Total Health: Author Faust Ruggiero On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
20 min readJul 5, 2022


I smile, laugh, and express feeling of warmth and gratitude as much as I can. We make a mistake by thinking that we need to smile, laugh, and express gratitude in response to something good that happens to us. The real wisdom is to learn how to use these gifts to create good feelings. Too often, we feel something good has to happen before we express positive emotion. We really need to become better at creating that power, and something as simple as a smile, and an expression of good feeling, can create a much more powerful and positive way to live.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Faust Ruggiero.

The Fix Yourself Handbook presents the Process Way of Life, a step-by-step program that can transform your life into one that is happy, healthy, purposeful, and content. Who we are is the product of the interplay between our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual attributes.

The Process Way of Life’s fifty-two internal processes will help you create a state of internal balance as these four attributes operate together, providing you with a pure loving energy source that will change your life. Learning to understand and love yourself, and to apply your love to others, is the enduring final gift of the Process Way of Life.

The Process Way of Life is the product of more than twenty years of Faust Ruggiero’s research and practical counseling application. It is your guide on an exciting and enlightening life journey that will touch every part of you. The Process Way of Life creates one of life’s most exciting and wondrous life journeys, and yours is about to begin.

Author Faust Ruggiero is a therapist with a professional career that spans over forty years. He has counseled in inpatient facilities, prisons, substance abuse counseling centers, and nursing homes, and has provided employee assistance programs to major corporations. He continues to provide counseling services for veterans, first responders, law enforcement, and other emergency personnel.

Mr. Ruggiero has been in private practice at the Community Psychological Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania, for over thirty years, specializing in individual, family, substance abuse, women’s issues, and marriage/couples counseling. During that time, he developed the Process Way of Life and has used it with more than 2,000 clients, helping them realize and unleash the power they have inside themselves. He has been featured on television and radio and in newspaper columns. Mr. Ruggiero continues to counsel and conduct workshops and trainings on the Process Way of Life.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I am the second of four children born to Italian American parents. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and was educated in private school up till 8th grade. I finished my high school years in public high school, completed my bachelors at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, and my graduate program at Illinois State University. The best way to describe my back story is that I was the kid everyone talked about their problems too. This started when I was an early teenager. It paved the way for the counseling way of life I would live as an adult.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I find people very interesting, all of them. I love to hear their stories, spend time with them, and find it thoroughly fulfilling to help them create the type of life they’ve always wanted to live. There is nothing more satisfying than connecting to another human being, and teaching them how to connect with the power they have inside them, but power they never realized was there. For many of us, it just takes one person to move us in a different direction in our lives. For me, that person was a high school journalism teacher by the name of Anthony Caesar. High school at the time for me when the world was changing, the Vietnam War still raging, and college protests had become commonplace. Mr. Cesar saw me wrapped up in all of this, but with no real direction, no way to understand all of it. He decided that I was going to be his news editor for the school paper, and was really instrumental in showing me how to use my voice. These are the people you never forget.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

That would have to be my mother. When my father had a debilitating stroke, she took over, and raised four children without ever complaining. I was nine at the time, and watched her unselfishly be in service of her children, and never, ever lose her faith. I think that her unselfish nature, and always being in service of her children, set the stage for everything I would be doing as my life unfolded.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I love the question because it brings up a time in my life where I made a decision that most people who knew me had serious questions about. Always being a gifted writer, I sent some sample pages to The Program Development Department at NBC. A few weeks later, I received a letter suggesting the possibility of an interview. This was way back in 1984. I was working at an alcohol counseling center, and was asked to take on a small caseload at a prison nearby. I was doing this for about six months when the offer from NBC came in. At the same time, an offer to accept a full-time position as a treatment specialist at the prison was extended. After a week or so deliberation, I elected to accept the position at the prison. I’m not sure what would have happened as far as NBC was concerned, and, yes, I did question my sanity just a bit, but the five years I spent counseling at the prison turned out to be a pivotal period in my life. It still influences much of the way I think and feel today, and I learned more about humanity in those five years, that at any other time period in my life. Being in service of others can have distinct advantages if you’re willing to give it a chance.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

It’s not so much a book as it is an author. In high school, a friend presented me with a copy of a book titled Demian, by Hermann Hesse. As I read the book, it was really touching me on all levels. Intellectually I quickly connected with Hesse’s writing style, but spiritually, this was the first writer who could touch my soul. I’ve read everything he has written, and periodically will re-read his writings. As far as those books that Herman has written, I have a particular fondness for Narcissus and Goldmund, and The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi).

