By Nordine Zouareg | CONTRIBUTOR |
“ The power of your Intention is your life force; it is what connects you to your higher self.”
– Nordine Zouareg
May is Mental Health Awareness month and also a great opportunity to share powerful tools to help you create equilibrium between the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life. Here is an extract from my first book Mind Over Body: The Key to Lasting Weight Loss Is All in Your Head.
“ The power of your intention is what allows you to match your behavior with what you truly want for yourself. Becoming mindful of your thoughts concerning your mental, physical, and emotional well-being is what will help you get in touch with that power. If, for example, you value yourself as a caring and gentle person, yet find yourself sitting behind the wheel of your car thoughtlessly screaming your head off at someone who has cut you off on the road, what are you being at that moment?
Certainly not the caring, gentle person you value. Similarly, if your intention is to be healthy, lose weight, and be full of energy, but your behavior shows that you are not exercising and constantly eating unhealthy foods, you are not being true to what you value and want in and for yourself.
Focusing on what you want for yourself until you feel it is a true core desire will unleash the magic within yourself that puts you in touch with the positive power of your intention—whether it is to be fit or to start a new relationship. And it is that power that will lead to your taking the positive actions that make your desire reality.
Dennis was one of the saddest, most out-of-shape people I’d ever met. His job was creating an enormous amount of stress. He had just come through an ugly, adversarial divorce, and he was in a precarious state financially. He’d been living with so much stress for so long that his overloaded brain was constantly releasing cortisol into his system, which meant that his body was in a perpetual state of fight or flight (as if he were permanently being chased by a tiger) and the creative part of his mind had literally shut down as he retreated into his emotional safety zone.
Now, in his mid-fifties, he was not only flabby around the middle, with no muscle tone to speak of, but his spirit had also sagged to the point where, as he told me, he felt completely worthless as a human being.
I sat down with Dennis, as I do with all my clients, to ask and answer the questions that would put him in touch with his true core desire—the very same questions I asked you to answer in the previous chapter. As we did this, it became clear that Dennis was simply sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and his deep, burning desire was to regain the sense of self-worth he’d had before the stresses of his job, his divorce, and his financial problems dragged him into such a negative pattern of feeling and doing.
He told me he knew that in order to turn things around he would first have to confront his fears and anxieties, and at that point I helped him to understand that everything he needed to make the changes he so deeply desired was already within him. In fact, he had no reason to be afraid, because no one could take away his capacity for happiness, which always comes from within.
What Are You Afraid Of?
I said in the previous chapter that we humans instinctively fear change and that even after you’ve identified your true core desire, you may be overcome by anxieties that override and undermine your ability to connect with it and feel the excitement you should be experiencing when you contemplate achieving your goal. When that happens, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself and confront what it is you’re afraid of losing.
Dennis had lost his sense of self (and self-worth) because his definition of self was based on external criteria. He was afraid of losing his job, losing his wife, and losing his money. Without those things, Dennis, in his own mind, was worthless, or worse yet, would cease to exist.
Because of that, his conscious mind was sending his unconscious a continuous stream of negative thoughts that were not only causing him undue, unnecessary stress but also were forcing him to expend all his energy fighting his fears.
If you define yourself and your happiness in terms of material goods or other people’s opinions, or anything in the external world that is beyond your control, you will always be afraid of losing them. I said earlier that no one else can motivate you, that you need to seek motivation within yourself, and the same holds true for finding happiness and achieving your true core desire.
To do that you need to shift your conscious thoughts so that you begin to feed your unconscious mind positive messages about yourself and the things that are really important to you.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nice home or a fancy car, but if you think having those things is the only way for you to be happy, you’ll always be so afraid of losing them that you’ll never be able to just enjoy having them.
If, on the other hand, you base your happiness on internal values, such as being a kind and loving person, seeking to make a difference in the world, living a life of integrity, you’ll know that what you have doesn’t define who you are, and you’ll actually get more pure pleasure out of having those possessions.
So, how does all this relate to your quest for achieving health and fitness? Your body is an expression of who you are and what you value. If you are like most of us, when you get up in the morning and head into the bathroom, you can’t help looking in the mirror.
What are your thoughts then? Are you satisfied with what you see or would you like to lose a little bit of this or a little of that? It doesn’t matter what it is you want; what matters is that you get to the core of your desire and define your value in terms of that desire.
Most people don’t look in the mirror and assess what they see in terms of their own health. They don’t “see” health. What they see is how they look in comparison to other people and what other people think of them. In other words, they are defining themselves based on external factors.
There’s is nothing wrong in being motivated by external factors such as looking good in your jeans (or looking better than your ex-husband’s girlfriend) if that works for you, but I would suggest that if you shift your thoughts so that you define your goal in terms of your own health and happiness—regaining control of your blood pressure, managing your stress, or running with your kids in the park—you will be getting in touch with the power of your intention as it relates to what you value in and for yourself, which will be much more likely to ensure that you achieve your goal.
Extract from Mind Over Body (Springboard Press)