William Shakespeare was quoted to say, “Our Bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners.”
When I read that quote, I paused and let the words sink in.
As I thought about my body being a garden, I considered how many people I’ve met, myself included, who have talked negatively to themselves, and proceeded to grow weeds instead of flowers. My thoughts then led to how nutrition negatively or positively impacts our bodies. Of course, exercise is also a key component to pulling out the weeds so that the garden can flourish.
I like this metaphor!
The word “wills” jumped out at me. What kind of gardeners are we if we let the weeds take over? What would our gardens look like if they were fed positive words and food nourishing them and stuck to our planned exercise routines?
Sticking with the garden metaphor, I know it’s not always easy to get in and tend to a garden. The mind can get in the way and tell you no, I’ll hit the snooze button, or I can’t get up that early. Maybe you’ve got some old injuries that get in the way, and you feel like you can’t do the gardening. Or perhaps you’ve gained a few pounds and feel self-conscious in the gym.
The thing is, to get the best harvest, you’ve got to pull the weeds, so what are you WILLING to do to get the best crop (health) you can get?
Three Keys to Better Health
When you exercise…
1. your mind, in the positive sense, offers your nervous system an opportunity to see things in a different light. Studies have shown
- improved mental health
- improved self-esteem
- greater life satisfaction
- greater physical well-being
- improved immune system function
- greater vitality
- increased lifespan
- improved stress reduction
- greater and improved cardiovascular health/function
- pain reduction
2. your body; grows muscle to support the joints and strengthen the bones to carry you. The body is meant to move, not sit for hours at a time. It also…
- makes you feel better.
- it lubricates your joints
- it helps you sleep better
- it controls your weight
- it reduces the chances of diseases.
- it manages blood sugar and insulin levels
- it improves mental health
- it increases your ability to think and function on a higher level
- it improves your sexual health and, more
3. healthy and nutritional eating habits; offers your body the nutrition it needs to run optimally, to grow and repair tissue, stay healthy, maintain strength and vitality, as well as diet-related illnesses.
Ultimately, when fed a healthy diet, the body flourishes as it does with physical activity and a positive mindset, all of which decrease the risk of disease.
So, what else can you do?
The first step to becoming a ‘master gardener’ is to admit what is not working. Then understand that your thoughts and actions, both past, and present, make up the life you have lived and the one you live now.
- NO JUDGMENT ZONE HERE! We ALL did the best that we could under the knowledge and circumstances of our lives.
- Next, let go of emotional crutches. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary to make change happen.
- Listen to your feelings. What are they telling you? Then, stop avoiding them with food, exercise, Netflix, or whatever it is that you use to prevent them.
- Step out of your comfort zone and get going.
This list is by no means the ‘be-all-end-all’ of what you can do to make change happen.
As someone who coaches health and wellness, I know that exercising good habits can be challenging. However, anything is possible with planning, preparation, and the mindset to change.
How “will” you show up as a master gardener and grow a mental, emotional, and physical body that flourishes?