"Discipline your mind, the body will follow." Master John L. Holloway
When I heard that in my first Tae Kwon Do class ten years ago I sort of understood what my teacher was saying, but didn't fully realize the power of the statement until I created a habit out of the belief. What you think effects your body, what it can do, and how it can heal.
Two degrees of black belt and a fulfilling healthcare career later, I'm here to tell you about the power of the mind. When you really get it, you'll watch as your life and body transform before your eyes.
Thankfully from what I can tell, the mind body connection has become mainstream. I don't need to convince you of the importance of your thoughts, I need to make you understand when it comes to your thoughts and how you practice them, you're lazy and unconscious.
We know what we need to do, but we're blocked by old, bad habits that keep us practicing the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors from decades ago; the stuff we were taught by parents, siblings, teachers, coaches and other influential beings in our lives.
We don't know how often we're keeping our minds in the gutter in terms of negativity, doubt, fear, and shame. We think we're practicing positivity and purpose-driven pondering, but when it comes down to it, if you measured the minutes of doubt and fear, they'd win.
And that's the secret. Your practice has to get badass. You have to make this awareness thing how you wake up, how you maneuver through your day, how you cope, deal, negotiate, communicate, move and finally go to bed at night. When you've "disciplined your mind" for real, the magic will start to happen.
Here are 5 Powerful Mindset Moves for a Healthier Body and Soul
1. Love yourself and your body. I don't care how you look, what size or situation you're in, or how your jeans fit, if you don't start loving what you see in the mirror, shift can't happen. A diet of kale and kickboxing only goes so far if your self-worth is in the dirt. You must do the healing work of loving yourself so that your body can align with your thoughts. Because it's been burned into our brains by the media (and sometimes sources closer to us than that) to think we're fat, ugly or not enough in some way, we've practiced that, for like ever. We taught ourselves to believe the messages. Time for a new thought process -- no matter what, get help with your worth, along with your diet and exercise plan.
2. Give your voices a name. This, out of all other mindset practices, is badass. Notice the voices, the messages they're trying to give you. Who is that? Give her a name. Put her outside of yourself for a moment and listen to the nastiness. Wake up to the fact that you have a choice to listen and believe. Naming your inner critic will help you stay awake and aware when you're catching yourself overloaded with negative thoughts.
3. Sit the F down and breathe! Please, get still. The only way you'll start hearing the default pattern of negative and self-sabotaging thoughts and beliefs is to get still enough to listen. All your other coping mechanisms; drugs, alcohol, over-work, over-exercise -- they are making you numb and deaf. You need to be able to feel and listen to your body and it's messages and if you don't slow down and get still you'll never feel or hear them. Add a practice of mediation, breathing or restorative yoga into your crazy exercise routine. You don't need to stop the healthy exercise, you need to make room for stillness. It's as important as the movement.
4. Feel it all. Part of awareness and being able to change your thoughts and beliefs is honoring what you feel, both sensation and emotion, and feeling though it to the other side. Feelings and emotions that have been stuffed, avoided, partially dealt with, or left by the side of the road sit in your myofascial tissues as stuck energy and will rear their ugly heads again soon. If you want more permanent freedom from your physical or emotional pain, you need to honor what you feel by actually giving yourself permission to feel it in a safe and constructive way. Sometimes the only way to ensure safe and constructive is with a skilled therapist.
5. Flip the switch when you catch yourself in a negative thought. When you begin to realize the magnitude of negative thoughts and beliefs, it may overwhelm you. This is your opportunity to make some magic happen. As soon as you find yourself inside a negative thought or otherwise self-sabotaging, outwardly mean, hurtful or ungrateful place, stop yourself. Shut it down. Be fiercely aware of what's happening and choose another thought. You must be your own thought police -- unless you're blessed by knowing a mind-reader you're going to have to do this on your own. And even a mind-reader can't take action for you to change the behavior. Ask yourself: What would be a better, healthier, more productive way to think, believe or act right now? And do it!
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