“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
God has created human beings with marvelous complexity. Each aspect of our being (body, mind, soul) works in concert with all the other parts. God has also created us to interact with one another for our well-being. Consider these five guidelines from fitness instructor Chris Atkins the next time you are wondering what to do to care for your physical well-being. They take into account your body, mind and connection with key people.
Working with Mind, Body and Friendships for Physical Well-being
- Learn to breathe. Do you notice how you breathe throughout the day? Like most people, your breathing is probably shallow. Shallow breathing can lead to an increase in stress hormone production and the “fight or flight” response. Breathing more deeply through your diaphragm helps to reduce stress hormone activity. It also calms the body and mind, slows your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep and allows you to manage stressful situations more calmly.
- Listen to your body. Our bodies give us feedback about our current state of health and wellness, but we often fail to pay attention. How do you feel after your typical meal? Do you feel tired and sluggish or light and energized? Listening to your body is not only helpful for regulating a healthy diet, but also in ensuring adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night) and recovery from intense workouts and other stresses of life. Instead of listening to our bodies, we often ignore the symptoms of an underlying issue. For example, many of us overuse caffeine to function during the day instead of addressing more significant underlying issues that might be causing fatigue.
- Train your body and your mind will follow. Challenging workouts help us learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This develops a level of mental toughness and self-confidence that expands our capacity for dealing with the daily stresses of our personal and professional lives. When we accomplish things that we didn’t think were possible, we will gain healthy self-confidence which will spill over to other facets of our lives.
- Dream BIG, make a plan and DO the work. It is never too late to dream a new dream. Would you like to do a triathlon? Would you like to lose 50 pounds and be able to chase your grandkids around? The difference between a dream and a goal is setting forth a detailed plan on how you are going to work towards your goal. If you are unsure on how to do that, find a qualified coach or trainer to help. Then comes the hard part: doing the work. Motivational speaker Jocko Willink puts it this way, “You need to get on the path and stay on the path—the path that leads to the positive transformations. And the path of Discipline is the only way. Discipline Equals Freedom.”
- Surround yourself with allies. We are influenced by the company that we keep. Choose your friends/confidants wisely. Find people who will support your efforts and who will not try to sabotage your new healthy lifestyle. Practically speaking, look for people with the same goals and do your workouts together.
See the following articles for additional information about physical well-being:
Guest physical contributor: Chris Atkins of Atkins Health & Fitness
Executive editor: Russ Gunsalus
Curator of content: Dave Higle