How to Set Your Mind to Improve Your Fitness Levels - Part II
Moving on from the first blog on the mind-body connection — and how the development of your conscious awareness of self affects your physiology, health and general happiness, I thought in this blog we’d dive right down deep into getting you to understand just how powerful your thoughts are, when it comes to any kind of fitness.
As a starting point, let’s look at movement and what it does for us. We know the mind responds to sport very well, increasing cognitive function, more so than reading a book or playing mind games. We also know that verbal communication with someone we don’t know, has a proven positive neurological benefit. So combining the two is good for maintaining and developing cognative wellbeing.
Many people don’t want to think about their mind, or any part of their identity, as it is wrapped up with a general fear of psychology, almost like knowing one’s self is like unravelling who we really are. Thus — ‘ignorance is bliss’ is the preferred option so the level of awareness we have on a day to day basis is very low. Awareness is not our educational ability or our ability to process logically, which is left brain dominant, it’s a higher level of thought moving towards creativity, connectivity, intuition, and empathetic understanding.
When it comes to ballet or figure skating, you can identify dancers that are left-brain dominant, for whilst they are technically proficient, they lack the creative spark and ability to connect with the audience on an emotional and energetic level. This is the difference between a good dancer and a great dancer. Without being too bias , this is what I saw in Asta when I first met her, in contrast to others I’d seen. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to discover and study the mind of a premier ballerina and find out what exactly is the difference between an average person and a pro athlete. No that does not mean I’ve looked at Asta like a lab rat, but with an objective mind.
The first time I saw her perform on the West End stage, I was taken by the grace of moment she had, as were those who were sitting around me, who had been following her career. Her long legs were a great asset, but is was her absolute focus and immersion into the part she was playing that was transmitted. As with any good actor, she was not just playing a role, she was Sleeping Beauty, and the audience believed she was.
When it comes to getting what we want in life, we can learn a lot from successful people — or those who reach the top of their game. It’s easy to be jealous and envy high achievers, but the truth is they have just found their purpose in life and it is their passion, where as most of us never do. These are the two fundamentals of their success; as having a purpose or a destiny if you like pulls you forward, and combining it with passion energises you.
Most people have not found their purpose, thus they lack direction and certainly lack energy, however by being around people who have the two P’s we can feed off their positivity and learn from it. The alternative is to just live in a mediocre world where our true potential is denied to us — by us — or rather the limits of our thinking, not by anyone else.
Of course we have to be realistic in certain ways... when I wanted to be a singer years ago when I left school, unfortunately no one came forward to say I sounded like a cat being strangled. I believed in something that was not going to be physically possible, as my vocal cords weren’t set up that way and my ear was unrealistic — and we have to be a realist, but that does not mean making excuses. Many people who are over-weight say they can’t help it or they are big boned, but the truth is they are just deceiving themselves. The challenge is the first mental step, the first hurdle of making a choice and sticking by it to change your life and be a better version of yourself, after life has sent you the other way.
Then the question is —why should you work on your body or your mind for that matter, what difference does it really make. Well, putting well-being, quality of life aside for a moment, just having the prospect of a longer life and being happier is a good start. But as physical and mental decline is all so drawn out across the years, we tend to want to hide, make excuses and use distractions to take our minds off what we could be and should be doing, to maintain the vehicle that is our body and mind.
Let’s be truthful, most people don’t care what they put in their bodies in the form of food, or in their minds in the form of thought. Both create chemicals in the body and the mind, and both affect our emotional states, and have long term repercussions on our ability to deal with the health issues we face. Just eating what seems healthy food isn’t enough, as even the spinach we buy at the local supermarket has been found to have 27 pesticides on it. What we need to do is fire up the metabolism so it can burn off anything, so nothing stays in too long to leach into our bodies.
Being physically fit means making the right choices, and often they are hard choices to start, as being lazy is something we can all enjoy — just so-long as it doesn’t become habit, as the mind loves habit. Creating positive and progressive habits are essential to achieving success in whatever we do, but it’s also remembering that success isn’t just a destination, success comes as an amalgamation of successful days, where successful choices outweighed the poor ones.
To be a professional dancer requires high levels of commitment and dedication, but also a high level of natural talent; however this is not to say we cannot strive to be better at what we do as everyday people. When it comes to consciousness, over the years I’ve researched exactly how we can develop higher levels of awareness and creativity through challenging the internal adopted beliefs we suffer as well as changing our environment. Both of them are equally important, as you have to change both inside and outside to see real progressive and permanent change.
To understand yourself, is the first step to becoming who you can be in life, because once you know how you mind and body work, and why you work the way you do, you can then understand others better. You can understand life better, and know what you are here for. To some that may sound a bit spiritual, and that is exactly what it is. For those who just inhabit a mind and a body and think they are the vehicle, then they are denied the true experience life really is. They think they are the experience. But it is your higher self that is the observer of life through the vehicle of your mind and body, and the better condition you keep them in — the better your life experience.
If you bought a nice new Audi or BMW, would you let it go to rot, or service it to keep it in good condition for your journey. After all, your life depends on the condition of your vehicle whenever you travel.
It’s exactly the same with your body and your mind. Look after them and they will look after you, and if you don’t know where your going in life — get a sat nav, in life it’s called a good coach or trainer, one who knows the way and will get you where you want to go very quickly and effectively.