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“No one can fix your world for you. Everything you need to be happy and fulfilled is already inside you. You simply need to understand how to use it. Then you can find peace, and begin to love yourself.”

It’s important for all of us to understand that everything we need to be happy and productive is already inside us. Too much of our lives have changed, and these changes distract us from the internal power which is at our disposal. We have a tendency to rely on sources outside of ourselves as we search for our identity, and our happiness. the only way to truly become happy is to learn to learn how to identify, define, and use the strength we already have, but as a result of our desire to look outside of ourselves, has lied dormant. The only true power comes from within. This is a quote about faith, confidence, and learning how to love yourself.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am the author of The Fix Yourself Empowerment Series. The first two books are finished, and there are five more books to follow. The first book is The Fix Yourself Handbook. In it I discuss how to become balanced physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I just finished the second book which is entitled The Fix Your Anxiety Handbook. This is a practical way for people to understand everything about anxiety, and learn how to remove this horrifying condition from their lives. I expect to have it published by the end of summer, 2022. The third book, The Fix Your Discrimination Handbook is nearing the end of its research phase, and I expect to begin writing that installment by the end of the year. In it, I’m going to include what I believe is the plan we can finally use to move past this intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual nemesis. It will be an involved plan, that will require much cooperation, funding, and commitment, but I firmly believe that there has to be a viable, functional, and actionable plan to bring us together as one people.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I discussed these habits in detail in my first book, The Fix Yourself Handbook. The goal of my program is internal balance. This happens when our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual attributes operate in balance, and then, are able to support each other, and our overall health. The habits you’re, looking for, which I call processes are: slowing down the pace of your life, using your intellect before you start reacting emotionally, and being brutally honest with yourself. These are the cornerstones of the program, and everything else builds upon our ability to work with these processes.

I can use my own life to illustrate these processes. I’m a person who is always involved in something. I love to create, to be in service of people, and to use my abilities to help people become happier and more productive in their lives. When I become involved in a project, I can find myself totally immersed in it, and life begins to move quickly. As you can expect, this will affect other areas of my life, like relationships, and overall physical health. When I learned many years ago to moderate the pace of my life, I was able to complete all of my projects, and the end result was also much more satisfying.

As far as using my intellect over my emotion, all of us can react quickly when something either excites us, or causes us to feel uncomfortable, threatened, or angry. I can remember doing this in my life, and having to address the collateral damage which resulted. I learned that it’s important to express my emotions, but to do so in healthy fashion. For this to occur, it requires that slower pace in life, and the ability to put my intellect before my emotions. That means I want to gather all the facts necessary to understand what is happening, and then emote based on facts, and giving myself a moment to pause, and decide what my best course of action would be.

Honesty is one of those characteristics we all think we have, but few of us really use. To be honest, as I am talking about it, means to be brutally honest. This means that regardless of how the facts make us feel, we must be willing to work with them, move through the uncomfortable feelings they may cause, and live our lives based upon what is actually occurring there. We have a tendency to decide how we want things to go, and then arrange our “facts” in support of an emotionally based need or desire that is fueled by our emotions. It’s much better to obtain the conclusion based on the facts, and that requires honesty, and accountability.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I have been meditating since my college days. I incorporate it with my breathing exercises, and a program called systematic desensitization. This is simply a way to desensitize your body from anxious and negative energy. Doing this makes it easier for one to ease themselves into the meditative state. Many people have trouble with meditation because they can’t stay in one place for an extended period of time, and shut off their mind, which is one of the goals of meditation. Desensitizing programs help people relax enough so that they can more successfully ease themselves into meditation programs. You can find systematic desensitization programs online. Like any other form of physical and intellectual deceleration, it takes time, but incorporating a healthy breathing program with a program that reduces anxious energy, can help you work more efficiently with any program, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or any other self-soothing or energizing procedure.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I believe that those habits are related to healthy eating, getting enough REM sleep, and bringing positive energy into your life.

When it comes to healthy eating, I always tell people to stay away from diets and anything designed to yield results quickly. Unless you are in physical danger, there is no reason to have to resort to any quick fix diet. I have a friend who asked me to help her with healthy eating plan. When she realized that it would take time, and that her current way of eating would need to be altered, she resorted to a plan that would help her lose weight within about three months. Of course, when she reached her goal, she stopped the plan, and the weight came right back on. Again, I urge people to learn how to eat healthy, and if this is difficult for them, it might make sense to contact a nutritionist for help.

