Do you want to become a Super Hero? I know that’s an odd question to ask, but consider the possibilities for a minute. Growing up, most of us idolized a superhero. This could be a star athlete, a cartoon character or maybe just a mere mortal with special powers. Those superheroes all embodied characteristics that we all can identify with or want to identify with. What does being a superhero mean to you? Does it mean you can fly like Superman? Does it mean you can be something greater than yourself like Batman? Do you want the super power of resilience to bounce back from near defeat to win the big game? It’s fun to think about how life would be different with a super power like flying or super strength, but are there superpowers that are attainable by us mere mortals?
That’s a fun question to tackle because super powers are usually reserved for the movies and comic books. Obviously, I’m not here to tell you I can teach you how to fly or anything crazy like that, but I am here to show you that there are lifestyle changes that we can all make that can change our lives for the better. Things that we can change to make us a better father, mother, brother or sister. I’m not sure about you, but for me, lifestyle change is an overused statement that most don’t really know what it means. So ask yourself, what does it mean to you? To me, it means I’m making a change for the better. It means I’ve evaluated certain parts of my life and want to change them. Or even better, there are things that I want to add to my current lifestyle to make life that much more enjoyable. About six years ago, the trainers at Fitness Together CCWP chose to start walking the walk. We started to train five to six days a week. Now that was one of the best things we could have ever done. We changed our lifestyle to allow us to work out that often. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Don’t worry this post is not about getting more consistent with our workout, although that is one of the best changes to your current lifestyle, but I digress. Lifestyle change to me is about adding something positive that will make the biggest impact on your current lifestyle.
Making any change can seem daunting. We make these excuses that we do not want to change just yet or our spouse doesn’t want to make the same change. Whatever the excuse is, it may seem easier to put off change until later. What if I told you I have a way for you to find your superhero within? Are you at least interested in your super powers within? Or do you think I’m crazy? While you might be thinking this entire concept is crazy and that there is no way that anyone has super powers lurking beneath the surface, I firmly believe we all have that power within us. One of the easiest ways to channel the superhero within you is to control your own thoughts. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Your own thoughts. Are you wondering how you can control your thoughts? Let’s take a step back. First off, are you aware of your thoughts? Right now are you reading these words or have I bored you so much that you’re daydreaming? Got ya! Now before you continue to read on think about those thoughts. What are you thinking about?
What’s for lunch? Maybe I shouldn’t have yelled at the other driver on the way to work? Did I forget to tell my child to have a great day today? Were you aware of those thoughts before I pointed them out to you? That’s the point right there. We’re so overstimulated these days from our busy lives and all of our devices that our minds never slow down. We never slow down. Our minds are very good at multitasking. No, I’m not saying that you are good at multitasking but your brain is. Now, what does this have to do with awakening your inner superhero? Well, sometimes those thoughts are so simple that we can just brush them off and move on with whatever we were doing prior to recognizing those thoughts. Other times those thoughts can be negative and side track us. They may sidetrack us from our work, our family or our life goals. These negative thoughts can be so bad that they may stop you from getting out of bed. They may stop you from reaching your weight loss goals. The point of writing this has nothing to do with positive self-talk. Although positive self-talk is one of the easiest ways to become motivated and reach your goals, that’s not the point. The point is recognizing those thoughts. Evaluating those thoughts. Then taking action on those thoughts. This can include tying our emotions to those thoughts. For example, we think about how we’re craving a donut. Before we go eat that donut, we realize we are not actually hungry, but in reality we’re anxious. Our anxiousness is the cause of the craving. Will we give in to the anxious craving or better yet let those thoughts leave our minds just as quickly as they came in.
That sounds easy, right? See the thought, be the thought, let the thought go. Boom! You’re done! Here’s to the better you! Sorry, it’s not that easy. I wish it was but it’s not quite that simple. If you know me I’m always trying new things and yes, I’m trying to channel my inner super powers. Yes, I’m trying this out for me but really I’m trying this out to help you as well. Let me answer that question brewing in your head, yes I can control my thoughts and yours. Well maybe just mine but at least I like to pretend I can control yours. Do you know how I control my thoughts? Meditation.
STOP thinking! Whatever thoughts just jumped into your head about meditation, let them go. Meditation conjures up all these images of monks sitting quietly humming ohmmm. My version of meditation and your version can and will be different than their version and that was the hardest part for me to accept. I’m not good at meditation. I have so many thoughts that it seems impossible to clear my head. I’ve tried mantras that you repeat. I’ve tried to sit silently and not think. What happens? You guessed it. More thoughts. So, how can you control your thoughts with meditation?
Just do it. That’s all. Find 5-30 minutes per day and just do it. I use a guided meditation app that has cues ever so often to bring you back to your breath. The biggest change for me was to accept that this isn’t about being the best meditator. This is a practice that is about sitting down and disconnecting for 15 minutes a day. I noticed a direct benefit to this practice after less than a week. I started to notice my anxiety before I tried a new task in life. I was able to recognize that I’m anxious and then I was able to understand the root of my anxiety. I started to notice my anger. I was able to recognize why I was angry. I started to notice my thoughts before I would say what I was thinking. So, how is this a super power? If you’re able to recognize your thoughts before they become actions then you will have more power over your actions. Then you’ll be able to control your reactions to others actions. This will improve your social interactions with other people which will allow you to live a more fulfilling life. Think about those moments in life when you lose your cool. Why did you lose your head? Like most of us, I’m sure it was just a reaction to the guy cutting us off on the highway or our children screaming NO, in our face. We lost our cool because we just reacted. Now if you have the ability to see those emotions a split second before you act on them, you can also learn to control these emotions. How different could those moments have been? The guy cuts you off and you recognize that anger and then just let it go. Then you’re not yelling at him through your windshield. Then that one interaction doesn’t ruin the rest of your day. How different would your reaction be to your child screaming? I bet it would go a lot better when you’re able to control your emotions which in turn affects your actions.
Yes, there are still moments in my day that I lose control and just react, but that’s because I’m still working on it. It’s a skill that one must work on for years. The coolest part, you can see the immediate impact of just trying to control your thoughts. Get over all the roadblocks, all those reasons why you haven’t started yet and all those excuses. The sooner you start the sooner you will realize how you can control your thoughts and emotions in a way you didn’t think was possible. When you begin to get better at meditation and recognizing your thoughts then you’ll start to see what I’m talking about. How this new control really is a super power. We all have super powers within us we just need to tap into those. Once we do that we will have a much more fulfilling life.
Originally posted at Fitness Together Wash Park’s Blog