Your Boxes Are Connected

We often think about our lives as split up into parts, but in reality, I believe we are much more connected. I was talking with a colleague the other day, and he described a model that I thought was helpful.

He described our lives as having 4 boxes:

  1. Physical. The physical part of our lives has to do with our bodies. Things like our physical health, illness, chronic health conditions, exercise, diet, and sleep fall into this box.
  1. Emotional. The emotional part of our lives has to do with our mental health. How we deal with our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as well as any mental health problems we are currently dealing with fall into this box.
  1. Relational. The relational part of our lives has to do with our relationships with others who are close to us. Our relationships with our spouse, family, friends, and co-workers fall into this box.
  2. Spiritual. The spiritual part of our lives has to do with our relationship with God. Our daily interactions with God, as well as our engagement in a community of faith such as a church or The Crucible Project fall into this box.

If we have a problem in one box, we often look for a solution within that same box, not realizing that our boxes are connected.

For example, I had a friend who was struggling in her spiritual life, feeling as if God had abandoned her. She thought of this as a spiritual problem, but her other boxes influenced this issue. For example, she didn’t have a close relationship with her father, whom she felt abandoned her and her family when she was younger. A problem in the spiritual part of her life was related to a problem in the relational part of her life. Her boxes were connected.

I remember struggling to get to sleep one night. I thought about this as a physical problem, and tried to think about whether I had too much coffee that day. However, I didn’t realize at the time that I was feeling anxious about a few big things that were happening in my life. A problem in the physical part of my life was related to a problem in the emotional part of my life. My boxes were connected.

When you are struggling with a problem in your life, don’t forget that your boxes are connected. Think about yourself in a holistic way. Be open to the idea that a problem in one box might be related to a problem in a different box.

By Joshua Hook

Joshua completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2010. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas. Through his writing and speaking, he helps men step forward into healing and growth. Follow Joshua’s blog and download his free e-book ‘A Journey of Healing and Growth’ at

Photo Credit: Checco Romeo via Pixabay