5 Ideas to Feel Alive Again
"We were meant to run wild. We were meant to be free. "
These ideas are NOT meant to tell you how to live - only you have that power. It is however a set of ideas to help you LIVE BETTER.
Last week I brought my 3 kids to the zoo a few miles from our house. We'd been there many times before, but this time was a different experience for me. While my kids were enjoying their time playing and making animal noises, my perception of all of these magnificent creatures enclosed in their spaces switched.
These animals were no doubt magnificent, but something was missing:
There was a somber feeling in each glass box. There was a sense that these animals, big or small, longed for something that many of them may have never even seen before - but somehow knew still existed.
Animals in a box never have to worry about food, water, interaction, sleeping quarters, inclement weather, or the fight for territory. This "domestication" molds them into something they were not created to be: lifeless creatures without adventure, adversity, risk, and a chance to portray their true primal spirit!
But how are we as a human race any different right now? How did we become almost "zombie-like" walking through life, waiting for things to get better?
The simple answer is CHOICE.
You see, animals at a zoo have no choice but to adapt to a world where their true nature is compromised. There is no negotiation. There is not an "ah ha" moment when the animal decides to break free and set out on a new path (see Madagascar).
But YOU DO have a choice!
In an attempt to stand out in a world that has quickly chosen to accept a fate that is less than our true selves, I'm sharing 5 ideas that you can ACT on right away. We were not built to sit in a glass box all day. We were not meant to bottle up our emotions and pretend like everything is OK. We were not meant to do the same thing(s) over and over again until the grave comes calling. We were not made to live in pain everyday - both physically and emotionally.
We were meant to LIVE. Here's where you can start:
1. Reduce or Eliminate Periods of Optional Sedentary Behavior
In his book, Deskbound - Standing Up to a Sitting World, Dr. Kelly Starrett estimates that 90 to 95% of people are enduring some kind of chronic pain in their lives. Life really isn't that fun when we have to endure pain everyday. But is this pain we consider "normal" something we should just deal with and consider it a part of life?
Around the time that humans became less dependent on manual labor and long days in the sun, our bodily functions started to change for the worse. We started to experience pain in our back, neck, shoulders, knees, and hips. We started experiencing more episodes of headaches, depression, anxiety, and upper respiratory sickness - and in turn we relied on doses of medication and other stimulants to cover up our ailments. All those cars, desks, and couches became a musculoskeletal nightmare for our bodies.
Many of the physical and mental problems we face today are caused not by lack of science in the field of movement, but rather in the lack of moving and moving well as a whole. We are stagnant in our cars, in our jobs, and in our homes. This lack of movement creates imbalances in the body which leads to poor movement - which again, leads to more pain.
There is something we can do. We can choose to drastically reduce or eliminate the "optional sedentary behavior" we have in our lives. This could be as simple as going for a walking meeting or lunch at your workplace instead of sitting all day. This could be spending your evening playing tag outside with your kids instead of scrolling through the latest Netflix shows on the couch. This could simply mean standing up and doing 3 minutes of physical activity for every 25 minutes you're not moving much.
Let Movement Be Thy Medicine!
2. Get Your Head Up and Look Around
Look around and pay attention. Upwards of 90% of the people you see walking around these days are doing the exact opposite. We've become so stagnate by living vicariously through social media and the "what if" worries of our daily lives, that we are missing the big picture. We are missing the little moments with our kids because we are too busy searching for the camera icon on our iPhone 6S to share it with the world. We are burning the new recipe we found on Pinterest because we are so ingrained to take a photo of every ingredient at every angle. We may be missing the opportunity to connect with the love of our life because we were too busy with our nose in our inbox.
It's time that we look around and take in all that life has to offer. There is no app for living a fuller, more meaningful life.
Side note - when you go to a zoo, notice that the animals usually have their heads down with a sedated sort of walk - not unlike the current human race. BUT when you see animals in their natural environment, in a world they were created to live in, they are confident, strong, alert, and ready to face challenges - just like the current human race constantly posts about how they "want" to feel on social media.
3. Go Outside for 2 Hours Technology Free
This one is very simple - and probably the most refreshing. Turn off your phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and desktop computers and get outside for 2 hours.
"But how will I know when it's 2 hours?!"
You won't - and that's the point. In today's world, we constantly feel like we need to be everywhere at every time, and in turn we are more stressed than ever. When stress becomes chronic, it can dump more fuel to a multitude of other health consequences like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Many of us also suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder (not enough nature!). We've become so sedated with artificial lights, air conditioning, screen time, chairs, and music, that we've forgotten just how AMAZING being out in the elements can make us feel. Imagine how wild animals feel in an air conditioned building all day!
Go to the lake. Build a bonfire. Have a dinner party. Swim. Hike. Lay under the stars. Play with your kids. Sprint with you dog. Play yard games. Exercise. Build something.
When we let go of they way we are told to live by everybody else, we start to feel like humans again without even trying. The outdoors has a crazy (but normal) way of resetting our circadian rhythm to help us sleep like babies. It gives our bodies fresh air and a healthy dose of vitamin D if we are smart about it. It helps us think clearer and generate new ideas to act upon. It helps us connect with those we love and makes us appreciate what we have.
4. Get Uncomfortable
You are going to struggle when you are trying to become better at something. That is inevitable. When you look at kids, their primal instincts don't care how many times they fall down. They keep going. They keep falling. And then...one day - THEY GOT IT!
Nowadays it seems like we quit whenever a hint of discomfort enters our radius. Frustration then sets in when we don't get what we say we want. We think that it's just not meant to be anymore. So we quit.
We can get back to embracing the struggle, falling in love with the process, and celebrating little victories along the way. When we choose everyday to get comfortable being uncomfortable, a whole new LIFE opens up to us again. What was once fear turns into a passion for growth. What was once a scarcity mindset turns into an abundance mindset.
Everyday you need to get uncomfortable. Challenge your body to a training session with a friend. Say what you know you need to say to that co-worker or loved one. Skip happy hour with friends because you know you need to sleep that night. Take a small step and start writing down your ideas for a business.
Unlike the lion in the cage, you can choose to break free and act on a whole new set of ideals. Get out there and go for it!
5. Throw Your FitBit in the Trash
We are starting to become a movement obsessed society filled with people who are more interested in "sharing" how much they've moved than actually moving consistently throughout their day. If the activity tracker isn't charged or it's left on the nightstand at home, then all movement that day becomes pointless. If my friends don't see how many steps I took today, then who cares?!
What ever happened to moving for movements sake? When we are bombarded with marketing messages like "10,000 steps" per day, no wonder why we oblige by plunking down $120 for these trackers. But this is a caged life - a life where our actions are dependent on something else. It's time that we get back to our primal human existence, and that is to MOVE because we can and because it feels good, and not because our FitBit told us so.
(If you like your activity tracker, keep it! By no means is this a bashing on these devices, it is however a call to the people who feel consumed by them. It's a call to set them down for a week or 2 and see how you feel when your life isn't dependent on steps and calories burned. Move because it FEELS GOOD!)
At Training For Warriors-South Metro, we believe everybody has the Warrior Within. It's that person you truly want to be and know you have inside. The people that truly COME ALIVE in all aspects of their life are the ones who choose to BRING OUT The Warrior Within!
If you are stuck, and want to FEEL GREAT again, it is time you check out Training For Warriors-South Metro. We still have limited spots remaining in our risk free 28 Day Summer Challenge at our dojo in Savage! Ready to look and feel better? CLICK HERE TO BEGIN THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
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