So how’s your body feeling today? Scan it, beginning at the top of your head, and move slowly down to your feet. As you do, count all of your “attention grabbers”… all the aches and pains, illnesses and other discomforts all the way down. What’s your number?
If your number is 0, and it really is ZERO, awesome! Chances are you’re already doing much of what you need to, to keep yourself in physical well-being. This article may help you avoid some areas you could be at risk for physical challenges in the future.
If your number is 1-3, you probably could use a little help. Read on and let’s see if we can help you get that number down a bit.
If your number is 4 or more, read, read and read this again! Holy smokes friend, you deserve to feel so much better than you are. And if you only take one thing away from this post, please take this: It is possible for you (yes, you!) to feel good, and to live in physical well-being.
Chronic pain and chronic illness is not fun. Once an illness or a physical struggle gets going, it can gain momentum pretty quickly. Once it progresses, it can command a lot of your thoughts, and be difficult to imagine life without it, but it’s important that you do just that. It’s important to remember a time when you felt good.
It’s important to remember what it felt like when your body felt strong and resilient.
It’s important to believe that your body can feel good, and can be strong, comfortable and resilient again.
Step 1 – Healing the Emotional Wounds
Understand that most of our physical challenges have an emotional counterpart. An emotional struggle almost always comes before the related physical struggle. The emotional challenge predates the physical challenge because chances are, it helped to create it. Consider that there’s a high likelihood you won’t be able to heal your physical body completely without first healing the emotional challenges you’ve been avoiding, or hiding from.
Healing your emotional self is not something to fear; it’s something to revere, something to celebrate. We are all emotional beings, but our society tends to label what we feel as either good or bad. Joy and laughter, they’re good, right? Anger, fear and depression, they’re bad! Wrong. Everything we feel has a valid purpose. They are messages to us. Within those messages are the clues of what needs to be healed, and where it originated. Many go through life avoiding, stuffing, drugging or denying anything and everything that doesn’t feel good. That doesn’t work in the long run. Let me explain why.
If joy was the only feeling you ever knew, you would experience very little growth in life, and very few opportunities for growth.
As long as you’re alive, there will be moments of fear, anger, hopelessness, frustration and a range of other emotions. When was the last time you overcame a big obstacle, or moved past a significant challenge that did not include at least one or more of these “unwanted” feelings?
Instead of fearing everything that doesn’t feel “good”, it’s much more to your advantage to look at the wide spectrum of emotions we experience as if they were gifts. These amazing gifts help us remember joy and well-being, and they help create the desire within us to return to our natural state of love and joyfulness. Instead of avoiding or denying the existence of the feelings that don’t occur to you as good, practice looking at them as just a part of the natural contrast of life.
Have you ever heard the term “duality”? Duality means that everything on this planet contains its opposite.
The opposite of compassion is a lack of empathy. The opposite of a question is an answer.
The opposite of abundance is lack. The opposite of light is darkness.
The contrast I’m referring to is the uncomfortable moment when you’re faced with what you don’t want, and the opportunity to choose what you do want. The feeling is your cue that this is an opportunity for choice.
Pushing against the contrast of the uncomfortable feeling, or denying it, or being angry at it for existing, will net you exactly what you don’t want: more of the unwanted feeling or experience. When you were very young you didn’t know better, and frequently that is when the patterns of fearing our feelings occur. It’s different now. Now you have maturity. Now you have the ability to observe it, note what the choices are, and then to choose the experience that feels the best for you. This dissipates the unwanted feeling and allows you to return to joy and well-being.
Is this always easy? No, but then the best choices in life, at first glance, aren’t always the easiest. What’s more difficult: Gently feeling and observing the emotion you don’t like without panic or fear or anger, and then simply choosing what feels good to you? Or pushing against, railing against, stuffing, avoiding, numbing or fearing the unwanted emotion… and then getting stuck with that unwanted emotion under the surface, wreaking havoc in your thoughts and in your body for years, maybe even decades?
Allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to feel without judgment, without fear. And then simply choose… “I want more of this please, and less of that…”
Step 2 – Believe you can feel good!
Believe you can be (or become) healthy, and strong and feel good. I’m not suggesting you pretend that you feel good right now if you don’t. I’m suggesting that you believe that you can feel better, and better, and better, until you feel good.
