When most people think of "fitness," they think of big muscles, speed and agility, or ideal body weight. But plenty of physically fit people are unhappy, pessimistic, and drained of spirit. Fitness needs a makeover. True fitness needs to include emotional and spiritual well-being, which provide the foundation for attaining a fit body.
How does one achieve a fit soul and a fit body? Here are three core elements.
1.) Learn to manage stress successfully.
Of all the negative influences that can hold each of us back from having all the spark we need to take action and to effect positive change in our lives, the biggest one is stress. Stress can weaken your immune system, deplete energy, sap motivation, cause memory loss, and make it difficult to concentrate. It disrupts sleep, which inhibits your ability to recover from a workout or hard day at the office, and depletes the amount of energy needed for the next day's demands.
Here are some strategies for managing stress. Do vigorous exercise. Clear your mind with laughter. Get more sleep. Eat food that nourishes. Reduce your exposure to toxins -- household chemicals, food additives, and toxic personal care products. And find activities that calm you down, such as walking, meditating, listening to music, or yoga.
2.) Replace negative qualities with positive ones.
Creating a new model of health and wellness for our lives is much the same as the process of remodeling a home that no longer serves our needs. Look at what part of the structure will have to be taken down and cleared away so that a new, better, sturdier, more functional, and more beautiful space can take form.
Start with your thoughts. Practice listening to your inner monologue, and when you hear negative self-talk (self-criticism, anger, sadness, fear, worry, jealousy, etc.), try to replace it with a statement that becomes its perfect antidote. Look for opportunities in every mishap or mistake. Always find something fresh and positive about your situation, even when you're bored or discouraged. Be an inspiration to others.
3.) Make a strong connection to nature.
When our souls get disconnected from our outer environment, we can become lonely, depressed, even angry. Nature is powerful and transformative. Without being a philosopher, anyone can draw powerful messages from the natural world by really taking it in and being open to its wisdom.
Even if you live in a city, you can go outside and watch a sunrise or sunset. Try to be outside every day -- and not just walking to and from your car. Breathe in the air, listen to the sounds, smell the plants, and feel the earth under your feet. The more quality time you spend observing and being part of nature, the calmer and happier you will feel. The natural world helps to rebalance us.
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