As a society we are more disconnected than ever. Not only from each other, but especially from ourselves. We don’t want to pay attention to what our physical bodies are saying unless they’re screaming at us in agonizing discomfort or rapturous ecstasy. Heart attack vs. sleeve of Oreos. Both elicit notable responses from our brains due to their high level of intensity.
We’ve gotten so caught up in our day-to-day wheel grind that only the noisiest voices get our attention, and the subtle, less noticeable cries on both ends of the spectrum go unanswered. I’m not sure how our society got this way, but I believe we must tune in more to our physical existence if we’re ever going to succeed with fitness. I’ve always told my clients that if I could hand out samples of how your body is supposed to look and feel in an optimal wellness state, they’d be immediately hooked and I’d be their new dealer. Problem is the lack of instant gratification.
The steps you have to take to reach that optimization don’t feel nearly as rewarding, and register quite low on the decibel scale in your mind. We’re programmed to seek that intense hit of pleasure because we think we deserve to feel SO good, after doing all we do to just survive each hectic day. Actions that illicit a general feeling of contentment or satisfaction aren’t rewarding enough to notice or look forward to. Sure that workout routine was nice, but it didn’t REALLY get you off like that half a pie a la mode you’ll be pounding later.
Similarly the decisions you’ve made to feel worse and worse over the years are also less audible and insidious in nature because individually they don’t quite feel devastating enough to raise a flag. You ignore or delay response until you’ve reached an incremental crisis moment and can’t continue functioning without addressing the issue. In this country we expect to be run-down, pissed-off and unfulfilled on the daily, and we cling to excuses to stay that way. We don’t even know what feeling good feels like, and fail to notice the little offenses we assert daily on our system until we get the bad numbers back from the Dr., receive a tough diagnosis, or find ourselves on the business end of a tall curb.
Tune in. If you’re serious about getting healthier, know that you have some tough work ahead of you. Your mind-body connection is going to have to shift in a major way. Your mind will have to tell your body to do things that feel painful, uncomfortable, and decidedly UNfun. You will have to do these things repeatedly and consistently for a good bit of time to see the results you’re after. Lifestyle change is hard, but the cool thing is that once you stop and listen, your body will begin whispering good stories. With time your body will be shouting from the rooftops all that you’re doing for it; gladly following your brain’s lead. After all, it has no choice to but to respond to everything you’re doing to it. Healthful or otherwise.