More to Wellness Than Fitbits and Gym Memberships
Written by Founder and CEO, Sara Potler LaHayne
Creating a healthy self is something I pride myself in. I started on my journey to health with the recommended healthy eating and exercise. After committing to a more physically fit lifestyle, I instantly felt better about myself. Exercise became a hobby, and I enjoyed seeing the progress that my commitment created. After runs I felt exhilarated and my eyes were opened to the power of a good quinoa. Although my physical body felt wonderful, there was no workout or diet that could fix how I felt after a tough day at work. Stress is a battle that people face everywhere (approximately 80% of U.S. workers, but who’s counting?). Once I found a way to manage my stress and negative emotions, I unlocked a new level of wellbeing.
We create workout schedules that ensure our legs are as strong as our arms so we’re not weak in any specific area, right? By treating the mind as a part of the physical body my focus on fitness shifts to a new type of workout. My body is only as useful as my mind allows it to be. By training my body from the inside out I achieve the highest performance from both my mental and physical bodies.
There is no Pilates class for the brain, so how does one achieve mental and emotional health? The key is being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling. Taking charge of my emotions, rather than letting them consume me, has lead me to live a less stressful life overall. Now I spend less time worrying about all of the tasks that I have to complete, and spend more time on life.
I started my journey to a healthier mind with an 8-week Mindful-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course which taught me to improve my ability to deal with stress in a healthy way through meditation practices. I don’t cross my legs and close my eyes during the middle of a meeting, but the class has shown me how to incorporate mental wellbeing into my day-to-day routine. Releasing mental tension creates a release of the tension in my physical body. The relation between my mental and physical body adds a new element to my current fitness program that doesn’t leave me sore the next day.
My body could be trained to perfection, but it still won’t be able to perform to its best abilities if my mind is being impacted by stress. 77% of Americans reported feeling physical symptoms of stress within the past month. The physical symptoms included:
• Fatigue (51%)
• Headache (44%)
• Upset Stomach (34%)
• Muscle Tension (30%)
Even the most toned muscles may be hindered if one doesn’t manage their stress correctly. By harnessing the energy from stress to use in a positive manner, I create a better mindset, leading to a better performance in all aspects of my life.
When I reflect upon the progress I’ve made in terms of my health, it does not stop at the calories burned or the time I cut off my mile. I look at the way I am able to handle tense situations without letting the stress of the situation affect my personal life. I look at how my mental health improves my physical health. I look at how I remain calm when the line at Starbucks is longer than my patience. A Fitbit cannot always measure health, because wellness is more than a gym membership.