101 Exercises for the Soul

101 Exercises for the Soul

It’s amazing how the most simple things can change your life forever. We always think that if we have more money, the house of our dreams, retirement, or whatever else seems out of reach at the moment, we will finally, truly be happy—but this is simply an illusion.

It really is the little things in life that make us happy and feed our souls, as Dr. Bernie S. Siegel points out in his small but smart spiritual guide, 101 Exercises for the Soul. It’s filled with easy exercises for mind, body and soul expansion that basically anyone can do. Soul exercisers can choose which chapter to begin with, on which area they’d like to focus on, and spend as much time on that area—a day? a week?—as they like.

The course-like text contains twenty chapters, all based on different aspects of living—from attitude to team spirit to animal friends to balance. Each chapter begins with a coaching tip and explanation of the area of growth, and is followed by five simple yet meaningful exercises to perform. The last exercise, 101, is a “final exam.”

While completing each exercise, I’ve realized that some are much more difficult than others. For example, in chapter one there is a gratitude list to be made, as well as the task of saying affirmations. Having experience with both of these, I found them to be easy; people without experience may have more difficulty with them.

In later chapters, exercises such as getting a massage and practicing saying no were much more difficult for me—the former because I don’t like to be touched by strangers, and the latter because… well, a lot of us, particularly women, have trouble saying no when we’re used to trying to either help everyone we know or control every situation we can! Others may find these tasks easy to complete.

I recommend keeping a journal while you complete these exercises—or, simply add them to the journal you already keep like I have done. You can record what you did, how you felt before and after the activity, and maybe even whether or not you’d like to do it again. Some activities, like keeping a smile journal, are ongoing to begin with and you may wish to designate a few special pages just for those.

101 Exercises for the Soul is a great book for just about anyone, from college graduates to retired friends.  You can move through it methodically week after week as I have done, or pull it out whenever you feel like your soul needs a little bit of nourishment and select what you’d like to do. Like the rest of the title proclaims, it truly is “a divine workout plan for body, mind and spirit.”