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The key to happiness starts with your body's signals. Simply ask yourself right now, "How do you feel?" What you do with the answers you receive may make all the difference when it comes to living a balanced and joy-filled life.
If I could pick one ally in the pursuit of happiness, I would pick the body, and that means everyone's body, not just the beautiful, young, fit ones. I know how millions of people feel about their bodies. America is getting to be an obese nation, reaching down into childhood. A bad body image is the chief source of shame and disappointment for many women in particular.

Yet at this moment your first and most reliable guide to happiness is your body. The body is designed to support the mind, and this mutual support creates the state known as happiness. When choosing a certain behavior, ask your body, "How do you feel about this?" If your body sends a signal of physical or emotional distress, watch out. If your body sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, proceed.

Together, mind and body form a whole. It is artificial to separate the two. You cannot have a single thought, sensation or feeling without the body. This includes the most inspired spiritual thoughts, feelings and sensations. All experience has a physical component.

Let's say that your body doesn't feel like your guide and friend. Why not? It's not because you have gained weight, fallen out of shape or grow older every day. It's lack of awareness. Awareness has tremendous power. It tunes into every cell. Awareness is the invisible, silent agent that lets your body know what your mind is thinking, and at the same time it sends feedback from the body so that the mind feels supported and understood.

Here are the signals, both yes and no, that your body is sending to you:

Yes to balance, no to imbalance.

Yes to moderation, no to excess.

Yes to regular rhythms in activity, no to erratic schedules.

Yes to deep rest at regular intervals, no to lack of sleep.

Yes to being in your comfort zone, no to constant stress.

These aren't esoteric messages. Every cell follows each signal perfectly; it has to in order to survive. So when you stop paying attention to these signals, you are working against the flow of nature, which is the flow of life.

When mind, body and spirit are in harmony, happiness is a natural state. The signs of disharmony, on the other hand, are not esoteric either: discomfort, pain, depression, anxiety and illness in general. Unhappiness is a form of feedback. It signals that disharmony has entered somewhere—either in mind, body or spirit. Awareness has become disconnected. Only when we look at the situation in this holistic way can we link health, wholeness and holiness, for all three share the same root word and all three share the same state of harmony or disharmony.

Learn how psychological issues manifest themselves in your body

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