In my new book, The Fix Your Anxiety Handbook, I present an example of someone who was promoted at work, which required him to work more hours, and subsequently to sleep less. Instead of adjusting his sleep schedule to accommodate the changes at work, he slept less, and introduced some stimulants into his life. Obviously, this didn’t work for long, and he found himself anxious and overwhelmed. Nothing replaces REM sleep, since it is necessary to reenergize the cells in our bodies. The moral of the story is sleep well, and don’t use anything artificial to replace it.

Positive energy is the most potent way to introduce and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good sleep and nutrition are essential on a physical level, on the intellectual level I talk in great deal in my books about positive inner vocalizations. The way we speak to ourselves sets the stage for the way we feel about ourselves and it also affects our physical health. Words of anger, mistrust, envy, and all those negative energy enhancers can really have a powerful negative impact on the way we live. When I’m working with people, I always examine the way they speak to themselves. Those who are kinder and speak in more positive terms to themselves, have a tendency to move that language to the outside world. People who hear kind words, tend to reciprocate, and this circle of positive energy between the speakers and the listeners evolves, creating more positive life situations. Speak kindly to yourself, and stay away from all the negatives, especially those you find on social media, with negative peer associations, and negative and shock journalism. Your body will feel the benefits.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

In a continuation of what I expressed earlier, the keys are always to stay away from fast foods, foods that are loaded with chemicals, dyes, those that are genetically modified, high fat, and lots of carbs. Simple Whole foods are the best approach, portion size is important, and eating at the appropriate times all help. Personally, I’ve been a vegan for over 40 years, and for me, it has led to a very healthy and satisfying life.

As far as the reasons why we don’t practice what we know is correct, we’ve become a society that often feels entitled to do what we want to do, when we want to, and in the way we want to. We go fast, don’t think about what we need to do, and rarely, if ever, have a plan to make something happen. Even when we formulate what looks like a plan, we have a tendency to self-sabotage to continue to feel comfortable. Comfort zones, and the way we establish and defend them are those blockages you were talking about. We don’t like stepping out of our comfort zone, but that’s when growth occurs. We however must be willing to be uncomfortable for a short period of time to create a new and more healthy comfort zone. Our minds are very adaptable, and they will create new, and more powerful comfort zones, if we’re willing to give them enough time to develop.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Emotional health has much to do with lifestyle. We live in a world that goes fast, so my first good habit is helping people to learn to reduce the pace of their life. This doesn’t mean you have to go slow all the time. It just means that the pace of your life should be comfortable, and not cause you to experience stress, and overreact in situations that could be handled differently.

In my private practice I often see people, particularly in relationships, who overreact in incidental situations, those that would be handled differently if the pace of their life allowed them to take a step back, and think before they reacted. I see this in marriages, social relationship, work relationships, and very often on social media.

The second important point about emotional health is to learn how to think before you react. In our society, people tend to see something or hear something, and then, quickly react. We have gotten to the point that we firmly believe we have to show a reaction to something before we give ourselves enough time to think about the best way to handle the situation. This amounts to hitting the proverbial pause button long enough to take a step back, catch your breath, and then think about how you want to handle something.

The last step, and maybe the most important step, is learning how to become conscious about what you’re doing. People often talk about this as being mindful. Much about the way we live our lives has become an autopilot way of doing things. By that I mean we tend to remove our conscious thought from the circumstances in our lives, and react as we always do, without allowing our brains enough time to interact with our environments. A simple way to deal with this is to try to infuse everything you do in your day with conscious thought. Think about everything that’s happening around you, what you’re thinking and feeling about it, and what you want to do about it. This takes life off autopilot, and helps keep you away from the collateral damage, and those paybacks that come with not thinking and planning to do something efficiently.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I smile, laugh, and express feeling of warmth and gratitude as much as I can. We make a mistake by thinking that we need to smile, laugh, and express gratitude in response to something good that happens to us. The real wisdom is to learn how to use these gifts to create good feelings. Too often, we feel something good has to happen before we express positive emotion. We really need to become better at creating that power, and something as simple as a smile, and an expression of good feeling, can create a much more powerful and positive way to live.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Three best ways to discover your spiritual wellness is through gratitude, humility, and faith.

In my first book, The Fix Yourself Handbook, I delve into these processes in detail. With regard to gratitude, I discuss a process called proactive global gratitude. It’s proactive because it starts from the inside, and doesn’t need anything good to happen for it to be there. We are simply grateful for the life we have, in all the little gifts that occur there. It doesn’t need anything special to happen, and we don’t need to receive anything to feel it. When gratitude starts from inside us, and needs nothing from the outside, it touches our soul, that internal part of us that goes deep, and wraps itself around everything that we do.

