Creating a deeper connection with ourselves
I ran into a client yesterday who I had not seen since before the holidays. She was excited to tell me that she had done the Whole30 and lost 12 pounds without really trying to lose weight. What she was most surprised by was the realization of just how much bad food she had been putting into her body. She had also taken a look at how she was exercising, and had reorganized her workout routine to be more effective and quite frankly, more kind to her body. She looked fabulous, and not because of the weight loss, she looked fabulous because her skin was glowing without any makeup on her face, her eyes were bright, and she was radiating with a newfound connection to her body, mind, and soul.
It’s connection that I want to address today. Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, educators, speakers on the subject of vulnerability and connection. If you have not read her books or listened to her TED talks or interviews, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with her research and message. Connection is simply “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.” Sometimes I wonder if we are at an epidemic of lack of connection, because to be truly connected we have to be comfortable being vulnerable and embracing our fears. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but around here (Silicon Valley), being vulnerable seems to be in short supply. It’s difficult to connect with ourselves when life has become so hectic, when the standard is exceptional, perfectionism is rampant, social media has infiltrated our lives, and raising kids has become a whirlwind of sports and activity busyness. Even our health and fitness routines can be a reflection of either the same pattern of trying to keep up with something that really has no connection to what we really want, or just not trying at all. To be connected, we have to be comfortable connecting with ourselves and that means being comfortable with our vulnerabilities and fears.
So, how do we start creating a deeper connection with ourselves? The first step is to quiet the busyness of the mind, spend a few minutes everyday deep breathing and really paying attention to your breath. As you inhale through your nose, let your entire belly and back fill with air, hold for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8. Do this for 7-8 cycles of breath, increasing each day until you quiet the mind and deep breath for 5 minutes. Even a few times a week will be beneficial to your overall wellbeing and sense of connection to your body. The next step is to start practicing self compassion and start embracing our own imperfections. To do that, we have to listen to the messages we are giving ourselves. See if you can identify some of those messages – write them down and then try to rewrite them. We live in a “never enough” society – never good enough, never thin enough, never wealthy enough, never enough time, never smart enough, never perfect enough. I feel that the “never enough” is just an excuse to not face our fears and vulnerabilities. So, what if you did have enough time – what would you do with it? And why are we not worthy of creating enough time in our lives to give ourselves what we need? Last week I talked about habits, and how the habits we form directly correlate to our physical and emotional health. One question you have to think about is whether your habits are a reflection of your goals or fears. We want to embrace our fears to be able to shift our habits in favor of our goals. Those are the thoughts and questions that we need to think about.
Whether you are working on achieving a healthy body, a healthy mind, or a healthy soul, one of the first steps is getting uncomfortable and well, that is really difficult because it is not very comfortable. I encourage you to take the first steps toward shaking up your routine to expose your vulnerabilities. Whether that means participating in the Whole30 to remove the inflammatory foods from your diet to make a larger connection to what you are truly feeding yourself, or whether that means starting to deep breathe every day to begin a deeper connection/relationship with yourself, or maybe that means really taking the time to listen to your thoughts and practice self compassion. At the end of Brene Brown’s book, “Daring Greatly”, she says, “After fifteen years of social work education, I was sure of one thing: Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
We have a full week of classes this week! If you attend a small group class, please go to www.stellafit.com and “sign up” online. You will need to purchase a class card if you do not have one on file. If you currently have one on file, please go ahead and email me if you are coming to class. As your cards run out, you will need to start using MindBody to sign up for class. You can also use MindBody to check the schedule as it is posted online and will stay current.
If you are interested in signing up for Personal Training or Nutrition/Wellness Coaching, you will still need to email me to schedule a time before signing up online. Nutrition and Wellness Coaching are currently listed under Personal Training.
Here’s to a great week of connections!