When you think about physical health, your first thought is likely about your physique. I’d like to be thinner, I’d like to be beefier, I want to have a toned mid-section. These are common phrases we hear and frequently conveyed messages in today’s media. But physical health isn’t all about your outward appearance – in fact, your outward appearance often doesn’t factor into your physical health at all.
I challenge you to think first of your Body-Mind Awareness. Is your mind on board with what your body is doing? Oftentimes, when we are engaged in a Herculean task that requires much physical effort, our mind quits before our body does. You are probably more physically capable than you realize – that extra mile, the one that seems so long and impossible, only seems that way because your body is taking cues from your mind (even subconscious cues). What would happen if we pushed our minds, our thinking, to run the last mile? We may find we can go two extra miles. When you truly connect your body, mind and heart, you will elevate your ability to accomplish more. Roger Bannister, a runner who broke the four-minute-mile barrier tells us – “The great barrier is the mental hurdle.” You can train your mind so that your body can physically handle more. Also know when your body is telling you to rest – overdoing it can sometimes cause injury.
Next, think about your Energy Management. According to The Energy Project, 74% of employees are experiencing a personal energy crisis. Is this you?
Energy Management is a two-fold challenge – you have to manage your physical stress and your mental stress while also using these demands to renew and reinvigorate. In order to accomplish the right balance of energy, you must find equilibrium within yourself – the middle ground between extremes such as couch-surfing and pulling an all-nighter at work. Your personal homeostasis, a state where your energy production makes you optimally healthy and productive, creates a positive flow and naturally influences the decisions you make and the interactions you have during the course of the day.
Your Peak-Performance Lifestyle is the culmination of your physical health. In order to operate at maximum efficiency, you must know what changes you need to make to advance your physical health, have time to focus on your bodily activity – time for exercise, and time for rest – and knowing what gets in the way of balancing your life and managing your time. Maintaining a peak-performance lifestyle demands more than a daily run or having salads for lunch – it’s about prevention and optimization. In order to live life abundantly and productively, you must keep illness at bay and your immune system strong. Investing in prevention is much less costly than undergoing treatment once you are sick or on disability.
What are some reflections about your life in these areas? What are some steps you can take to help you focus on your improvement in these areas?
- Mind/Body Awareness
- Energy Management
- Peak Performance
The components of physical health – body-mind awareness, energy management, and a peak-performance lifestyle – don’t come immediately. They start with commitment and develop with discipline and persistence. Your greatest enemy is becoming discouraged. Regardless of where you start, keep it personal, listen to your body and do what is challenging and fun. The goal is to stay vigilant and make a genuine and sustainable commitment to your physical health. The benefits will cascade into many aspects of your life.