How do you do that? To understand how to do that, the first thing you have to understand is what a belief is.
A belief is simply a thought that you’ve thought repeatedly until you believe it is truth.
In other words, you’re choosing your belief systems every time you allow a thought to flow. That’s right. You’re in control of your thoughts, and you’re choosing what you believe by allowing certain thoughts to flow repeatedly.
Now think for a minute about your belief systems, those thoughts that you’ve thought a lot. Start journaling your thoughts, especially those thoughts that you think a lot. Specifically pay attention to thoughts regarding your body, your physical ailments, pains, etc. Also pay attention to thoughts on any subject that cause you to feel angry, frustrated, hopeless or unhappy. These feelings are following or attached to a thought. It’s important to know what those thoughts are.
Be clear on what you’re thinking, and which thoughts you’ve already turned into belief systems, and then work diligently to change them.
Make it be an important priority to you that you become responsible about what you are thinking. Think thoughts that feel good to you, thoughts that feel hopeful, powerful, joyful. No one can do this all the time, but you can get better and better at it, and when you do, everything in your life will get better, including your physical well-being.
Step 3 – Maintaining a healthy weight in a healthy, comfortable way
As with every challenge, the answer to weight loss lies within. To begin, it’s important to believe, to know that you have everything you need to succeed within your own mind. I’m not talking about sheer willpower. You’ll need to conjure up a little of that too, but willpower is overrated. Why? Because studies show you have a finite amount of it. You do not have an unlimited amount of willpower, but you also don’t need it.
By tweaking your thoughts and beliefs a bit, as well as some minor daily habits, you’ll be surprised at how your weight shifts.
Trust me, you don’t need another crash diet or the latest appetite suppressant. Granted, it may work for a short period of time, however the percentage of people who lose weight this way and keep it off is so tiny it’s not worth your hard work and stress! Becoming a more slender person is about learning to trust your innate abilities, just as you do when you ride a bicycle. Chances are you can climb on a bike, ride it and not think about it, right? When you climb on it you don’t remember how scary it was the first time you tried to ride, or how little confidence you had, you simply climb on and ride automatically, without thought or effort. Losing weight may seem similarly terrifying at first, but it’s possible when you find your balance. Like riding a bike it can feel a little tentative and be a little frustrating for a little while, until you begin to gain some self-confidence with it.
You will achieve what you think you can achieve. Your mind will support you if you teach it to, or it will continue to work against you if you allow it to. It is possible to program your mind to be comfortable around food, to desire healthy food, and to enjoy exercise. It is possible to live at a weight you’re comfortable at, in a body you’re comfortable with. Your mind and your thoughts are the key.
Real and permanent change in your weight will come with a change in your thoughts and feelings first, which then translates to natural changes in your habits and lifestyle. That’s why fad diets don’t work over the long term.
Your mind is the part of you that creates cravings, impulses and habits, and your mind is the tool you’ll need to use to create a different body.
So how do you change your mind? By changing your thoughts.
Step 4 – Relax! Relaxation of the body and mind are essential to physical well-being.
When we refer to Relaxation, we usually refer to something that we do because we enjoy it. It generally lifts our mood and helps us to feel better. Relaxation is perhaps one of the most important skills you will use to gain control over your body and mind, and has broad health benefits including the reduction of pain, stress, and restoration of sleep. The better you sleep, the more your body is able to regenerate, rejuvenate, and realign to well-being.
Before you can say “I don’t have the time to relax!” think about this: You don’t have the time NOT to relax.
Research has shown that learning Relaxation techniques increases energy and decreases fatigue. Relaxation can increase motivation and productivity, improve your decision-making ability, and lower both stress hormone levels and blood pressure. Decreased headaches and fewer stomach problems are other examples of health benefits related to Relaxation.
Relaxation techniques give you the personal ability to make your body release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down, while increasing blood flow to the brain. Relaxation – especially through meditation – by slowing or stopping your thoughts, provides a powerful step in manifesting well-being in many areas of your life.
Drugs can do some of this for you; however, they almost always have unwanted side effects, whether you’re aware of them or not, and these side effects can get much worse over time. It’s possible to get your body and mind to relax just as well without drugs, while remaining conscious and aware at the same time. To be physically relaxed and mentally alert is the goal, and the benefits are enormous.
