By Julie Alvira, MD, MBA
How fit are we? You may think I’m talking about our bodies, how we want to get or maintain fitness. Maybe like taking a walk every day, or having a gym membership. But, I’m referring to another type of fitness––emotional fitness.
Webster’s dictionary defines fitness as the quality or state of being fit. Physical activity in conjunction with good nutrition benefits a person by lowering the risks for cardiovascular disease and helps you stay active. In addition, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition it also:
- Prevents other chronic diseases such as cancer and stroke (all three with heart disease are leading causes of death)
- Controls weight
- Reduces fat
- Promotes development of strong bones and muscles
- Increases energy and self esteem as well as decreases the potential for becoming depressed
- Relieves stress
- Improves sleep
There are so many benefits! What if we can condition our minds to work with our active bodies and lifestyles? It’s teamwork between mind and body. Sounds good, right? A perfect balance. It requires a lot of effort from us but it can be done.
“Caring for the mind is as important as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.”––Sid Garza-Hillman
During our current times, we deal with busy schedules and many tasks at hand that make up our normal day. What about connection? Do you think it’s as important? Not only the connections with people, jobs, and circumstances that surround us, but I’m talking about connection with our intimacy. Staying connected with all areas of our lives in order to have strength and a sense of balance––an homeostasis. To have the power to bounce back emotionally and take action in difficult situations, while building resilience. That is emotional fitness.
If we are physically fit but our mind is not, there is an unbalance. There are centers across the globe that provide services and treatment for individuals who don’t feel emotionally fit. Psychological research has shown that as we age we tend to regulate emotions more effectively. Studies have presented that with age, people prioritize their goals better by making them more meaningful using cognitive and behavioral resources. Younger adults tend to focus on the negative part of circumstances while older adults focus on positive thinking and images. We are addicted to our thoughts so when we process them negatively, our energy is drained with over thinking, self-criticism, guilt, anger, and many other emotions that prevent success.
Nowadays, companies have internal corporate wellness strategies to approach the concept of emotional fitness and wellness by practicing corporate competency. They know that their employees are the gold of the organization and understand that emotional health issues impact numbers and a company’s business.
ShoreTel, a technology company, gives freedom to employees to design their own routines and help each other to live a healthier lifestyle. Aetna, a medical insurance company, promotes meditation and yoga as part of their wellness programs to reduce employees’ stress levels and to stimulate productivity. Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting company, understands wellness and has in place a program that includes cardio exercise and mental health education. Kirkland & Ellis, an international law firm, has a wellness program in place that includes meditation, webinars, and coaching. And the list goes on and on!
TRAITS OF EMOTIONALLY FIT PEOPLE
- Confidence and self-esteem: They know what they are capable of and don’t need the approval of others. They are working on their own achievements or on the route to get there.
- Mindfulness: They are living here in the present. The past gave them experiences to have tools and work on the now.
- Resilience: If they fall, they get back up––stronger and better.
- Commit to themselves: They believe in themselves without fear but with faith. They are real, mature, vulnerable, and driven.
- Boundaries and limits: They know how to say “no.”
Julie Alvira, M.D., MBA, Healthcare Management creator of AJBodysculpt. www.ajbodysculpt.com. A health, wellness, and fitness platform that provides you with the necessary tools to get into a healthier lifestyle. Health & Wellness Speaker/ Corporate Wellness Consulting/ Coaching/ Writer. You can see her fitness videos in Youtube: AJBodysculpt. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.