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Healthy Habits for Young Academicians: The three W's— Wisdom, Wellness and Wonder

In terms of Wisdom -- align and surround yourself with the most successful people and make sure that you have a mentor, someone who are interested in you and your career progression. Consult with them often, honestly, and openly, and appreciate their time and guidance. Make sure you follow a path filled with integrity and a strong moral compass- that will lead to ethical decisions. All of the wisdom texts (Bible, Gita, profound literary work of saints and enlightened beings) can help to inform, shape and focus your moral trajectory (see my recommended book list).

In terms of Wellness -- take care of your physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

§ Physical health: Commit to an exercise program that works for you -- daily; and become knowledgeable on and consume nutritious food. Be aware of any addictions (overeating, over sleeping, over studying, over playing, etc.) that may be robbing you from your optimal health.

§ Social health: Ensure that you have a network of people that you can hang out with, have fun with, and just be your authentic self. Attract likeminded people by understanding your values—people who you would like to invite to contribute to your life and to whose life you can contribute in meaningful and uplifting ways.

§ Emotional health: Be aware of your emotions but also know that you are more than your emotions and thoughts. Emotions are metrics to indicate the alignment between your values and your needs. The greater the gap in this alignment the more negative emotions you will experience. The more consistent the alignment the more positive emotions you will experience. So, listen to your emotions, and feel them -- remember feeling is healing. It is the emotions that we resist that will persist. So be very mindful of your emotional state and allow yourself to identify and feel the emotions, to work through them, and to watch your alignment then shift towards a sense of understanding, compassion, joy, and love.

§ Mental health: Mental health is dependent on mental hygiene. Make choices, take decisions, and execute actions that are congruent with upliftment, growth, nurturance, fun, and a sober lifestyle and as a result-- proactive outcomes. Be involved in service. Service to and for others will speak to your essence and give you an opportunity to use your talents, your gifts, and your strengths to the upliftment of others. Maintain a model of service -- as it will also help you to keep your work life balance appropriate—which can very easily deteriorate as a result of a demanding academic schedule.

§ Spiritual health: Spiritual health is a prerequisite for experiencing meaning, purpose, satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. As such stay true to yourself, connected with others in the animate and inanimate world, as well as connected to your source of divine inspiration.

Finally, in terms of Wonder: Ensure that you are engaged in activities that occupy and involve the right brain. In academia, we get so stuck in the left frontal lobe. Our days are consumed with inductive and deductive thinking, analysis, synthesis, integration, learning, assessing, appraising--and all of the myriad of activities related to our cognitive functions. All these functions are excellent to promote our intellectual functioning. However, we also need to develop and use our right brain functions which include imagination, dreaming, innovation, creativity, exploration, discernment, contemplation, prayer, introspection, reflection, meditation, and adventurism to name a few. It is through utilizing these functions that we bring a sense of wholeness, awe, and wonder to our human existence. I will end with a paraphrased quote from Bashar, suggesting that we need to follow our passion, to the best of our ability, with the highest level of integrity, and to let go the expectations.

Blessings to all who hear, feel, and apply the above nuggets of wisdom revealed to me and as shared with you.

- Sherrilene Classen, PhD

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