There are many ways of achieving beneficial levels of relaxation. Some examples of these would be:
- Progressive muscle relaxation.
- Visual imagery.
- Deep breathing.
- Something as simple as a walk in the country can provide both relaxation and exercise, a double whammy of well-being!
Many people with anxiety find that learning to relax helps them manage even very intense feelings of panic or anxiety.
Taking an opportunity to regularly clear your mind can also have great benefits for your memory, as it assists you to focus more closely on pertinent information, and then remember it better! Practicing Relaxation techniques on a daily basis can produce, over time, increased well-being that benefits every area of your life. When you feel relaxed and at ease, you feel more in control, and that leads to calmer, more rational and realistic responses.
Step 5 – Raise Your Self Confidence
While you may have visions of greater financial wealth and having all the “stuff” in the world that you desire, what I’m guessing it is that you really want most is well-being: physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being. Most of us want to enjoy life and ourselves in it!
Today, even the most stoic of scientists are agreeing that the mind is absolutely intrinsic to the body’s healing process. And, it is widely acknowledged throughout the medical professions that how happy we are has a great affect on how healthy we are, and how healthy we are has a great affect on how happy we are. Doesn’t that make sense?
Self-confidence and self-esteem play a vital role in not only how we treat ourselves but also in whether we perceive the world we live in as positive or negative.
Be clear, when I speak of self-esteem and self-confidence I’m not referring to egoism or pompousness. Egoism is based in fear. Human perfection is not possible. We’re simply not wired to allow for it.
Here are a couple more interesting paradoxes: Low self-esteem is tied to chronic illness, and chronic illness is tied to low self-esteem. Fear and anxiety are the most powerful indicators of low self-esteem, and low self-esteem is a powerful indicator of fear and anxiety. Recognize the pattern here?
Self-loathing is the primary cornerstone of low self-esteem. Now wrap your brain around this: That which is not self-love is self-loathing. You cannot have self confidence without self-love. And you cannot raise your self confidence without reducing or eliminating your self-loathing. Self-esteem is self-love. Self-love is choosing to hold the same concern and protectiveness for ourselves that we hold for our most cherished loved ones. We esteem our bodies by taking care of them through proper diet, rest and relaxation. We esteem our lives and selves by making positive choices and being kind to ourselves in our thoughts.
You truly can be all that you want to be, and all that you hope you are capable of being.
So how do you do that? There are many ways to rekindle the spirit of joy and self-confidence in you, to remind you of the loving and lovable person you were born to be.
First, it’s important to take a look at how and why you may suffer from low self-esteem. Regardless of the depth of your feelings, acknowledging your thoughts and feelings, and examining their roots can be very helpful to eventually letting go of all that holds you back from happiness. Do any of these look or feel familiar to you?
- Does anyone in your life state negative, demeaning or other inappropriate messages to you or about you?
- Do you feel in any way powerless to stop it?
- Does it feel familiar? Was there someone in your childhood that fit this role?
- Are there other people, or circumstances or experiences in your life that have lowered your self-esteem or self-confidence?
- Do you find yourself defending yourself in your thoughts? Defending yourself verbally?
- Have you experienced a loss of jobs or career opportunities?
- Have you had unstable or failed relationships?
- Do you have any one-sided or unsupportive relationships with friends or family members?
If more than one or two of these apply to you, or if any of them apply to you in a big way, your self-esteem could use a boost. If several of these apply to you, your self-esteem really needs to be improved for your well-being.
Raising your self-esteem begins with planting the seeds of hope and joy in your mind.
Guess where I’m going with this? That’s right – those lovely thoughts bouncing around in your mind. Your joy and well-being are within your control. By choosing to fill your thoughts and mind with positive, hopeful thoughts you are choosing to reverse the vicious cycle of negative, self-defeating and self-berating thinking.
Choosing self-love is the goal. Choices that harm us or others are based in fear and/or self-loathing.
Critical, harsh thoughts are based in self-loathing. Hopeful, encouraging thoughts are based in self-love.
What about you… are your thoughts and belief systems in alignment with your well-being, and success, and self-love? When your thoughts and choices are in alignment with self-love, self-acceptance, really approving of yourself, you’ll be amazed at how strong, healthy, joyful and powerful you become!
Sending you all fond thoughts,