Conquering the Exercise Demon
We all know we "should" exercise. Most of us mean to do it. But more often than not, it's a real struggle to fit the activity into your already overly busy life. That's why I call it the Exercise Demon. It's constantly nagging at you, making you feel guilty. Or at least, that's one way to look at it.
I want to encourage you to look at exercise in a new way. Since coaching is a "should-free zone," I encourage you to look for ways to create inspiration, motivation, and desire for exercise.
An important thing to know about being highly sensitive is that you process energy differently from the rest of the population. It affects you more and you are sensitive to it; you are aware of the unseen energies and forces around you. You've probably heard that exercise strengthens your body, improves your physical health, and enhances your mental and emotional state as well. But exercise also supports you on a deep energetic and spiritual level, by allowing you to process and release much of the energy that you experience. In fact, exercising is a fundamental cornerstone to successful sensitive living. This self-care power tool will ground you, center you, help you clear away stagnant energy, keep your intuitive radio receivers functioning optimally, and help you strengthen your energetic boundaries.
Here are a few thoughts about ways to make exercise work for you:
1. Make It Spiritual
Tune into your spirit. As much as you may wrestle with getting yourself to exercise, I suspect that deep down you long for it. My own spirit CALLS me to it. I'm constantly getting inner urges to get outside, go dancing, or go horseback riding. My habit has been to ignore that inner guidance, with "I'm too busy right now," or "I'll do it later." The new choice now is to listen to that guidance, and to trust and follow it as the divine wisdom that it is.
Try this: Each morning upon waking up, say: "Divine Spirit, move me." I have found that it is a quite literal prayer. Each day I find myself drawn to movement that inspires my spirit. Let your spirit be your guide.
Sensitives also seem most satisfied and motivated by exercise with a spiritual aspect. For example, exercise activities that I find to be spiritual include yoga, walking in nature, martial arts, and Qigong, among others.
How is your spirit calling you?
2. Make It Joyful
From another perspective, ANY kind of exercise that lights up your spirit and brings you joy is spiritual. Sonia Choquette says, "Don't live a spiritual life, but a spirited one." I believe that when you find exercise joyful it is much easier to feel inspired and motivated to do it. For me, right now, what's inspiring is reformer pilates and horseback riding. In the past it was fitness boxing. In these activities, my mind, heart, body, and soul are all engaged -- and that makes it joyful for me.
Another way to create joyful exercise is to engage with others. I love walking with my sweetie or a close friend and having time to talk. That also fills my spirit with joy.
My recent favorite trick is to download podcasts of my favorite online radio shows from Hay House Radio onto my little mp3 player and listen while I walk. It's a great excuse to listen to uplifting guidance while getting my body in motion.
What brings you joy?
3. Make It Easy
If you're like many sensitives, you have to find ways to make exercising so easy that it's hard NOT to do it. For me, that looks like taking classes where I have to pay for the class whether I show up or not, or where I'm so involved with learning new material that I wouldn't miss it for the world.
For some sensitives, finding ways to exercise at home with DVDs or videos is the ticket. One of my clients recently purchased a portable DVD player so she can work out at her office during lunch in a back room. Some people leave their work clothes at the gym so they have to work out on their way to the office. Build it into your schedule; make it a part of your life so that you don't even have to think about it.
What would make it easy for you?
4. Make It Creative
Don't forget that there are lots of ways to move our bodies besides going to a gym. As a sensitive soul, you have a creative spirit. Let it be your guide in creating an exercise plan that is unusual and interesting. For instance, do you love to tango? That counts! Gardening is another way to be physical.
My spirit LOVES variety. So do lots of HSPs. Many of us are INFPs or ENFPs in the Myers-Briggs temperament typology; variety is our middle name. Right now I am working up my exercise approaches to include a variety of activities to keep my mind and spirit engaged. In addition to horseback riding and pilates, I'm also walking. I've just started exploring my "Budokon for Beginners" DVD and love it. Cajun dancing and yoga are next on my add-back-in list. I'm just out of practice.
Others prefer grounded, stable, consistent routines. That's OK, too! But if you're feeling uninspired by routine, look for creative ways to bring exercise into your life.
What unusual exercise methods might inspire you?
In conquering your Exercise Demon, remember to let your spirit guide you and light you up inside. Be creative. Find new ways to get your body moving. And remember: Doing anything physical is a whole lot more than zero. Don't let that perfectionistic streak stop you. Get out there and play!
Here are some favorite resources that I use:
||"AM and PM Yoga" -- Two 20-minute yoga workouts that are simple, easy, and doable for beginners.
||"Budokon for Beginners" -- A great workout that combines yoga, martial arts, and meditation.
||Creative Zen Nano mp3 player -- A great little mp3 player. Take a look at the different options for storage capacity. Mine is 1 GB and holds about 40 Hay House podcasts at one time. This one is 512 MB.
||Hay House Radio -- Radio shows "for your soul."
||iTunes -- Has free software to help you download online radio podcasts.