Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This is an age-old riddle that seems to be without solution because it’s circular in nature. You can’t have one without the other. Similarly we often ponder: which comes first, a body you’re happy with or a life you’re happy with? What do you think?
Do you tell yourself, “I’ll be happy and more outgoing when I lose 15 pounds.” Or do you think, “I can’t even think about starting a wellness program, because I’m fighting with my ex and I just can’t face one more thing.” The trouble with this thinking is that you’re compartmentalizing yourself. One part of you is at odds with another part of you.
You can’t achieve lasting transformation unless you’re considering yourself as a whole, connected being. So what must really come first is keen self-awareness.
Building awareness for how you use (or abuse) your body at any given moment is the key to transforming your body and your life. By being mindful of your physical experience, you’ll create a vessel that can experience greater strength, balance, serenity, wellness and happiness.
How to build self-awareness that helps you to transform your body transform your life…
1. Strengthen Your Core
If your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis are weak, nothing else can be strong. Core exercises encourage the elongation and alignment of the central body. This allows proper energy flow as your body works as a connected and centered unit.
2. Practice Positive Posture
Proper body alignment helps relieve muscle tension, increase circulation, and boost self-confidence. Work to keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned as you tighten your lower belly muscles. Be gentle and patient as you retrain your body.
3. Lengthen and Strengthen
When you start to slump or feel beaten down during the day, take a few moments to extend upward and center yourself. Try to make strengthening and lengthening a daily habit.
4. Tune in and Listen. One of the single most important habits you can implement is simply listening to your body. Pay attention to how things make you feel and where you feel them. When you’re stressed, do you feel it in your neck and shoulders? Your stomach? Your throat?
Direct your deliberate focus to these areas and connect with the physical sensations different parts are offering you. Recognize that they’re signals that unlock greater self-awareness. Begin strengthening and healing, as you discover healthy ways to process your emotions and relieve your stress.
5. Breathe Mindfully
I cannot overemphasize the importance of a regular practice of mindfully breathing deeply. It’s the one action that causes all others to fall into place. It automatically aligns and centers your body. Diaphragmatic breathing (filling your lungs so deeply you feel it extending into your belly) also cleanses the blood, massages internal organs, and gives your mood a fast pick-me-up.
Breathe in until you can’t hold any more. Exhale to a count of five. Relax and soften your body. Make your breathing as fluid as possible. Practice for 5 minutes and notice the improvements.
If you’re serious about creating a lasting transformation, please download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to transform your body – transform your life.
What are you most grateful for? I’m so grateful for a supportive husband, close family, loving friends, a great business working with wonderful women, a strong body, having the skills to cope with daily ups and downs and so much more. My list is really too long to itemize. Perhaps it’s the same with you.
Did you realize that some people struggle with listing even five things they’re grateful for? Ungrateful people tend to focus on deprivation, regrets, lack, scarcity and loss. Grateful people, on the other hand, tend to talk about things like gifts, givers, blessings, fortune and abundance.
Why does being grateful come easily for some but not for others?
According to experiments conducted by Anthony Ahrens, associate professor of psychology at American University, people who score high for autonomy experience less overall gratitude, and they value it less. It’s possibly because they feel that gratitude undermines their independence.
People who tend to be perfectionists may also have a neutral or negative reaction to gratitude because it attributes their success to benefits received from others. They don’t want to feel beholden in any way. And they don’t want to share the spotlight with anyone else.
Living in a culture that equates having “things” with happiness also undermines a person’s ability to feel grateful. Much of society feels entitled, that the universe owes them. They see relationships through the lens that they are bought, used and disposed once their purpose is fulfilled, just like the “things” they purchase.
Depression may also be a factor. Studies suggest that chronic complaining may be linked to depression and anxiety. If you ever experience severe depression, please seek help immediately. If you’re experiencing a funk, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how practicing gratitude can life your spirits.
Have you been influenced by any of these limiting points of view? Don’t feel discouraged. There are things you can do to improve.
The good thing about gratitude is you can always have more. So don’t reserve a spirit of thankfulness to just once a year. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
When you do feel amazingly awesome moment of gratitude, savor those feelings. Pause. Notice. Let it sink in. Soak it up.
But gratitude is more than a feeling. Gratitude is a virtue that leads to action. It embodies the law of reciprocity. You do a nice thing for me, I want to do a nice thing for you. And it makes me feel so good I want to pass it on to someone else.
