INTRODUCTIONMost of us know how important it is to exercise ourbodies, but how often do we exercise our souls? It is easy to get lost in our daily routines and losetouch with the things that are meaningful to us. Webecome human doings instead of what we are supposedto be — human beings. If this continues, eventually ourtrue self will begin to die. By exercising our souls, how-ever, we enhance our ability to live and love with enthu-siasm and vigor, and increase our ability to overcomeany difﬁculties or obstacles we encounter along the way. Every performer and athlete knows that if you wantto get to Carnegie Hall or the Olympics you must prac-tice, practice, practice. If you don’t work out regularly,you will never achieve what you are capable of. Thisis true of the soul as well. And one thing that can helpyou achieve a gold medal in soul growth is to have acompetent coach. It’s hard to practice alone. For overthirty years I’ve counseled people with life-threatening p 1
2 p 101 Exercises for the Soulillnesses, and my patients have been my most importantteachers and coaches. In this book, let me be your coach.At least, give me a try. I will do my best to encourageyou to reach your goals and to help guide you in yoursoul’s journey. I have written this book in a simple format so thatyou can sit down anywhere, anytime and ﬁnd the meansto add value to your life. Each chapter focuses on a par-ticular area for soul growth, from improving your atti-tude to ﬁnding inner motivation. Chapters begin with acoaching tip, which introduces the underlying conceptsand purpose of the ﬁve exercises that follow (exercise101 is a “ﬁnal exam”). The exercises are where yourworkout really begins. You may ﬁnd some of the exercises more challeng-ing than others. Feel free to begin anywhere in the book.Consider starting with a chapter that applies to your liferight now, one that seems to offer immediate assistance.Begin with the ﬁrst exercise you are drawn to. No warm-up is needed; you can dive right in. However, since Ican’t personally be there to remind you to practice everyday, try to keep the book in a place where you will see itoften and remember to respond to the needs of your soul. Before you know it you will begin to notice howyour life has taken on more meaning and how muchbetter you feel. The change may be small at ﬁrst, but aswe improve ourselves, we make an increasing differencein both our individual lives and the world. The greaterour desire and intention, and the more we practice, thegreater the results. We can make a positive difference inthe world by what we choose to do.
Introduction p 3 Our body and soul are intended to work together.To accomplish this we must respect our bodies and keepthem ﬁt, and we must also understand, respect, and carefor that which lies within us. Before you begin, take amoment to look at your soul. What kind of shape is itin? Has it been allowed to express itself — to be exer-cised properly? Is it underdeveloped in certain placesand more developed in others? Imagine that your soul isa muscle that will become stronger, leaner, and moreﬂexible the more you work it. To create a healthy soul,we must ﬁrst let it speak to us and stop editing it withour fears and our concerns about what others think. Weneed to trust the divine direction our soul is leading usin and allow it to enhance our life. Now it is time for you to embark upon your soulfuljourney. The Force is with you. Believe me. Your Coach, Dr. Bernie S. Siegel
1CHAPTER ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING Don’t sweat the small or the large stuff (and save on the cost of deodorant) Others can stop you temporarily, you are the only one who can do it permanently. — ZIG ZIGLAR Coaching Tip OneMaintaining a positive attitude, no matter what your cir-cumstances, increases the likelihood of your ﬁnding fu-ture happiness and fulﬁllment. Why is this true? Well, ifyour attitude is negative and your mind is ﬁlled withworry and fear, it takes its toll on your body, mind, andspirit. In fact, by spending all your time creating a visionof an unhappy future, you help create that future. Re-member, your thoughts guide your decisions, and ne-gative thoughts lead to negative decisions. Nothing issolved by visualizing the worst outcome, but much canbe accomplished when you desire and intend to achieve p 5
6 p 101 Exercises for the Soulthe best possible result. Optimists may not be moreaccurate about life — whether interpreting the past orpredicting the future — but they live longer than pes-simists. Over God’s desk there is a plaque that reads, “If you goaround saying I’ve got a miserable life, I’ll show you whatmiserable really is. And if you go around saying I’ve gota wonderful life, I’ll show you what wonderful reallyis.” A positive attitude can open many doors for you andhelp create the life you desire. A negative attitude affects you ﬁrst by ruining yourmoment-to-moment happiness. This truth was broughthome to me many years ago. One of our children, thenaged seven, had an X-ray that revealed a bone tumor.The odds were that it was a malignant tumor and thathe would not see another year of life. I was very de-pressed by what I thought was going to happen, and myattitude showed it. I also tried to get my wife and hisfour siblings to understand and develop the properdepressing attitude. After all, how can you laugh andplay when someone you love is going to die? One dayour son walked into the room where I was sitting andsaid, “Dad, can I talk to you?” I said, “Sure, what is it?” He said, “Dad, you’re handling this poorly.” With his talk, my son reminded me of what everychild and animal knows instinctively: Today is the onlyday that exists. And as for my son, I was wrong aboutwhat was going to happen; he survived and is verymuch alive and happy today. The future is unknown,and we should never let our fears, worries, and negative
Attitude Is Everything p 7attitudes prevent us from enjoying the day and ﬁndingfulﬁllment, no matter what tomorrow seems to hold. When disappointments and setbacks occur, learn toview them as events that will redirect you to somethinggood. My mother taught me this, and it creates a posi-tive shift in your attitude and your view of the future.Cultivating a hopeful approach to life is an importantpart of your soul workout. The following exercises,when practiced on a regular basis, will strengthen youroutlook and help you to create the life you desire.
8 p 101 Exercises for the Soul Exercise 1 GRATITUDE LIST Something to RememberWhy are you living this life? Do you ever stop to thinkabout it? Or are you too busy complaining and whin-ing? Gratitude is one of the best ways to improve yourattitude and feel better. You can’t be troubled and grate-ful at the same time. This exercise can be repeated oftenand will always obtain the same results. Get a pen and paper and sit down in a quiet placewhere you won’t be interrupted. Start by making a listof at least twenty things you are grateful for in your life.You might start with basic necessities like having a roofover your head, a chair to sit on, food to eat, a warm bedat night, and so on. Then continue with the more mean-ingful and personal areas of your life, such as your friends,family, work, pets, and health. When you ﬁnish, display the list where you will seeit often, especially when troubling thoughts start surfac-ing. Keep adding to your list over the next several weeks,and take the time every day to read it to remind yourselfof all the things in your life you are grateful for.
Attitude Is Everything p 9 Exercise 2 AFFIRMATIONS What You Say to Yourself CountsYour intentions and desires shape your future. Whenyou create afﬁrmations about what you desire, and stopvisualizing what you fear, your goals are far more likelyto manifest themselves. This is because you are prepar-ing yourself and your life for the results you desire. Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line downthe middle of the paper. Then take a few minutes tothink about all of the major aspects of your life, such asyour body, your job, your mate, and so on. Note anynegative thoughts, even if they are just momentary, andwrite them down in the left column. When you’ve ﬁn-ished your review, read through the negative thoughtsyou’ve collected. Now take these thoughts and turnthem into positive statements in the right column. Forinstance:I am very tired today I feel alive and energized todayI wish I didn’t have to I look forward to a work today productive day at workI hate the way my body I am grateful for my body looksI wish I were a better Every day I’m the best parent parent I can be