factors, such as diets, detoxes, Botox, maybe even supplements, are given more power than they should have.
In order to retrieve that sense of balance within the physical body, you need to ask yourself what can be done without having to rely on those external measures. Because sometimes, the diets, the drugs, the supplements, the Botox, they just don’t deliver. In fact, many people that go and get all this work done still feel poorly about their body image afterwards.
What this tells us is that a focus on simple actions is more successful. Start slowly, choose one thing you are going to change to improve your physical body, and stick to that. Commit to it and dedicate yourself to repeating it over, and over, and over again. Bringing your body back into balance doesn’t mean that you should be able to run 10K. It means committing to walking every day or working on nourishing rather than punishing yourself. These simple actions count and will be the ones that will stand the test of time.
The mental body
Centred around our thinking brain, the mental body represents our attitudes, our judgements, our bias and our prejudices. It incorporates all the intellectual and analytical thoughts that we have. It is the body we use to process thoughts and information. Essentially, it is responsible for how we learn, how we use words, and perhaps in some ways, how we are creative and how we contribute within society. After all, our actions stem from what we think.
So, what’s it like when we’ve got a balanced mind and balanced thoughts? In this state we are very able to problem solve. We’re quick-thinking and concise in our communication. Such clarity may also make us quite innovative. We will likely find it easy to solve emotional and physical problems.
When we’re underbalanced, we may notice things like confusion, brain fog and lethargy. We might experience a lack of purpose and our work ethic might be low, along with our self-esteem.
On the flip side, when that pendulum swings and we’re overbalanced in the mental body, we can be largely driven by our own ego. Selfish, maybe. We might have little ability to be empathetic to others’ situations. We may find ourselves doing too much because we’re in overdrive.
There are lots of things you can do to bring the mental body back into balance when you find yourself in either of the above situations. Start thinking about how to channel these thoughts. Perhaps engage in some moderate exercise, like a gentle form of yoga, a walk, or spend some time going out into the mountains. Maybe you need to speak to a therapist to properly offload the thoughts weighing down your mental body.
It’s about finding a way that will allow you to release challenging thoughts, which can then be replaced with new, positive thoughts and ideas. It’s essentially like putting a new input into a computer. Input new thoughts, so that you can live with more ease.
The emotional body
The emotional body represents our experience of the world, how we’re interpreting the world, and that interpretation is going to be very different for each and every one of us.
Our heart centre, our nervous system, is where the emotional body resides. Have you ever noticed how your dreams go a little bit crazy when you’re really emotionally challenged? That’s your nervous system telling you that it needs something.
Our heart centre encompasses our feelings and our relationships, whether with ourselves, with other people, or with the world around us. It dictates how we react, how we interpret and how we respond. This body has no involvement with fact or logic, so if you have a really logical mind, you might struggle to make sense of this heart centre – the emotional part of you.
Someone with a balanced emotional body displays empathy, honesty and generosity. It’s that person who is there with you through your struggles. It’s someone who is inclusive of people and who doesn’t judge others, including themselves.
When we’re underbalanced, we’re lacking trust and intuition; the ability to be able to trust what’s going on deep down in our body and to understand what our body is telling us. We might struggle to read other people. We might live with a lot of fear.
An overbalanced emotional body is represented by someone who is burnt out. They can go from calm to absolute rage in seconds. They may be irrational, anxious and obsessive. Everything has to be perfect. Do you recognise any of this in you?
If you do, you need to find ways to help release that tension and to let go of those strong feelings of stress, anxiety and anger. Think of yourself like a stream. You will encounter rocky bits, but you’ve just got to flow. You might hit a rock one day, and that’s a big feeling, but the next day you could slide right through.
Active ways to bring your emotional body back into balance are meditation, watching a comedy show, or dancing around your kitchen like it’s your last moment to do it. You should also learn to breathe, breathe, and breathe some more.
The spiritual body
Our final body is the spiritual body, which represents our unity to life, living and our union with the soul. Our spirituality is our connection to the earth, to ourselves, to a God, to the divine, to a universe, or to the destiny beyond that. It has very little to do with a system of religion; it’s more to do with connection.
A balanced spiritual body is calm and fearless. It’s moving towards what it wants to do, its destiny and its desire. It always acknowledges that there’s something else out there, something greater.
If your spiritual body is underbalanced, you might notice that you feel disconnected from others. You may feel as though life is just ‘happening’ to you and that you have no choice in how to change. You might have gut feelings and deep desires that you are simply dismissing.
If you are overbalanced you will likely have your head in the clouds. You may be full of ideas, without turning any of these ideas into reality. There might be a lack of unity between your thoughts, actions and behaviours. Perhaps you act ‘over-worthy’, feeling as though everything will simply come to you.
To restore a sense of balance within the spiritual body, it’s important to try and slow down. Oftentimes, my clients make so much progress in so many areas, but slowing down and ‘being’, without any distraction, can be the biggest challenge for them.
A successful connection with our spiritual body, is in the slowing down, in the being, in having thoughts and letting them pass by without reacting in judgment. It’s about being curious about the thoughts and the feelings that stem from your emotions, and letting your spirit guide you towards the next best action.
So, what can you do to establish this connection? Firstly, try to practice gratitude. Then, learn to get deep down and dirty with your breath, using your breath to feel and bring calm into your four bodies. Practice giving to yourself and to others. Bringing your spiritual body back into balance is all about being connected to the self, and then giving back.
How to restore balance by connecting the four bodies
In my work, I frequently deal with the concept of the four different bodies. Obviously, I will work with the physical body by supporting my clients to make nourishing choices about what to eat; choices that are right for them, not for me. We engage with intuitive and mindful eating. We engage with how to be the creator of your own way of eating.
When working on the physical body, I naturally incorporate the mental and emotional bodies, because in order to create new results, we have got to start looking at the effect and importance of our thoughts. In doing this, I support my clients to create new thought processes, which is far more than establishing smart goals or me writing instructions on a piece of paper. It is deeper and far more transformative. It is also more empowering, because doing this work involves you believing, and this is where the spiritual body comes in to play.
Embracing the spiritual body means believing in the dream that you have in your gut, but that you are suppressing. Once you acknowledge and recognise this dream, I will support you in your goal to achieve it, to keep doing the same boring actions all the time, until you become that person you thought you never could. It may be running a marathon or having a healthy relationship with food. Whatever the dream, you are in a position now where you believe you can’t achieve it. You’re telling yourself, ‘I can’t’ and I’m telling you, ‘You can’. When you work with me you will learn to believe in yourself, to trust in yourself. I help you to allow yourself to become the person you really want to be.