To say you’re grateful doesn’t mean everything in your life is great all the time. It just means you can see the goodness and you don’t take it for granted. Gratitude shifts your focus from what you think your life lacks to the abundance you already have. It increases your resiliency, optimism and energy. Gratitude puts situations into perspective so you don’t complain or stay stuck. It lessens panic and opens up your thinking of new solutions as you see what’s working for you.
Just as there are many ways to exercise, you can express gratitude in various ways like practicing mindfulness, meditating, praying, reminiscing and sharing stories, being more generous, or spending time in nature. Some families have made a practice of taking turns to express one thing they’re grateful for before eating dinner. What an easy and sustainable practice!
Once you decide to practice gratitude, give it some time before you expect changes. But be assured they will come, because you can rewire your brain. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). We can talk about more ways to practice gratitude and live an embodied life.
“The pursuit of happiness” is one of our unalienable rights, according to the U. S. Declaration of Independence. Isn’t that interesting? They focused on the process of searching for happiness. Not happiness itself. They knew that the process is what contributes to our feeling of wellbeing.
Why is our feeling of wellbeing dependent on the process or life system we use?
What makes me happy isn’t what makes you happy. For example, I love my pets, cats especially. Life wouldn’t be complete without them. But you may hate cats, or you may be allergic to them, so they make your life miserable.
We’re all so different. So to define happiness is impossible. But to mindfully choose to be happy – to choose to see the beauty in every situation – is part of the process.
Yes, everybody wants happiness. Sadly many people today find it elusive. Perhaps it’s because they focus on the wrong things. As the writer Denis Waitley noted:
“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”
What should you focus on to increase your feeling of wellbeing?
If you had to list what makes you happy, can you easily do it? Or is it difficult to define? Is your list the same as it was 25 years ago? Most likely not!
In his book Flourish, psychologist Martin Seligman, provides some clues that will help you find your happiness. (He’s known as the face of positive psychology.) He proposes the PERMA Contrast – the need for a balance between five different components of life. When you master these, you’ll increase your happiness and feeling of wellbeing.
The PERMA Model
1) Lead a life of Positive Emotions – maximize positive emotions and accept and understand negative emotions. Your feeling of wellbeing comes from things deeper than fleeting emotions or moods.
2) Lead a life of Engagement – seek out activities that allow you to be in flow. (You’re so involved you lose track of time and self.)
3) Lead a life of Relationships. It powerfully plays a role in supporting the other four components of wellbeing.
4) Lead a life of Meaning – belong to and serve something that is bigger than self. (Family, religion, community, country, ideals or causes.)
5) Lead a life of Accomplishment – pursue excellence and mastery, both as goals and as processes.
To maintain a feeling of wellbeing all five of these needs must be met and balanced. Try applying the 20/80 rule to your life. Spend 20% of your time on small mindful practices such as exercise, centering, meditation, reading, appreciation and gratitude. When you do, you’ll find that you’re able to handle 80% of your day in a positive way. No matter what circumstances you encounter.
Remember: it doesn’t take great changes to make you happy. It’s the small acts of self-love, mindfulness and appreciation that matter.
Of course, being happy doesn’t mean you’re smiling all the time. It means you’re living the life that you’re meant to live. Then you’re able to accept whatever comes your way.
Your feeling of wellbeing increases when you understand yourself and your core strengths and use them daily. Do you see areas that could benefit from some attention? Would you like to learn how to live a balanced life? Why not download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It’s a great way to start to reconnect with your body, mind and spirit.
And if you want to grab a copy of Dr. Seligman’s book, Flourish, you can find it on Amazon. (In full disclosure, I’ll receive a few pennies in commission. It won’t affect your price at all. Enjoy!)
“Let life be an adventure. Live your life to the fullest, unfettered by fear of the ghosts and goblins of what might occur. Calamity and death happen as well to those who hide from life as to those who squeeze every drop of zest from it.” ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Are you tired of living a humdrum life? Are you ready to do something really impressive? Do you want to make the most of life? Have you had enough of taking it and you want to fight back to finally get the life you want? Do you want to kick the make-do attitude to the curb and go for the gusto?
Then you want to be a badass! Sometimes we just have to call it for what it is to make the point.
But not so fast…wanting and doing are two completely different things. So do you want it? More importantly, are you willing to put in the dedication, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to make the most of life? I hope so. Because life is short and no one can guarantee tomorrow. My recent Women’s Retreat in Italy has reinforced the fact that it’s vital to make the most of every day that you live. The ladies I coached were, in their own ways, all badasses too!
