How to Lead an Emotionally Light Life

Four steps to being the best version of yourself.

Rupa Mehta is a Wanderlust presenter. Watch her Speakeasy talk, “Connecting to Your One True Word,” here

It has come as a surprise to me that over many years of teaching fitness, my definition of healthy weight has evolved and now has nothing to do with pounds. In fact, when looking up the definition of weight, you find that it is not about the scale; that’s our society’s interpretation. In fact, a person can be very fit and still be heavy. How? I propose the following reasoning through my definition of emotional weight.

Emotional Weight is “a spirit’s relative mass or the quantity of matter, the weight of words, contained by it, giving rise to a downward or upward force; the heaviness of a person or thing.” 

A healthy person isn’t weighed down by emotions. Instead, he or she emanates a lightness, shining a truthful spirit so clearly and vibrantly that it spreads to the rest of the world. And that being said, it’s worth mentioning that an unhealthy person can look incredibly in-shape! I’m sure you’ve seen it—a slim, trim, go-getter person looking as if they are weighed down by the world and seeming so heavy. They’re in shape, but their energy and demeanor add an extra hundred pounds to their spirits. Emotional weight can be just as detrimental to the body and mind as unhealthy physical weight. Over the last decade, working at Nalini Method, and our non-profit organization, NaliniKIDS, I’ve discovered first hand through adults and kids that there are four themes that everyone can live by to lead an emotionally light life:

1. Your life is your message. You’ve likely heard this before, as Mahatma Gandhi’s lesson—“my life is my message”—has been expanded to seminars, schools, even T-shirts and bumper stickers. But I encourage you to embrace it in your own life. How you live your life is how others experience you. The choices you make, the words you choose, the actions you live by all define who you are. And while it’s constantly evolving, it requires constant awareness. It’s that awareness that keeps you accountable, that gives you the right kick in your butt to be who you want to be. If every person considered their actions, big or small, as a message shared with another person, we would open ourselves to possibility, self-reflection, and meet even more profound expectations and potential.

2. You are your own teacher. It’s true. This message is not meant to deplete the value of a trusted mentor or teacher by any means; it’s meant as a motivational tool that encourages personal development. Any tool we seek to better a certain aspect of our lives or access untapped happiness lives within us already. There’s a saying that goes, “to make others happy, you must be happy.” And you can only give to others what you have, so there’s opportunity here to build a treasure chest of tools, memories, and dreams that can align you with both your own vision of your life and with others. It’s an exercise in self-teaching in that you’re educating yourself on how to be the best you, developing and discovering your personal life lessons. We often forget ourselves: one of the greatest teachers who we can admire.

3. Live your Essence or One Word. If your life is your message, then the way you understand, articulate, and share that message is through words. Words have weight: The heaviest words can weigh us down way more than that double cheeseburger, and the lightest words can lift us up. “I’ll only be happy if I’m thin.” “I need to change in order to make him love me.” Or even, “I’m so smart and gorgeous; I’m unstoppable!” All of these phrases exhibit the weight of words. So imagine the power of just One Word. The heaviest word in the world could ruin your whole week. But consider connecting to the lightest, most meaningful word for your life and carrying it with you on your journey. This One Word can help you spread your message. Own it. Live it. My One Word is “connect.” As it follows, I try to live my life by the idea of building bridges, not walls. You can build a bridge between people, places, things, even ideas. I have a drive to connect myself to other people and concepts and a drive to connect those around me to each other in a positive way. Finding a word that is your true spirit can be very empowering and an easy, accessible tool to motivate your life.

4. Give Back. I have found that one of the healthiest things you can do is to get out of your comfort zone and be of service to others. We’ve established that the tools to be your own teacher live within you, but volunteering is an opportunity to tap into your inner student. The simple act of volunteering is already an opening of yourself to others, and as a result, your heart learns more than it would by simply reading about or donating to a meaningful cause. I often feel stronger in my own life simply by being around the amazing students at NaliniKIDS. Their youthful energy, unfiltered forgiveness of their own emotions, and free-spirited acceptance of changes or corrections is inspiring in many ways. Volunteering and building the community of NaliniKIDS keeps me focused, centered, and always learning.

VOGUE Magazine-celebrated author, wellness guru, owner of fitness studio Nalini Method, and founder of the non-profit organization NaliniKIDS, Rupa Mehta is a pioneer in the fitness industry with a powerful one-of-a kind story, as detailed in her first book, Connect To Your One. Called “pint-sized guru” by Vogue Magazine and the “Rachel Ray of Fitness” by The New York Post, Mehta’s passion is to weave together Eastern and Western philosophies through dynamic, innovative and accessible approaches towards wellness. Widely respected as an industry expert, Mehta has appeared in many national publications such as VOGUE, The New York Times, Marie Claire, New York Magazine and more.