When most people think of fitness they think of exercise, clean eating, sports, going to the gym, strength and endurance training. The truth is that being fit goes far beyond just your fitness routine. Being fit is a lifestyle and includes several aspects of well, life.
In order to be truly fit, we must take into account our mental, spiritual, emotional and physical fitness. If we focus too much on one area and not enough on another, we become out of balance. Regardless of the type of health and wellness goal you are trying to achieve, attention must be given to each component of who you are to make lasting changes.
When we have a good sense of community, relationships and we feel well supported, our ability to cope is far greater. The same can be said of your spiritual well-being. Whether you go to church, attend a women’s circle or participate in your chosen solo spiritual practices, it makes you more resilient when you feel a sense of connection and belonging.
Connections also happen when people join a gym, a sports team or attend a group class on a regular basis. Because of these connections we are held accountable and supported.
Exercising your mindset muscle is the one many people forget about but it’s so important to your long term success and confidence. The more clear, grounded and focused you are the less likely things in life will derail you from where you want to go. And when they do, because at some point they will, you will be able to get back on track more smoothly and swiftly.
Mindset practices are learned. They take practice and they might not come easily at first but with repetition, they become a vital self-care habit, and I hope like me, eventually something you cannot live without.
From personal experience, and years of coaching clients through weight loss, pain reduction and strength gains, one thing is evident: when your mental fitness muscle is strong, you believe in yourself, your abilities to make change, and nothing can stop you.
1. Start small and build up – By doing 5 minutes of meditation for 1 week and adding 1-2 minutes on each week thereafter, you build up your meditation practice without overwhelm. The same can be said about starting a journaling practice, gratitude practice or any other mindset habit. The key here is consistency. Even if it’s less than 10 minutes, doing something every day will benefit you.
2. Find the Positive – When we are able to train our brains to focus more on the positive than the negative, what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong, and realize that things are happening for us, not to us, we become more positive. Positivity leads to happiness and happiness is a choice. Choose happiness every day.
3. Follow your bliss – I always encourage my clients to do exercise they ENJOY. That way they are much more likely to stick with it. The same applies here. If you hate mediation, but for some reason think you “should” do it more — you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Pick a mindful practice that you feel you can stick with, do it for 30 days, and see how you feel. Once you do something for 30 days you begin to form a sacred self-care habit.
Something interesting I have noticed is that many people do not tap into their mindfulness until they HAVE to. Why not establish a good practice now so that if things go awry you have the tools in place to help you get through the challenges?
I didn’t grow up learning about mindfulness, going within for answers, journaling or expressing my emotions through communication. I don’t know if I would have appreciated it back then as much as I do now anyway.
I believe that we can all benefit from exercising our mindfulness muscle in the way that works for us. There is no cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach but the thing that is common among everyone is our resilience and our ability to change the course of our life if we want to.
I encourage you to make the time to start a practice that makes you happy, helps keep you in the present moment and that you will stick with.