The “Inside Out” of External Fitness and Internal Fitness
Internal ‘Fitness’ versus External ‘Fitness’…is a concept I have casually coined to refer to the muscles and positive changes we focus on when striving to either get “fit” or promote being “fit”…
How important do you think each is when striving towards optimal holistic fitness and wellness?
What ways might we sprinkle in “exercises” to support amping up the positive thoughts and emotions so that our Internal Fitness then flows into supporting the sustainable External Physical Fitness?
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Have you seen the new movie Inside Out yet? You know, the Disney-Pixar animated one?!
I saw it last night and SOMEHOW it got me thinking about what I like to call our “Internal Fitness” versus “External Fitness”….like muscles of the soul-mind-emotions versus muscles of the physical body….track with me for a minute here….
Even if you haven’t seen it, one of the themes in the movie is about our inner emotional/mental chatter and how our emotions and perceptions influence our reality.
Joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust were primary “players” in the mental landscape of emotions that quite profoundly impacted experience and outcomes for a person.
When thinking about fitness, health, and wellness, much of the focus is often on the external outcomes and measures of positive success, most usually reflected in the number on the scale or the reflection we see in the mirror.
However, I have noticed that my emotional state, and that of many of my clients, SO OFTEN influences the way I see myself in the mirror or might even respond to a seemingly “stuck” number on the scale, most particularly when moving towards a next step in fitness goals or strides towards healthy changes.
While building physical muscles towards fitness, we often forget how important, if not MORE important, are the mental, emotional, and soul muscles in order to create the sustaining positive changes and optimal holistic health for ourselves…
For instance, when I am measuring my progress and “fitness” through fearful thinking with thoughts of disgust and negativity, not only do I not reap the full rewards of my efforts but I set myself up for long-term failure.
What if INSTEAD I might also focus on the power of the internal muscles of the soul and mind to support and foster my long-term fitness goals, as an equally important, if not a MORE important exercise to ultimately create the change I hope to see in my external physical fitness?!?!
What if instead we are inviting into our mental landscape practices like gratitudes, positive affirmations, desired feelings, and meditation, tools that foster the positive thought patterns — while honoring healthy expression of the entirety of my emotions (choosing to respond instead of react to them) and implementing loving kind self-care– in the process of pursuing “fitness goals”?!
Might we set ourselves up for sustainable success while EXERCISING the internal muscle of the soul which, in my opinion, is the key to optimal, HOLISTIC FITNESS.
Maybe, just maybe, “Fitness” will begin to take on new life, new breath, and encompass a truly more holistic perspective supporting people to create the sustainable health and wellness changes desired – the ones that are long lasting, where the
external is a reflection of the internal,
from the inside out.