I was recently asked to lead a conversation with adolescent girls on maintaining a positive body image. In order to maintain a positive image, building resilience and dignity is something that begins in how we hold ourselves. How we appear externally comes from how we feel internally; although recent neuroscience research shows us that by adopting certain body positions, our hormone levels and feelings of well-being shift for the better.
In order to create long-term shifts, dignity and purposeful action occurs when we embody the ability to center with what we are sensing in the present moment. This allows us to begin to build a body of resilience by responding rather than reacting to external influences. This is not a part of the mainstream quite yet, though a piece of this: mindfulness, is becoming more popular. And for good reason, it reduces stress and reactions that seem to be out of our control.
Our cultural conditioning rewards us for being rational. This reinforces disconnection of mind from body. When we intellectualize or analyze, we are creating stories that build on our already-present anxiety and fear. As technology and time evolve, things take us less time, we are rewarded for efficiency, we are rewarded for acquiring certain material goods and we see that moving faster and leaner is normal. This distances us further from our body and gets us caught up in external pressures and influences.
When we are distanced from body, a story of “not enough” gets in the way of the bigger impact we can serve. There are many reminders that there is so much more out there, more to gain, more to achieve more to be and to get there faster.
When reacting to breakdowns, we are unable to learn and reflect in a deeper way and more pressure mounts. The ability to navigate through the pressure becomes difficult and burdensome leading to disengagement.
This is not what I want to teach my kids. I would much rather they learn how to become aware of how their physiology responds and bring their body and mind into their awareness so they see there is choice.
When we integrate the body-mind connection, we develop healthy ways to cope with external pressures.
When we embody presence, we build awareness to choose how to respond to external stresses.
As we weed out what is happening and what we have choice in, we are able to take a stand in dignity, integrity & grounding.
What are three competencies to build to a body of dignity and resilience?
1. Building awareness of how your body reacts to pressure
2. Building awareness of the stories you are creating when we feel we aren't performing well
3. Building competence in centering
This is what I help people of all ages start to build. For the sake of our future leadership.