As far as humility is concerned, I discuss it in the book as the pathway to wisdom. Wisdom, though people see it as part of the intellect, is driven by the spiritual part of us, but it needs humility to keep it honest, and always learning. I think the title of that chapter, Wisdom, and the Arrogance/ Humility Paradigm introduce what I’m talking about. The quote I use in that chapter is “knowledge can create power for you, but knowledge with a touch of humility creates the greater wisdom and the greater life.” Again, our spirit receives so much of what it needs from humility. It’s my version of soul food.

In the book, I discuss faith as a ghost of a virtue, something that is undefined and misaligned. However, when it becomes part of you, your world becomes defined and aligned forever. Unfortunately, people get hung up their biases about God, so they assume that anything about faith has to challenge those beliefs. I define faith as a conscious surrender of the will which leads to absolute and unconditional trust in an entity that may or may not be proven. It’s really about opening your mind and embracing your limitlessness. Throughout the course of humanity, we have faced challenges, and overcome them by embracing new concepts. There are two types of faith, concrete faith, and abstract faith. It’s easier to have concrete faith, and most of us have experienced this. This is faith in something that you can see, hear, feel, or touch. Abstract faith doesn’t always have concrete attributes, and forces the human mind to expand, at the very least, to attempt to understand what exists in parameters outside of our typical daily routines. I always challenged my readers by suggesting that they least “try something new on for size.” So, my suggestion about faith, is to learn everything you can about it without any biases, or making any decisions in advance. Do some reading about the different types of faith, talk to other people about it, meditate to get a little bit deeper into yourself, and see what you find there. Often, it’s not about the finished product, it’s about the willingness to experience the growth. Like any other process, be willing to connect with your faith. It’s the highest order of process of all.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Once again, I discuss this, in detail, in The Fix Yourself Handbook. It’s a chapter about keeping life simple, and in order to do that, I discuss staying close to nature’s natural laws. Whether we like it or not, we are products of nature, and those laws that pertain to nature do, in fact, apply to all of us.

So, do what you can to acquire the information to understand how the human body, mind, emotions, and spirit can all be enhanced through a deep and reciprocal relationship with the natural flow which we find in our partnership with nature. The way we live life has pulled us away from nature, and unfortunately has convinced us that living without it is possible in the long run. In the end however, nature will always win. We can see that in our own lives, and definitely with what we’re doing to this planet. Oh, and as I’ve said previously, it will require you going back to those three core attributes. You’ll have to be honest with yourself, you’ll have to slow down enough to get the information, and you’ll have to get your intellect working before you respond emotionally (and selfishly).

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

For me, it’s all about internal balance. Everything about The Fix Yourself Empowerment Series relates to the concept of internal balance. Once again, that means when your physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual attributes all operate in unison. They support each other routinely, and create tranquility, peace, health, and in the end concept I call pure love. When a person arrives at that point in their lives, pure love driven by internal balance sets stage for everything they think feel and experience. They will finally understand how who love themselves, and wrap that love around the entire world.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

I am blessed to be a person who is always been able to connect with the deeper parts of the people who enter my life. There are so many of these people you are talking about I would love to share time width. I have come to understand my purpose in this world as being in service of other people. So many times in my life, opportunities arose which would have enhanced my own position in the world, but I always came back to those people. So with this in mind, a few moments with someone who’s lonely, downtrodden, and really hurting, would be quite a special way to spend time, and can put me in a position to possibly do something for them. I firmly believe that that is why I am here.

However, so that I may answer your question as you had asked it, I have a tendency to lean toward my own contemporaries, people who have established a life work that has been in service of others. Though this person is one of notoriety, she is also someone I firmly believe has a pure heart, and truly loves others. That person would be Oprah Winfrey. The lunch or dinner is not necessary though. A simple smile will do. I’m sure the connection will be felt, and everything necessary it would be realized.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

There are several ways for your readers to find me. They can go to my website at: — I am on Facebook at: — There I post daily inspirational quotes, and Thoughts of the Day which come directly from The Fix Yourself Empowerment Series. I also do a radio show called Fix It With Faust on Radio, where I interview other individuals who are in service, and doing wonderful things to help other people.

In closing, I like to thank you for the opportunity to connect with you, and your readers. It’s been a wonderful experience, and please, all of you, understand that if you are willing to give yourself the time it takes to become the person you want to be, a happy and productive world is waiting for you. Always think of yourself as worthy. Much love, and God bless!

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.



Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine

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