I’m an extremely observant person. If we met, I would slice and dice you from head to toe, and try to analyze all the different aspects of your life.
I know it’s scary, but I developed that kind of nasty skill by listening to thousands of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to me. It was my job to X-ray them and figure out whether they deserve to be trusted with thousands of dollars.
The other important fact for this story is that in the past few years, I’ve been taking increasingly better care of my body.
Consequently I spend a lot of time with personal trainers, physiotherapists and even a few athletes (I’ll call them all “sporty people” for the rest of this blog post). Well, sporty people are no exception in my observational efforts.
Who you spend time with is who you become.
And there is one thing that strikes me every time. Sporty people have an awesome connection with their body – they respect it, they nurture it, they take care of it, they feel good in it.
And I’m not trying to be Mr. Obvious here, since they are athletes after all, but there is an important detail that’s easy to miss.
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Have you ever heard of the expression that if you don’t respect small things, you don’t deserve the big ones? The small important detail I’m talking about has everything to do with this expression.
Sporty people respect and perform the small health-related things, and that’s why they also have access to achieving the big goals (muscles, physical intelligence, etc.); because the small things are the ones setting their strong foundations for being healthy and fit.
Enough theorizing, let me give you an example of there small health-related things.
When I have a minute of idle time or a short break, what do I do? I read, think, observe, brainstorm or do any other mental activity. Because I have a much better connection with my mind than with my body.
I never even think of my body when a break comes, unless I have to go to the toilet or if I’m hungry.
Sporty people, on the other hand, immediately start paying attention to their body. Besides taking regular breaks, when they have a minute of idle time, they:
- Perform some self-massage
- Do an (easy) exercise
- Take a few deep belly breaths
- Do any other kind of activity that benefits their body.
If you do that several times a day, it accumulates in the long run – your body becomes more flexible, less stressed, more resilient and is better prepared for serious exercise.
In addition to that, you really learn how to listen to your body. You show respect to it and that’s why you get respect back – in terms of having high levels of energy, being healthier and also looking good in the mirror.
If you want to be healthy and feel good in your own skin, you have to love your body.
When I talked to a personal trainer and mentioned my problems with pinched nerves and how too much sitting behind computer has a negative influence, he just looked at me and said:
“Hey man, you prefer to suffer in pain and hurt yourself than stretch for 5 minutes every hour. Why would you even do that?”
And I thought to myself, that’s probably a good point.
But the answer to that question is pretty simple. As mentioned before, I was never in a very good relationship with my body (or even my feelings), unlike the way I am with my mind.
I try to analyze my way out of everything, even physical and emotional activities, but there is no way to really take care of your body by thinking and analyzing.
Well, to be as holistic as possible, you can slightly influence your health and body by thinking – I have things like positive thinking and being happy in mind. At the end of the day, your body hears everything your mind says.
But it’s far from enough. You have to take care of your body by taking real care of your body, by exercising, following a diet and all the mentioned small things.
Now knowing all that, there is only one thing left for me to do. I have to learn how to love my body more.
Be in better connection with it. Pay more attention to it. Nurture it. As they say: take good care of your body, because it’s the only place you have to live in. I shall start to respect this place more.
I guess I have to say goodbye to my belief that the only reason I have a few extra kilos is because a tiny body couldn’t store all this awesome personality.
How to love your body more
How can you love your body more? As you’ve probably figured out, I have no idea yet, but here are a few things I’m going to try.
You can probably find 50+ things on how to feel better in your own skin, but if you try to implement 50+ things at once, you will implement none, I guarantee it.
So here’s some advice I will follow (limited to 5) to really build a better connection with my body:
Doing one thing for your body every day
Do one thing for your body every day. Exercise, stretch, do yoga, take a walk, take a bath, get a massage, whatever.
One single thing! No matter what, no matter how hard of a day you have, do one thing for your body every day. That’s a realistic commitment that also makes sure you’re connected to your body.
Stretching in idle time
When you take a break or have some idle time, stretch. Start paying attention to your body, become aware of it and the location of any tension, and do a few stretching exercises.
Besides stretching exercises, belly breathing can also do the job of relaxing you, releasing any tension and reconnecting with your body. Belly breathing really does do miracles.
Listening to your body more
Many people claim that the way to a quality life is to listen to your body more. Their advice is to shift your focus from your mind to your body, since the body knows what’s best for you.
You should only pay attention to your mind to the point that you smile at it and accept it as it is.
By doing that, you learn to notice your mind without having to follow it to wherever is trying to lead you (usually to negative thoughts if you’re an unhappy person).
Nobody has ever found enlightenment while concentrating on the mind and ignoring the body.
So I will try to shift my attention a little bit from my mind to my body.
Not a lot, since I’m best friends with my mind (even though it often causes me pain), but just enough to include my body into the conversation as well.
Accepting body as it is
This is the hardest thing ever. Everybody says that you should accept yourself as you are, together with flaws, including your body. That’s easy to say, but much harder to do.
Well, accepting your body as it is definitely shouldn’t be an excuse for not exercising and having a good diet. It’s definitely much easier to feel good in a fit body than in a fatty and limp one.
So it’s a logical thing that you more easily accept your body as it is if you take good care of it. I intend to further improve my diet and do regular exercise.
But that’s definitely not enough. Currently I have no idea what to do, except these two mantras that I will try to incorporate as part of accepting my body as it is:
- My body is the most amazing thing I will ever own.
- Loving your body only when it’s in the perfect shape is like loving your kids only when they’re well-behaved.
I will put a post-it note on my mirror, like from the old-school self-help philosophy, just to remind myself that my mind is not the only awesome part of my presence here in this world.
The idea of having a body is for it to be your avatar on this beautiful planet, enabling you to realize all your dreams, wishes, hopes, and create your own space under the sun. Kind of like in video games.
So your avatar needs to take up space, connect, move, experience life, and so on. You need to assert yourself on a physical level as much as on the other levels.
I don’t have confidence problems, I sooner have a little bit of a problem with narcissism (hehe), but I always preferred to assert myself with my tongue and my mind rather than my body.
While others were playing basketball, I was reading. While others were building muscles, I was thinking. While other were partying, I was the president of my high school. I never really paid any attention to be present on the physical level.
I know this might sound strange and that’s also why some people sometimes find me cocky or elevated, but I’m really not – I’m only occupied with thinking, analyzing and creating things in my mind too much, even when I greet other people.
As an introvert, the thinking part becomes even more intense if there is a whole room full of people; and then I forget about my body even more.
Yes, I will try to be more physically assertive.
- I will try to be more aware of the space I take up (and deserve to take up)
- I am already improving my posture (it’s definitely a part of physical assertiveness)
- I will do more physical gestures that show goodwill to other people (like fist bumps and stuff)
- I will provoke the most muscular guy I see every day. Just kidding. :)
You should also love your body, there is no other option
If you’re already well-connected to your body, excellent. If not, I suggest you try to follow the same path.
It’s probably really impossible to be happy and healthy in life if you don’t have a good connection with your body. The only thing left to do is to build it.
To sum up, here is how you can easily start. Implement just one of the following things at first, and then the next one and then the next one. Good luck!
- Take pauses and stretch throughout the day.
- If you don’t exercise, start exercising. Start with everyday walks.
- Try 20 different sports and find the one that suits you best. Then regularly practice it.
- Improve your diet just a little bit every month.
- Become aware that your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own. Your tablet can never compete with it.
Love your body. Period.