How do you become a badass and make the most of life?
The first thing you need to do is give yourself permission to live larger than life. You have to believe that you deserve the best. Then don’t wait for it to come to you. You have to go get it!
Listen to what your inner voice says is most important to YOU (not someone else).
Then write out a “My Best Life Ever List”. What would your perfect life look like? Prioritize it in order of importance to YOU.
Accomplishing one thing may make the next one easier to attain, so think seriously about the order you do things in. For instance, clearing out the clutter and simplifying your life will free you up to bring something really meaningful in.
Prioritize, what is the Number One thing you can do Right Now to begin accomplishing your priority accomplishment. GO DO IT! You heard me. Don’t write it down. GO DO IT!
What’s the next thing you need to do Right Now to accomplish your priority task? GO DO IT! You’re getting my drift, right?!!!
Making lists is fine, but it’s only when you kick your butt off the couch that you can become a badass and make the most of life.
As you wake up every day, think about how you can push yourself just a little bit more today as you chase your dreams. We’re not looking for huge shifts in your attitude and actions…just gradual, sustainable, baby-step changes.
Listen to your body. If you need to rest one day, that’s okay. But if the need for rest is motivated by discouragement or negative talk (from yourself or others), don’t listen! Get tough with yourself and do just one thing. You might be surprised by how that breaks the dam of procrastination and invigorates you to do another.
A book I’ve really enjoyed and got me going is The Badass Life: 30 Amazing Days to a Lifetime of Great Habits–Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Christmas Abbott. The key is balance: using essential daily practices for the mind, body, and soul. She provides a month-long-program based on building mental toughness that leads to positive daily habits that help you make the most of life.
Why not grab a copy of the book, contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype) with me so I can help you remain accountable during those 30 days. I’d love to be your Badass Buddy!
“If you want to choose the pleasure of growth, prepare yourself for some pain.” – Ritu Ghatourey
Do you remember having growing pains when you were young? They weren’t pleasant were they, but who would want to stay the size of a baby? That’s just part of growing up.
However, what most people don’t recognize is that we continue to have growing pains – emotional, mental and spiritual ones – throughout our lives. However, discomfort now becomes our choice – we can avoid it, endure it, or embrace it. It’s no longer automatic.
Since our brains are hardwired to avoid pain, we often choose to avoid discomforts rather than embrace them. As a result, our personal and professional growth can become stunted.
What are some attitudes that people adopt to avoid the discomfort of growing?
- I’m happy where I’m at.
- I want to take it easy.
- I want to be comfortable.
- I don’t want to do that because it makes me uncomfortable.
- It’s too hard.
The trouble with staying in your comfort zone is that you can become self-absorbed, complacent, or easily bored. And if you have a creative nature, you’re going to be miserable.
Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is one of the most important skills you can develop. It’s how you’ll live a full and purposeful life. As Jean Shinoda Bolen said, “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
But why is growing emotionally, mentally, or spiritually so uncomfortable? Because it involves taking a risk. Letting go of control. Venturing into the unknown. But that’s okay. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
When you regularly seek out fresh experiences, you become more creative and emotionally resilient. It makes you stronger and more confident as you see each success and conquer each hurtle. Can’t you look back and remember things that used to make you uncomfortable, but you can now do with ease?
How do you embrace discomfort?
- Develop a craving for something more in your life.
- Resist the pride of perfectionism.
- Be willing to make “mistakes” and see them as learning experiences instead.
- Deliberately seek out things that push your limits.
- Stop avoiding what’s hard.
Oftentimes you have to expand your understanding to overcome obstacles in front of you – understanding yourself, others, or how things work. It challenges your mental skills. But your brain is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Conversely if you don’t stretch it, it will become flabby.
Make time for continual learning. Try a new language. Take a mindfulness course. Start a new hobby. You can tackle any project you set your mind to. As Calvin Coolidge said, “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
If you make a practice of welcoming discomfort, your comfort zone will expand to include and embrace discomfort as a natural part of living. Then you can have a similar attitude to American writer Jonathan Lethem, “Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.”
Most things seem impossible until you do them. Remember that others have felt just as you do and they were able to push beyond that feeling. So can you.
Sometimes it helps to have someone coach you through a big growth spurt. If that’s where you’re at, I’d love to partner with you so you can more easily embrace discomfort. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).