Tend the Inner Flames

How exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep relieve stress and fuel our inner passion and strength.

by Cheryl Wright • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

Hectic lives and mounting responsibilities wear down our bodies, exhaust our minds, tax our emotions, and strain our spirits. Most days we barely muster the will to be happy, loving, contented, and compassionate. Starved of oxygen — time, energy, and enthusiasm to fluff our relationships, fuss over our physical needs and fill our mental, emotional and spiritual wells — our inner flames dim and we function under the cover of darkness.  

To ensure we have light for our journey and to enable us to help others along, consider these suggestions:   

Tend the spiritual flame; reconnect with and strengthen deep and abiding spiritual beliefs and regular and delightful spiritual practices. When aglow, our spiritual flame sheds a far-reaching and all-encompassing light on our lives. It illuminates the things that matter and makes life purposeful and fulfilling, regardless of the external circumstances. Plus, it cast a welcoming and encouraging glow for people we meet on our daily paths.  

Tend the mental flame; update old and acquire new knowledge. We have choices – print, audio and digital books in bookstores, libraries and on the Internet. We can tune in online (forums, classes, workshops, blogs and social networking sites). We also have our in-person connections to tap for valuable input. When we combine them, we acquire the best each has to offer as they stimulate our intellect and inspire us to learn, grow and stretch our imaginations.

Tend the physical flame; get back to the bare bones of a healthy life. The stress generated by our busy personal and family lives coupled with demanding and competitive work environments take a serious toll on our bodies — from minor aches and pains to major life-disrupting diseases. A healthy lifestyle is relegated to the backburner when we’re in the throes of other priorities — achieving personal and family goals, meeting set professional targets, and pursuing further education. It’s a reality that often diminishes the physical flame. We need to return to and maintain an exercise routine that is realistic and manageable. Additionally, we should include healthy meals and large doses of rest (adequate night sleep and periodic relaxing moments) to each day. As our body heals and strengthens, our physical flame is revived. Its glow radiates outward and manifests itself in how we live, work and relate to people around us.

Tend the emotional flame; revisit accomplishments, deal with present issues and savor daily pleasures. When our emotional flame is weak, we have difficulty living and treating with negative circumstances. Our confidence level sits low and instead of being assertive and pro-active in our daily lives, we hedge and haw, do nothing or react too late. To help restore our emotional flame to its former brilliance, we should review the experiences of the past for their take-away values and analyze our present circumstances for the joy and challenges they bring.

A bright emotional flame empowers and motivates us to stand up, sort through, solve and survive life’s challenges. It also enables us to accept and appreciate the positive events and relationships we encounter.

With our inner flames ablaze, we can accomplish much more than when they are weak and dim. We approach our day’s responsibilities with focus, determination and confidence. We don’t languish in despair over problems. Instead, we get to the meat of issues and rally all the resources at our disposal to understand, manage and maximize them. We take life’s hits in stride. We adjust ourselves to accommodate inevitable and unexpected changes and we tunnel through storms to a calm, stable and comfortable place.

Have you been functioning in the dark? When last did you tend your inner flames?   

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