Physical Well-Being: Awareness, Understanding & Acceptance
Physical well-being encompasses the body or wellness, life, and work. Now that sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s something you already do but most of it, you don’t think about it.
One of the key facets of UWB is developing awareness and taking a chaotic, confused life and separating the components. We start with this in physical well-being.
One of the issues with physical health is that it gets thrown off by other variables of well-being. If work is too busy, you eat poorly or sleepless, which in turn negatively impacts your performance. If you are in a bad relationship and have emotional issues, you may turn to physically unhealthy coping mechanisms, further sinking your moods and outlook. If you are mentally in a bad place, you can’t even fathom going to the gym. So let’s flip this on its head. Separate physical well-being from everything and make it a top priority, because, without your health, life becomes extremely difficult.
Let’s start with body maintenance which is often referred to as wellness. It is foundational to Ultimate Well-Being. You develop awareness of this by tracking your physical fitness routine, which includes the three pillars of food, exercise, and sleep.
The next is just a life routine. How do you optimize and win the mornings? Do you wind down before going to sleep? If you develop good habits these times of day, it’s amazing what more you can do to structure your life. This will also allow you to habit stack thereby creating a better lifestyle.
Last is work. We often call this work-life balance but most of us ignore it. Don’t we? We all work, some more physical than others. Optimizing your work structure is important to your well-being. After all, you do spend most of your waking hours working. Learning to take breaks, clear the mind, and add intermittent workouts is important in your work life.
There are lots of tools to track all of these things, these days. So we’ll point you into the direction to do so. With those three in mind, let’s dive into our three-stage structure of Awareness & Understanding, Adjustment & Action, and Growth.
Awareness, Understanding & Acceptance
The purpose of this stage is to make an assessment of where you are and the direction you’d like to move in. Notice how fluctuations in these areas affect your overall well-being, and in turn, how other aspects of life affect you physically. For now, you should simply make observations and identify patterns as objectively as possible.
The best way to track these wellness or bodily related things is often to measure them. Your physical fitness is directly correlated by how much you exercise, duh? But you don’t have to go through HIIT Training. There is the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Oura Sleep Ring, Whoop tracker, and more these days. All of these give you an idea how good you sleep, and how much you are working out and more. I use the WHOOP tracker at the moment.
With regard to your wellness or body, our focus is on food, exercise, and sleep.
The way you eat has a tremendous impact on physical fitness, mental focus, emotional stability, and even the quality of your social interactions. There are all kinds of diets and food philosophies out there and we are not promoting any one in particular. What we recommend is that you learn what works for you and be disciplined about it. As you are tracking, pay attention to how things like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat and processed foods affect your moods and energy levels. Note how you feel and perform after a salad for lunch, versus a hamburger, versus no lunch at all. It’s important to recognize how particular eating and drinking habits affect you so that you can make choices with full awareness of the consequences.
How hard should you work out? How many times per week? There are so many answers. Body movement is crucial to overall well-being, but often sadly lacking in our modern lifestyles. Exercise doesn’t always have to be an intense workout! It could be walking, gardening, ten minutes of stretching, or playing with your kids in the park. My favorite is tai-chi. Try to become aware of how much and how often you are getting physical movement into your day. Notice how it impacts your mental and emotional state on the days where you don’t exercise at all.
Sleep is necessary for human health, as it gives our minds and bodies a chance to recharge. Yet so many people aren’t getting enough rest, or the quality of their sleep is compromised. In this program, we will be offering solutions for insomnia and other sleep issues, but first, we just want to track the amount of rest you are getting. If it’s not enough, note the reasons for that and how it affects you.
Now look at life. How is your life structured? Are your mornings efficient or a flat out mess? Do you lie in bed dwelling? Do you rush for a cup of coffee first thing in the morning? If so, time to change that up a bit. Your mind races in the morning so learn to tame it by journaling. Drink some tea instead. Go for a 10-minute walk and do 10 push-ups. Really it helps. We will focus on winning the mornings and habit-stacking to your life better!
How about work, which is so much of life? Are you a workaholic? Is your work environment organized or a flat out mess? Do you sit at your desk for endless hours while not getting up or even breathing deeply? It’s not a bad thing if you take breaks and give yourself some rest. Working too much not only develops a foggy mind, but also an unhappy disposition. Even if you love to work, like me, sometimes you will need a break.
By tracking body, life, and work routine, you will identify patterns and target areas for improvement. It’s important to gain a deeper understanding of the many factors at work here, including what led you to this point and how it’s affecting your life. As with all UWB methodology, a crucial step is an acceptance, as this opens the door to positive change.
Let’s unpack your conditioning in this area. Use this week of journaling to focus on physical well-being. Take out a pen and paper and start jotting some notes.
What is your relationship to your body? Are you content with it as a tool to live your life, or do you despise it for its flaws and weaknesses? Are there any major physical traumas in your past? Have you struggled with weight, skin conditions, hair loss, aging or other ongoing concerns that negatively impact your body image? Do you have a physical disability that has shaped your identity, or has chronic illness reduced your capabilities and shattered your self-confidence? Conversely, has good health and strong body image given rise to a false sense of invincibility and preoccupation with appearances?
Whatever you notice in this exercise, try to use it as a key for self-understanding by linking it with the habits you notice while tracking. This is not about judging yourself or putting an ax over your own head to change. It’s about accepting yourself as you are in this moment, then moving forward with clear awareness and purpose.
For example, you may notice that dieting efforts lead to shortness of temper when you get too hungry, causing you to lash out at loved ones and later feel remorseful, then emotionally eat in a counterproductive way. Rather than beating yourself up, have compassion for your own struggles, then perhaps this gentle outlook will inspire you to re-tailor your diet to include healthy snacks that will keep you out of this vicious cycle. Another example: perhaps a major accident you went through in the past has made you afraid to engage in physical activity. Rather than berating yourself for being “weak,” validate your own experience and the physical/psychological scars it left, then embolden yourself to find low-impact activities like swimming, walking and restorative yoga—perhaps with a supportive friend—to help you rebuild.
Before moving on, you need to accept your body image, illnesses, shortcomings or the situation at hand. Acceptance then allows you to adjust and take action.