I’d like to dive right in with a topic several people have brought up with me recently. Just what do I mean when I say “wellness?”
“Wellness is about how you show up, it’s about how you allow yourself to BE.”
That’s paraphrased from an episode of The Living Experiment podcast. I’d like to go into a bit more detail on this, and along the way I’ll explain how this comes into play in my coaching. The speaker went on to say that what wellness isn’t about is how much you can lift. It isn’t about what your abs look like. These are just two external factors, strength & appearance – that join with other external, as well as many internal, factors to make up wellness, and importantly, whole body well-being. Let’s look at one example of this interplay of factors – weight loss.
Have you noticed that when you put on a few pounds, you feel…off? It’s almost like your overall health and well-being and your weight are connected, right? There are two ways to approach this situation. You can go on a diet to lose weight and hopefully feel better and attain better overall health and well-being. OR, you can work on your overall health and well-being, and watch as your weight slowly but surely comes into alignment with those goals.
Can you spot the difference?
In the first option, you’re addressing the weight loss as though it was the root cause. In the second, you’re treating your weight as a symptom, and addressing your overall health as the root cause. Which sounds like the more sustainable, and effective, method?
Now, how to address something as broad as “overall health and well-being?” By looking at the separate pieces that make up the whole of course. What are the aspects of BE-ing that lead to that elusive whole body well-being?
For the sake of brevity, these are my top 3:
- Being fully present
- Treating your body right
These are still REALLY broad categories, and there is a staggering amount of interplay between them, so I’m not going to attempt to cover them in depth here. This post is intended to be a summary only.
I once heard Mindfulness described as “paying attention, on purpose.” That sums it up so well, I can’t add anything useful. Mindfulness is the the overarching idea, the one that encompasses the other two in this article. Think about it for a minute, what better way to monitor how you’re showing up than paying attention, on purpose?
Before entering a room, be it for a meeting or otherwise, where you want to be sure of your presentation – stop and take a deep, intentional breath. Then as you enter, you’ll be more present and more tuned in to how the others in the room are reacting. You will, in turn, be better able to fine tune how you’re presenting yourself in real time. Eliminating the after-meeting hair-tearing-out where you get all over yourself for that thing you said that you KNEW you shouldn’t have…etc.
Being Fully Present
This one piggybacks on Mindfulness. In fact, it’s really just another way of saying “stay mindful.” When you’re confronted with that jar of candy on your boss’s desk, do you mindlessly take one? Or 5? What if you took a moment before you walked into their office, took a deep breath, and primed yourself on your reasons for going in there in the first place? Not only does this narrow your focus to the task at hand, it can also quell the inherent dis-ease many feel when talking to The Boss – that lead to the candy looking so irresistible. Now you’re set to enter, ask your question, make your pitch, etc…and you won’t even notice the jar.
Treat Your Body Right
What am I talking about here? Simply this – don’t do things that you know cause your body harm or discomfort. Sounds easy, right? Yeah…well…this is one we all have trouble with, therefore it will be the topic of several further posts. The takeaway for today is this – if you know you have a presentation tomorrow morning, and you know that you’re a hot mess when you don’t get enough sleep…maybe think about NOT staying up until 2 binge watching Netflix. If you know caffeine makes you blarghy and causes your brain to vibrate in your skull (personal experience here) – maybe it’s time to ween off coffee.
Your homework this week is to assess your behaviors and look for opportunities to make minor tweaks in just two areas – tweaks that you think just may improve how you show up. And if they don’t work, don’t stress. Now you know those two things don’t help, and you can try two new ones next week.