By Jessica Desgagnes
Buddha said: “Life is suffering”. Not misery.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when I had convinced myself that I didn’t have to work at something to grow beyond whatever a 9-5 shift – or 19:00-2:00 – was bringing to my life, but it was apparent when I looked around me that I had.
I do, however, remember the day I decided to try something that I had dismissed.
An acquaintance had posted on social media that she was looking for a gym partner to join her for partner personal training at a fitness studio that offered small group training and for whatever reason, I decided to give it a shot. Did I believe I could do “it”? Nope. I was merely open to the possibility. I maintain the choice to show up is the hardest part, and continues to be, because the mind has the capacity to crush us more than any barbell can.
“I can’t do a push-up” – honestly though, I hadn’t the strength to do one, not even from my knees – reframed, became: “I can do a push-up with my hands on the wall.”
Maybe it was easier in the short term to feed that negative energy because it was what I knew. I’d been unwittingly doing it for years. The “I can’ts” are just one example of myriad voices I battle in my head. Not-so-breaking-news: I’m not so unique that I don’t share the same thoughts loads of people around me do. The difference is acknowledging the negative thoughts and choosing to challenge them.
Making regular exercise part of my lifestyle is a tool that translates to battling negative thoughts in other areas of my life as well. It’s as if that extra push to get just one more squat in when I think that I have nothing else left in me and the instant “kick” that comes with surprising myself builds strength of body and mind.
I combat negative thoughts via my yoga practice as well. Perhaps in part because my work is physically demanding, I find myself gravitating toward Yin yoga in particular; it is quite literally the match to my yang. It’s how I give myself time for introspection. I am increasingly learning to respond to situations rather than react, or lash out, if you will.
When I give in to negative thought patterns – and I must emphasize give in -, I increasingly hinder my potential; I cage myself. When I choose to challenge my fears (which are often a product of low self-esteem) with each seemingly miniscule personal milestone my confidence grows. When my mind and body are healthier, I can better serve myself, my inner circle, and my community at large. Neuroplasticity is real: build your mind, create your life.
I would love to read your stories on the MoFitness community Facebook page! We can all afford to learn from each other.