How to Use the Power of the Mind-Body Connection to Support Your Health & Fitness Goals – Part III
The mind-body connection is critical to the process of remaining healthy and fit. I am convinced that the world is going in the wrong direction when it comes to “mindfulness” and being “present” in our daily activities has become a lost art. The technology driven mindset of the population is moving us further away from the source of our health and well being. I was born into a world without computers and satellite communications and was happy. Today is another matter entirely! It is a challenge just to have a conversation with another human being on a regular basis – in real life!
The idea of being “plugged in” 24/7 does not fit into my idea of being healthy and happy – and fit. All we have to do is walk outside and we will see people with their ears “turned off” to the world – and not acknowledging one another. I see it every day at the gym – no smiles, no greetings, no acknowledgement of each other. It is sad to see this trend extend into every aspect of our lives. Eventually we will ALL pay a price for this neglect and lack of caring for one another. I have given you my perception of the mind-body connection in my previous articles and now I would like to share with you some of the ways in which I maintain my OWN mind-body connection every day. It is the only way that I can see to survive in a world that sees “faster as better” and access to “more” as being beneficial to life.
The reality we are living in today is largely the vision of a couple of individuals – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The “interconnected world” of the future is here now and we are all players in the game. Buying technology and the latest advancements in connectivity have become the sport of the 21st century. People line up days before a new phone by Apple is unveiled as though waiting until its release was some kind of “built in stupidity”.
The result of this increased access to the universe of the internet and the world of FaceBook has drawn us further apart than ever and now conversations and other forms of communications occur within this realm of Twitter and other means of “connecting”. Cars go faster so we drive faster, diets come and go, the latest “gadget” or pill will solve my problems etc. The billions spent on advertizing “the latest thing” – whether it be for drugs, pills, diet programs, medical procedures, or lawsuits to recover for whatever wrong was done to us, fast food etc. – proliferate in all forms of media.
I see the evolution of life today as “taking us away” from our ‘natural state’ of health and well being. I see it in the obesity statistics and in the onset of once preventable and unknown chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and addictions to all manner of medications – a REAL rising threat to our nation’s future health. I believe the answer to these issues lies within us. This is why I have addressed the subject of the mind-body connection on a personal level because this is where the answers lie – within each of us. If you are increasingly becoming less “connected to your own life” then it is time to “take back” your personal power and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT TODAY. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU GET A CANCER DIAGNOSIS, STROKE, OR HAVE A HEART ATTACK TO ACT – TODAY IS ALL WE GET!
My Strategies for Staying “Connected”
I stay in connection with my heart and mind – and body – by exercising every day physically, mentally, and spiritually. I take time to “go within” – to listen to my thoughts and acknowledge the messages they are sending me. Much of my inspiration for my work today – and in the future – comes from spending my time “listening” in this manner. I use the silence to feel my breathing and heart beat – appreciating my life. I put no limitations on this process – or expectations – I just allow this time to “be”. The value of meditation is incalculable and is being used by holistic facilities treating cancer patients and is proving to be an invaluable tool in the healing process. We don’t “cure” disease but we can “heal” ourselves if we interact with our own inner healing power.
As a runner I envision my workouts BEFORE I engage myself in the process. I picture the speeds, cadence, stride, result I want, and my own joy as I prepare my workout. I know the joy I feel when I run so I make sure I maximize the time I spend doing it because I not only want to achieve something – but enjoy the journey as well. I record every workout in a log and track my progress – miles run, times, splits, distances, conditions, how I felt that day etc. I do the same with my weight training program because it draws my “attention” to what it is I AM DOING. “Being present” while training our minds and bodies TAKES WORK and our ATTENTION in the MOMENT. I see “ear plugs” in so many people’s ears today and KNOW they can’t be present because they are “somewhere else” – especially answering their phones or texting! Texting “while living” should be banned like “texting while driving” has been outlawed!
Sleep is critical to our health. Too little sleep leads to weight gain, depression, eating disorders, high blood pressure, heart problems and so much more. I spend time with meditation and music prior to closing my eyes. I think on the day and how fortunate I have been to have lived it. I wonder about the lessons I am learning – or have learned – and am thankful for my health, my life, and the opportunities for growth I have had that day. I spend time with my thoughts – where I am going, what I am doing, and remembering to appreciate all I have been given. Then I release the day with thanks and go to sleep. I am convinced with sleep comes new ideas – through dreams and other subconscious pathways – and I get to use them in the days and weeks ahead. The ideas for these articles have come through this pathway and I will continue to use this time more creatively in the future as a result.
4. Catch Yourself Being Present Today
I call this last strategy “catching yourself being present today” because people come into our lives and can surprise us in many ways. I spent an hour yesterday talking with Romero while at the gym for my weight training workout because he wanted to say hi to me. He is my age (66) and we talked about life, faith, family, health and fitness, and how we got to be who we are and at the end of the conversation we had become friends – REAL friends. This conversation happened because we are NOT tied to technology and are open to REAL life experience. I treasure that moment and look forward to seeing him again. How much are we each missing during our day and can we “catch ourselves being present”? Only you can answer that question. I hope you WILL!
This is my final article on the mind-body connection. I hope you use the knowledge and experience I have shared in this series to your benefit and future growth. I am convinced the answers to our greatest challenges lie WITHIN each of us but we can only access that wisdom if we “turn off” the world for at least a little while and truly “listen” to our inner voice and pay attention to what it tells us!