I'm a big believer in whole-person wellness. I think the physical aspects of health are just as important as the mental, emotional, and spiritual ones. And I believe that all of them interconnect and overlap in many different ways.
I just recently went through a significant weight loss (around 40 pounds). During the process (and ongoingly), I listened to health podcasts and talked with my health coach. Certain concepts really stuck with me. Now, I'm doing the hard work of maintaining the weight loss and striving to live out some healthier actions. To assist with that, I've turned those concepts into affirmations (a word loaded with connotations, so please let me define it as short statements that encourage positive thinking).
Today, I want to share with you some affirmations about physical wellness, thus connecting two of the four areas - mental and physical.
1 | "I'm not just visiting this healthy body, I'm living in it."
When you go through a major life change, it takes a little time to get comfortable in your own skin again. It's a little like getting a new tool or piece of software - you have to familiarize yourself with it before you are able to use it efficiently.
When you make the decision to live a healthy lifestyle, that might begin with losing weight (as it did for me), but after that, you find yourself in a new body - learning a new piece of software, as it were. How do you live in it? What does your daily life look like? What are your new habits and goals? What thoughts will you think to stimulate and grow your health?
"I'm not just visiting this healthy body, I'm living in it" is a really good thought to focus on. You may not consciously think that you're just visiting your new, healthier body, but this sentence helps you take conscious ownership of it. It is yours. It's your job to maintain and care for it.
2 | "I care about this body that I am trying to heal."
In our efforts to "get healthy," I think we often discover that we need to heal from past wounds and harmful thought patterns. As our physical bodies change, old memories come up that can sabotage our efforts. One of the ways we can counteract these attacks is with lots of self-care, lots of positive self-talk, and lots of surrounding ourselves with supporters. We can take the time to be intentionally nice to ourselves. Here are a few ways to take care of yourself and aid the healing process:
- Soak in an Epsom salt bath
- Get a massage
- Plan something really fun with someone you really like (not someone you think you ought to like or something everyone else thinks is fun)
- Spend time outside
- Plant a garden or tend just one plant
- Make a cup of hot tea, snuggle into a comfy chair, and read a good book or magazine
- Write your feelings in a journal - one that is private and free from judgment
3 | "Health is a lifelong journey that requires daily steps."
We've all heard the phrase "going viral" in this social-media-crazed society we live in. Someone can become famous overnight when their YouTube video or Instagram picture strikes a chord with tens, then hundreds, then thousands, and perhaps millions of people around the globe. But just as quickly, those 15 minutes of fame are over and the person is usually back to being "that one guy whose little brother bit his finger."
Our health efforts can be like this, if we aren't diligent. If you view it as a 'health kick' or just trying to lose X pounds for X event, then your results will be short-lived. BUT if you think of your health as a journey, and one that you take steps along daily, you'll have a much more realistic grasp on the truth.
4 | "It is ok to make mistakes."
Spoiler alert: we will make mistakes on our health journey, just like we make mistakes in the rest of life. Hopefully, you'll realize your mistakes quickly and return to the healthy course, but sometimes you might find yourself years into a mistake, needing a much larger mental and physical shift to get back on the right path. No matter what kind of mistake you find yourself in, it is never too late to chart a new course and head back in the right direction. You may have to deal with some of the consequences of your previous actions, but that doesn't mean you can't overcome them.
5 | "Losing weight is just problem solving; it's not the same as creating health."
It's relatively easy to lose weight. There are lots of ways to do it and lots of programs to try. Sure, it takes discipline, sacrifice, and commitment, but most of us have enough willpower to stick with it for at least a little while. The hard part is not the losing part, the hard part is maintenance and the pursuit of health for the long haul. It's the daily decisions to make healthy choices when you're hungry, tired, grumpy, sad, happy, you fill in the blank... that are more difficult.
Health is not merely the absence of illness or disease any more than being blonde is the absence of being brunette. It includes being able to live a full life, thriving instead of merely surviving. It is also the ability to recover quickly from illness and other life stressors.
Usually, I'm not a huge fan of government-sanctioned health initiatives or definitions, but I thought this was a pretty good one:
"[Health is] a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities." ~World Health Organization, 1986
6 | "Screw new year's resolutions - make new DAY resolutions."
Excuse the strong(ish) language, but I wanted this one to stick in your mind. I'm pretty sure this concept isn't a new one to you. By now, we've heard stats about how 80% of all new year's resolutions fail by February, and 92% fail overall, period. This ties into the same line of thinking that says, "Well, I ate that doughnut for breakfast, so I might as well eat my weight in tacos for lunch and have a couple of large pizzas for dinner since I blew it today."
Think back to #4 above - "It is ok to make mistakes"...but don't wallow in them. Instead, resolve to return to your health path ASAP.
Vocabulary lesson: "Resolution" comes from the word "Resolve." Resolve means to decide firmly on a course of action. A resolution is the quality of being determined or the action of solving a problem. A resolution is the doing of the thing. So, every day, resolve to live a healthy lifestyle. Make each new day a resolution to live a lifestyle.
7 | "I might be going through a demo day, but demolition comes before restoration."
I love me some HGTV. We don't have cable at home, so anytime we spend the night at a hotel, the first thing we do is find HGTV and the channel never changes. One of my favorite shows on HGTV is Fixer Upper - big surprise, right? I just know that Jo and I are destined to be friends...best friends.
Anyway, I have dreams of someday having a fixer upper of my own and helping with the demolition. I have a desire to smash things (is that weird?). Here's the thing, demolition comes before restoration. Before that ugly shack with the torn and pee-stained carpet, wood paneled walls, and matchbox kitchen can turn into the most coveted home in the neighborhood, the junk has to be removed - sometimes down to the studs.
Demo day looks fun on home improvement shows, but it's not as fun when it needs to be done inside our minds and hearts. What in your life needs restoration? What needs to be demo-ed in order for that to happen? Bad habits? Detrimental relationships? Unforgiveness toward yourself or others? Old thought patterns? Maybe all of the above to one extent or another?
Pick Your Affirmation(s)
Reread these seven affirmations. Which ones might you need to write down and purposefully say to yourself every day?
I hope that as you speak them to yourself, they begin to sow into your mind the seeds of change.