Exercise is a way of achieving fitness across the board in each of the arenas of body, mind and spirit. By maintaining a moderate amount of exercise in your daily life (at least 30 minutes, three to six times a week), you can significantly improve your overall well-being. The merits range from helping to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of chronic or major health conditions (like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity) to improving your confidence and self-esteem. After a rigorous session of weight training or a fairly strenuous hike or walk, you can feel the circulation of energy throughout your entire system. Instead of feeling exhausted afterward, you actually feel energized and more alert.
Self-work means just that: working on ourselves. It means that we (1) look at where we are, (2) set some goals for where we'd like to be, and then (3) chart the course on how to get there.
Spiritual practice brings us back to our identification with something larger. It increases our capacity to love and be kind, both to ourselves and others. At its best, it is both inner directed (learning to love myself) and outer directed (learning to love others). Through spiritual practice—be it regular attendance at a church or a self-styled course of intensive reading in a given tradition or philosophy—you learn that the more you can transcend the narrow focus of "me and mine," the wider your circle of consideration can become. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk and philosopher, says, "Without a spiritual dimension, we will not have the capacity to confront suffering, to transform suffering and to offer anything to life. A person without a spiritual path is a person walking in darkness. With a path, we are no longer afraid or worried."
It's all too easy to get caught up in life's little dramas and forget about the big picture, but when you reach out and help someone, you feel your sense of purpose and mission kick in. When you give, you strengthen a mind-set of abundance rather than one of lack of abundance. Service makes you feel good. It helps you transcend the small self in favor of the higher Self.
Before you panic, I am not suggesting that you focus on all eight all the time! I'm just suggesting that you use these practices whenever you feel stuck or particularly challenged; I promise they will lead you to your path of health and happiness. And as you grow and evolve, I know you'll take the whole world right along with you to a better place!