I knew we were in for a tough workout when the instructor said, “Don’t listen to your brain. It will tell you to stop when you feel tired. Listen o your body and don’t stop until it can’t do any more.”
My first thought was of the times I’ve reprimanded for something with the sentence, “Why can’t you just use your brain.” I guess this wasn’t one of those times!
As the class progressed fatigue set in and I realized I had automatically slowed down. The earlier words of the instructor echoed in my mind and I paid more attention to what my body was capable of. With a little conscious effort, I was able to intensify my workout.
What a revelation! I was capable of doing a lot more than I thought I could.
How could this apply to other areas of my life?
I brought to mind times I was hurt by the words or actions of someone I trusted. My brain said to keep my distance so I wouldn’t experience the pain again. My heart told me to offer forgiveness and restore the relationship.
Another example was when I tried something new and didn’t achieve the success others had. My brain told me I couldn’t do it and would just fail again.
The fear of embarrassment held me back until I decided to listen to the positive voice inside. The voice of faith told me the more I worked at this, the better I would get. It was right and again I achieved more than I thought possible.
I have learned life works best when I not only listen to my brain but also pay attention to what my body and my heart are telling me.
I was listening to a speaker who specializes in resiliency training. She told us resilience is the ability to bounce back.
Among the factors that enter into this are goals, intentions, mindset, mental and physical energy. A good reminder to take care of ourselves in all these areas came from her statement, “You are your number one asset.” The part of her presentation I found most interesting had to do with the practice of exercising our minds. I learned that when we do something differently we are creating new neural pathways. This is the equivalent of a gym workout for our brains.
Now, here comes the exciting news. When we exercise our brains we actually burn more calories. An example of this was that walking backwards burns ten times as many calories as walking forwards!
In other words, when I try something new, it’s good for me physically and mentally.
I think of all the times I chose to remain in my safe little comfort zone rather than stretching out of it to try new things. Little did I know how much was at stake. Not only was it more difficult to bounce back from the setbacks in life, I was robbing both my brain and my body of stimulation they needed to keep me healthy.
The next time I’m tempted to play it safe, I think I’ll walk backwards, create some new neural pathways and rethink that decision!
“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.” Charles Swindoll