Funny how often I talk and write about headspace when my work revolves around the body. The more I work on bodies, though, the more I learn just how symbiotic the relationship is between the head and the heart.
Whether you’re a metaphysical thinker or not, there are few who will deny that a positive attitude helps the body behave the way you want it to behave. Thinking about getting well helps your body overcome a cold much faster than dwelling on the sickness; imagining your body as light and fast makes a run fly by with some enjoyment, whereas focusing on being heavy and sluggish makes each step a burden.
Peel it back another layer. Are there barriers to your physical health that a deeper dive into your mind might help bring down? One thing I didn’t expect as a trainer was how much of my job would be acting as a therapist. I’ve come to cherish this aspect of my work. Not every trainer will go there, of course. And not every client wants to go there. To me, though, talking through a workout can mean chatting to keep your mind off the hard work you’re doing, or—and often—having epiphanies every now and again about why you can’t stop eating the chips, or why you don’t like to run, or even why you got overweight in the first place. Sometimes figuring some of these things out leads to spillover epiphanies, like “My friend’s strange behavior might be a reaction to my successful loss of weight. It’s her problem! It’s not me!” This happens a lot, because changing your lifestyle by adding more exercise can equate to a more positive overall attitude—and the people who were attracted to your old, woe-is-me personality won’t always be the same people you’ll attract to your new and improved, happier personality. There’s a lot of psychology going on there… and it’s important to talk about it.
Sometimes I even recommend that people who embark on a particularly huge lifestyle-changing exercise routine see a true therapist at the same time. Your head and your heart depend on each other, so it’s important to keep them in simultaneous working order. Don’t take the head stuff lightly—taking a closer look at what’s going on in there could be just the thing to get you to the next level in your physical fitness.