When you think of a healthy lifestyle, does an image of a particular type of person flash in your mind? How does the person look? Frantic, running and stressed out, or relaxed, moving and smiling?
In striving for a healthy lifestyle, we have a tendency to keep adding things in: a new diet, a new exercise regime….or we think we have to exercise more while eating less because losing a few inches or gaining more muscle will make us healthier.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think adding more to our already maxed out lives is a recipe for a healthy lifestyle. Our to-do lists are already overextended. Instead of adding in more, how about we look inward and explore how piling on more makes us feel and affects our internal dialogue?
I’ll use myself as an example. I’m a doer. I always have to-do lists around and, honestly, it is a rare day that I accurately judge my ability to-do what I think I can do. A meeting comes up, the school calls, a friend is in need. Life simply has a way of getting in the way of my to-do list. Am I alone here?
It would be ok if I could just say oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow. But that’s not me. No….instead, I’m all too often left with a deep hidden feeling of not being good enough. My thinking goes something like this: “If I can’t stick to what I promise myself I’m going to accomplish in a day, then how can I expect my children to do what they are meant to do (dishes, homework, sports etc.)?” The question, “Am I a hypocrite,” flashes through my mind, quickly followed by, “Am I a poor role model?”
These questions and thoughts are good to ask….or are they? When I quickly dismiss them they are fine and healthy. However, when I answer them in the affirmative (and beat myself up about why I didn’t get things done), or worse….call myself names, then I’m not so sure. And so, it is here in these negative internal dialogues that I focus my attention. I focus on addressing how I think and how I speak to myself and, in so doing, I am slowly, steadily moving towards a healthy lifestyle.
I believe it is in our ability to transform our internal dialogues (our self-depreciating thoughts and our negative views of others and ourselves) that we will enable ourselves to live healthier, less stressed, joyful lives. When we reduce our stress, guess what happens? Our bodies relax, our shoulders come down, our headaches dissipate and our guts can better digest the food we eat. Did I say better digest the food we eat?!? Yes! Our thoughts affect our digestion, the foods we choose to eat, and so much more.
I’m not saying we don’t need movement (aka exercise) to de-stress. But the simple act of speaking to yourself the way you would speak to a friend, the words encouraging, forgiving and loving, are words that come to mind and more will go a long way to being healthier. The kinder we are to ourselves, the better we’ll feel not just about ourselves, but about life. The side benefit is that we’ll be more relaxed, more fun to be around and happier.
So, instead of adding more to-do’s to our lists, let’s agree to have a listen to our internal dialogues. Maybe we eat well enough, but it’s just not getting though because our circuitry is all jumbled.
Hope you have a great week! If you would like more energy, vitality and living in your life, I invite you to join me for a free one-hour teleseminar on Tuesday, March 4th. Secure your spot and get all the details!
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