Small changes to improve your life
When we look at our lives and how we might want to make changes, it is often very helpful to be systematic about it, and look at specific areas so that we can home in on what needs to change.
A really good place to start is with the question, 'How satisfied are you with your physical health?'.
This is really fundamental. Of course, if you have a major illness (as I actually did a few years ago!), you've got to deal with it before you can really flourish in your life. As the Romans say, you need 'mens sana in corpore sano', a healthy mind in a healthy body. Both are needed.
Staying with the physical, for now, I think it's true to say that whatever our physical condition we can always do something, however small, to improve it. This is what the Olympic coach meant by 'the accumulation of marginal gains' - they add up and, eventually, you get medals!
So we can think about the various systems of our bodies and try to pinpoint some areas for change. Let's take the nervous system for example; this will include the brain, mental health, clarity of thought, getting enough quality sleep. Can you take one small step to improve your sleep? Maybe turn screens off a couple of hours before bed?
Then the cardiovascular and respiratory systems respond well to exercise, which in turn is beneficial for every system of your body. There is even some evidence to suggest that it is protective against dementia.
Your digestive system needs nurturing with the right foods, and these days there is growing understanding of the importance of the 'microbiome' - basically the kilo or so of bacteria that inhabit the gut. Sounds a bit revolting, doesn't it, but in fact this microbiome is so important for the bodily functions it helps to regulate, including mood states, that it is coming to be viewed as an additional organ of the human body.
If you look after your musculo-skeletal system you will have good posture, less likelihood of falling as you age, and quicker recovery from injury, which you are less likely to get anyway.
The body is an infinity of complexity, and I have indicated only a few aspects here. Have a good think about your own health; is there something small but nagging that you could deal with? A minor but recurring skin infection for example? Frequent tummy upsets? You might be surprised at the difference it makes attending to them.
Which of the above resonates most with you? What small change could you make? Try it for two weeks and see what difference you see! A coach can help and support you to go deeper with this kind of exploration, and help you to make those changes stick.
Next time I'm going to say something about our psychological health.
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About Barbara Bates
Barbara is an experienced and qualified personal and executive coach with a professional background in health, social care and nursing. She works particularly with professional people under pressure to improve resilience, well-being and effectiveness. She also offers Skype/phone sessions, and online coaching programmes, especially about well-being.… Read more
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