the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
I can't think of a word that better describes my current focus in life. I've come to believe our greatest gift in life is health and without health, very little matters.
Physical and mental health are one and the same, but for the sake of simplicity, I'm going to try to tackle these separately.
Since my earliest memories, I've lived an active life. The wooded lot behind my childhood home brought far more joy than the T.V. could ever provide. Chiggers and all. As I grew up, I developed a love for sports (Why I Play). I'd spend countless hours practicing the craft. Catching fly balls, throwing passes, weight training. This deliberate practice gave me a goal to chase and a physical state I thoroughly enjoyed.
Even after my dreams of turning pro fell by the wayside, I remained committed to physical fitness. I feel better and am more productive in other areas of my life when I’m fit. This much I’ve proven.
Sports aside, I've always devoted time to physically exploring nature. Nine times out of ten this consists of chasing fish, but I’m beginning to learn any time exploring the outdoors is time well spent. My lungs breathe deeper, my heart beats stronger and my MIND clears.
It took me longer to understand the importance of the mind than it did to understand the joys of being active. The more I focus on my mind the more I realize how closely connected the mind and body actually are. Similar to the body, the mind can also fall out of shape, weary and untrained. The mind powers the body. It's been proven you can increase free throw shooting percentages, and produce a biological response to eating lemons purely through visualization. Nothing revolutionary, but easily forgotten. The MIND helps determine the health of your body and your physical well being. In the words of Napolean Hill, “what you conceive and believe, you can achieve.”
I believe health is a gift. Our body is a gift and our mind is a gift. They’re life’s greatest gifts and they require constant care. They deserve constant care. I’m not going to claim to have all the answers here. I don’t think I ever will. I hope I never do. Even so, I’m going to share my current efforts in each.
Body 2018: Disclaimer: this section is pretty "meathead," but hey it’s about the body, so that’s kind of hard to avoid. My 2018 body focus is on strength and mobility. I stopped running on January 1, 2018 (knee/back pain), and am focused primarily on bodyweight training. I love the simplicity and functional strength developed. I've also become almost entirely dedicated to App training. My two primary Apps are Freeletics (strength) and Asana Rebel (mobility). (Side note – the Asana Rebel tagline is “Feel Sexy & Healthy” and one of the workouts is called Bikini Flow – don’t judge me).
I’ve also come to realize exercise is a very small piece of the body equation. I now focus on lifestyle. I’m 21 days into an Eat, Move, Sleep workflow. It’s inspired by Tom Rath, but I made up the program myself. Some of the elements include:
Eat - No grains or legumes, or added sugar of any kind (beer, bread, rice, peanuts.. ouch)
Move - 6 days a week (Freeletics, Asana Rebel, other)
Sleep - 7-9 hours a night (easier said than done)
Mind 2018: Thanks to the digital age, learning has never been easier. The resources available for learning and people you can reach amazes me. I can’t personally call up Seth Godin and chat for 90 minutes, but I can listen to more than 30 podcasts where he answers in detail the questions I’d want to ask him if I could call him. Once more, I can even listen to his podcast (Akimbo), and I do. Aside from podcasting mentors, I can read the top 100 business books in a week on Blinkist. I can learn to edit video or optimize advertising on Skillshare, and I can learn story structure for free on Vimeo.
Although learning comes easy for me, my biggest challenge lies on the softer side of the mind. My attitude. My ability to focus on what I can control. My ability to focus period. Easing tension, relaxing, and being present can all be trained. Here lies the part of my mind that needs the most practice, and the area I’m increasing my efforts. As of last week –yes, last week– I’ve been exploring answers through Stoicism, pioneered many moons again, but in my opinion incredibly applicable to the world we live in today. One stoic thought I’ve already embraced is “to keep your mind in good shape just as you do your body.”
What a word. I'll likely continue my quest for WELLNESS until it's time to check out of this beautiful thing called life.
This constitutes my second post for the WESTERN WRITERS LEAGUE. You can (and should) read other works from colleagues as follows:
Workday by Mario Schulzke