Imagine that you are sitting in the center of a football stadium that is packed with people. You’re down on the field, at your desk, minding your own business, with the crowd of people at a dull roar, and it’s fine.
Now imagine that the voice of one of the people in the crowd catches your attention. Your ear tunes into the conversation, and you’re distracted for a moment while you listen. You can hear them discussing what to have for lunch, and even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “ew, I don’t like that.”
Then you start thinking about all of the places you like to eat lunch and when you might go there and what you like to order. Before you know it, you’re texting a friend to make a date.
Turning back to your work, you hear another conversation in the back of the stadium. Someone is talking about something that someone else did. You listen, and then even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “that’s messed up. I wouldn’t do it that way. I would be mad if that happened to me.”
Then you hear another. And another. You get up and start offering advice to the people. You try to solve their problems. They begin to line up, and before you know it everyone in the stadium is crowding around you, asking what they should do and what you think about their situation, and you become absorbed in the melee.
By the end of the day you’re exhausted, but confused. You’ve been working really, really hard, but somehow none of your work got done. How could that be when you are so busy, and so tired?
Now let’s imagine a different scenario. You’re back at your desk in the football stadium, surrounded by the chattering crowd, but this time when a voice creeps into your awareness, you don’t listen. You notice it, say, “that happened,” and go back to your work without stopping to make an opinion about what you heard or investigate it further. You just notice that you heard it, acknowledge that it happened, and MYOB.
Now here is part of the story I did not reveal at the start. All of those chattering people in the stands? They are your thoughts. Hundreds of thousands of thoughts that come through your mind throughout the day, asking your opinion. But the reality is that only a fraction of them need any attention at all. In fact, you can allow the majority of them to pass by you without even a glance.
You can sit in the center of the stadium, with the hum of thoughts buzzing around you, knowing that they are chattering, and not stop to decide what you think. You may discover that by releasing yourself from the job of being the Decider of All Things actually frees up your mind and energy for the things that actually matter.
Give it a try this week! Sit in the stadium, wave to the crowd once in a while, and let them have conversations with each other without your input. When your important work is done, go mingle with them. You may find that they’ve solved all of their problems without you, and things are actually nice and quiet in there.
Your thoughts want your attention, but they don’t need it. Give them a nod and MYOB!
A recent conversation with a client was the most fun I’ve had at work in quite a while. She had set a goal of exercising three to four times a week, which had been a challenge because she had a busy job and was exhausted at the end of the day, when she had chosen to workout. But, she had lost 60 pounds with nutrition changes, and wanted to add in exercise so she could continue to lose weight and tone and strengthen her muscles.
I was a little nervous about her goal because I thought maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew. But, a couple of weeks later, she checked in with great success! I asked her what the trigger was that got her from the couch and up working out. Her answer was so simple and so awesome: I just love how I feel when I do.
She went on to tell me that even when she had a long day at work and was really tired, she exercised because she knew she would feel better right away.
I wanted to clarify this point and make sure I understood exactly what she was saying, so I asked her to confirm what I heard: the results from exercising were immediate, positive, and attainable. Yes, she said. They were.
I was floored. This was fantastic news! Just a few weeks prior, she had been frustrated that her progress had stalled, and she was at a crossroads for what to do. She was confused, because she was still working hard but her body wasn’t changing as much as it was before. She sighed and confessed, “I know, I want instant results. I need to give it time.”
But now she was positively giddy, telling me that exercising made her feel so good right away that she was looking forward to her workouts after a long day at work. It was not possible for her to have a bigger smile on her face.
We are at the half-way point of this crazy year, and a lot feels uncertain and scary. But, we have more control over how we feel than we think. We have access to tools that can help us feel better right away.
Chief among those is the immediate benefit of feeling great through exercise, which my client was enjoying every single day. When the world’s problems seem like more than we can handle, sometimes the best thing we can do is feel better, because feeling better is not overrated. In fact, feeling better makes it easier for us to be part of the solution!
Worried about diabetes? Exercise reduces insulin levels in your blood and improves your insulin sensitivity. That means you and your brain are better able to partner up to notice when you are full and don’t need to keep eating.
Feeling stuck on a project at work? Exercise helps with neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells. A walk and some fresh air can lead to more clarity of thought, productivity, and energy to work.
Exercise is proven to boost our mood to the point where we can alleviate symptoms of clinical depression. Just thirty minutes a few times a week can make a difference. But don’t just stroll around. Work up a good sweat and get your heart and lungs pumping! Get your money’s worth!
Feeling a little low on self-confidence? Battling anxiety? Go and do a strength-training workout or join an exercise class. Exercise can boost self-esteem and improve body image, making you feel like a million bucks. And when you feel good, you look good. More instant benefits! Could this get any better? You betcha.
Not only does exercise immediately make you feel amazing, raise your intellect, and make it easier to eat healthy, it burns calories, which leads to weight loss. Yes! You can even lose weight, on top of feeling great whenever you want to. Oh, and exercise also lowers your blood pressure, enhances sleep quality, reduces cholesterol…should I go on?
My client and I were laughing and cheering over the phone as we marveled in her discovery. Happiness, relaxation, lower stress…it was all attainable within minutes and completely in her control. In fact, the two things that were guaranteed to bring her a lifetime of happiness were two things she had complete control over: what she ate and whether or not she exercised. Instant gratification was sitting right next to her this whole time.
It’s sitting next to you, too. You can join her and feel amazing today. Right now! I hope you will, and that your smile will not be able to get bigger. You deserve to feel great. What are you waiting for?
P.S. If you're looking for daily motivation, I go LIVE in my private, members-only Facebook group every morning at 8:30am to help YOU get each day started on the right foot. Join us in The Good Life!
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!