A lot is expected of of people today, and due to the demands of a pressured career, health is often something that gets overlooked.
In general life coaching sessions, when I first meet a client, I ask them to make a values hierarchy. In NLP a value is a feeling – either of something we want more of, or something we want to move away from, e.g. less stress, more stability etc. People are at their happiest when they are living to their own personal values. I play a game with my clients saying that if the client could only have one of these feelings what would it be?...and then another, and so on until we have a list of about ten. Then, nine times out of ten, I say ‘what about feeling healthy’ or ‘not feeling unwell’. ‘Oh yea! I forgot!’. The exercise is often repeated and health often comes very close to the top, if not at the top. Because the truth is, if you don’t feel well, it’s almost impossible to enjoy all of the other values.
Do we take our health for granted?
So why does health so often get left off the list? One reason is that many people have negative beliefs about exercise – often formed at school – ‘I don’t do exercise’, ‘it’s just not me’. These statements become part of your identity and can go unquestioned for years, rearing their heads whenever the topic comes up – these rules become an easy alternative to thinking things through and coming to reasoned decisions. If you ‘don’t do exercise’, you have the perfect answer to any exercise related question without ever having to think about it! Ask yourself – are those beliefs really relevant today? Would I not enjoy any type of exercise, ever? Often, with a bit of loosening, you realise that it’s a belief formed very early in life that has held you back ever since.
What else? Another reason is that health in our society has become synonymous with looks and weight. This can be very off-putting for some people, particularly if you’re not into starving yourself, or dying your skin another colour, or being injected with potent poisons. However, if you think of it in terms of a value, feeling healthy, it can often change your mind.
Anything else? Perhaps the most important reason we tend to ignore our health is we don’t really notice it till it’s gone – subconsciously we think we’ve got all the time in the world, and can certainly get away with those bad habits for a few more years.
Gradually declining health can be very subtle, and before you know it, you’ve got a struggle on your hands. However, there are signs. Ill
health will affect your working life and performance in your career because your body and your mind work in harmony – they are all
part of the same system. Exercise is actually a perfect way to switch off your brain for a while and recharge.
Things to watch out for – poor concentration, feeling sluggish and tired all the time, loss of appetite or ‘comfort eating’, frequent mild headaches, aches and pains in your back, shoulders and neck, unexplained tearfulness, irritability – there are lots more, but you get the picture.
So what? If you know that feeling healthy, or not feeling unhealthy is one of your values, you will be happier if you work towards that in your life. This needn’t involve massive change – you don’t need to run a marathon next month, you can do small things to bring more healthy feelings into your life.