The 7 Circles: Health — Both Physical And Mental
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s bestseller The ONE Thing has helped over two and a half million readers look at their lives and question whether they are living in harmony with their values and priorities. Then, the book guides them into building habits and taking action so that they can create a plan for aligning their choices with their desires — a process that often leads to extraordinary results.
One of the most powerful tools that is offered in this journey is called "The 7 Circles." These circles represent the most important and foundational areas to nurture in our lives so that we can live successfully and happily. We ask readers to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied they feel in each circle. If they rate "Key Relationships" as a 4/10 but "Finances" a 9/10, they then get an opportunity to ask themselves if those numbers represent how important that circle actually is to them. The process usually helps them identify a place where they may want to shift their priorities.
Imagine our surprise when we were doing this exercise at a recent goal setting retreat when an insightful guest asked us a question that left us wondering whether The 7 Circles reflected the true priorities of The ONE Thing:
"Which circle does mental health belong in?"
Author Jay Papasan looked at the circles and, sure enough, it wasn’t clear where mental health fit in. He asked other guests what they thought; some said they considered it part of "Personal Life," others said, "Physical Health." In a pinch, those categories worked, but Jay left the retreat feeling as if this question had given us an opportunity.
Soon, you may find The 7 Circles look a bit different. When we talk about "Health" we will drop the "Physical" so that it is clear mental health is considered in this circle. This change hopes to help erase the myth that our mental health is somehow separate from our physical health or less important. The truth is there is no difference — and the need to address that has never been higher.
Mental Health Is Health
The global Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. It changed how and where we work, how we spend time with our families and care for our communities; it sucked savings accounts dry and forced many to say premature goodbyes to loved ones; and it most certainly changed the way we look at health.
For the past two years, mental health has been talked about, studied, and addressed more than ever before. Although the pandemic has been a public health crisis in that it has threatened our physical health on a massive scale, it has also illuminated how we cannot disregard our mental health. Rates of depression and anxiety grew globally during the pandemic. In fact, reports found that the amount of people struggling with these issues rose by more than 25% in 2020, specifically targeting women and youth.
The pandemic zoomed in on and picked apart the idea of mindfulness and mental wellbeing in a way that has never happened before in the United States. But because of the large and consistent increase in need for mental health treatment, caregivers have been stretched beyond thin. In November of 2020, psychologists reported that compared to pre-pandemic numbers, they were seeing 74% more people for anxiety and 60% more for depression. Compared with before the pandemic, 29% of psychologists were seeing more patients overall. However, this statistic doesn’t include people who were turned away or sought other resources due to therapists being overbooked. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine back in 2018 reported an unequal distribution of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurse practitioners across the United States, and a greater disparity among non-metropolitan areas.
This heightened need for therapy access brought about broader resources that haven’t always been readily available or affordable to most people. The growing general awareness of mental health also helped to lessen the stigma that is so widely centered on mental illness.
The climate we are in does not allow us to actively ignore our mental state anymore. But it’s important to realize that although the past two years have shown us how necessary considering our mental health is, keeping our mindset right and managing our energy has always been a part of succeeding in life and business.
Whether you’re reading The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and reviewing The MREA Energy Plan or challenging MythUnderstandings that are limiting your thinking and achievements, we’ve always stressed the importance of taking care of your mental health — the language and models have just evolved over time.
Focusing Questions: What’s One Thing I Can Do to Improve My Mental Health?
The ONE Thing strives to move us into a growth mindset, so that we can commit to bettering ourselves and building healthy habits, no matter how small.
One of the biggest tools to help on this journey is the Focusing Question ("What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing It everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"). By applying this question to The 7 Circles of our lives, we can improve each one.
When we do this, we’ll form new Focusing Questions. These questions will help you take actions in areas of your life where you feel you need improvement. If we’re focusing on the "Health" circle, here are some questions you can ask to focus on and improve your mental health:
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to help calm my mind during stressful times?
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to leverage help for bettering my mental health?
What’s the ONE Thing I can do to allow me to practice meditation regularly?
From Questions to Healthy Habits
Once you’ve asked these questions, you can identify solutions and resources that will help you hit these goals and prioritize your mental health. First, understand and believe that these questions will make a difference. Use these questions every day. If you ask "What’s the ONE Thing I can do to help calm my mind during stressful times?" and have found that the answer is to take a walk in the evenings to give yourself a break after work, focus on making that action a habit. Find the small dominos that keep you on track, whether it’s setting reminders on your phone, placing sticky notes around the house, or asking loved ones to keep you accountable. The people that matter most will want you to live your best life and take care of your mental health. Get them involved in helping you stick to your goals. Once you tackle these first steps, you will become confident enough to tackle another. And another.
Because you want your life to matter, make these questions and answers part of your routine. Commit to the process. As Gary and Jay say in The ONE Thing, "make it strong enough to achieve extraordinary results."
We hope you’ll find that thinking of mental and physical health as one category — Health — will give you a new understanding of how crucial this aspect of our lives is. By prioritizing the full spectrum of your health, particularly during these difficult times, you’ll be able to build the habits that will see you through challenges and set you up for even greater success. Follow us on social media so that we can help you on the journey.