I started out on my wellness journey in May 2018. As you can imagine, when I first started, there was an overwhelming amount of information given to me on how to be successful. This was primarily because I was starting with no knowledge whatsoever. There were things that I expected such as working out and eating right but the details on how to work out and eat right were abundant.
One of the things that the trainers focused on, that surprised me, was the stretching components. There was always a warm-up and a cool down but then there was at least one day each week focused on simply stretching. When looking into it I found a lot of research on the subject but it boils down to the effect stretching has on performance. It keeps the muscles and joints healthy and assists in the range of motion and flexibility we need to perform at our best. There’s a great article about it here.
My wellness journey started out purely physical and has transformed into other areas. I’ve learned, throughout this process three unexpected ways to expand your life through stretching.
Stretching the Mind
The mind is a powerful thing and it is basically the control center for your body. Expanding this through stretching provides an unexpected gain. Any limitations that we believe about ourselves start in the mind and manifest in our actions. The best news about these limitations is that they can also be conquered in the mind. Like the physical form of stretching, expanding your mind helps us perform better. Once we start believing that we can do something, we will do it.
This can be done in a multitude of ways. To begin, we must be willing to set aside the beliefs that are limiting us and be open to what else is out there. We will also need to set aside any rigid ideas or old mindsets as they are no longer serving us and we have to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
Starting with an attitude of gratitude helps us focus on what we have and start the day with abundance. Another way to stretch the mind is by silencing the negative voice that we all have. You know the one. It’s that voice that criticizes us when we make a mistake or tells us that we can’t do something so we never even try. Allowing that voice to dictate our thoughts will only lead to limiting our potential.
Finally, we have to chase after failure and when we fail, we stand back up and go again. This concept can be terrifying or liberating, depending on the perception. Rising above the idea that failure is final, stretches our minds in a brand new way.
Stretching the Heart
Next on the list of the three unexpected ways that I found stretching to expand your life is taking it to the heart. Matters of the heart are always complex and it needs some stretching too. Forgiveness is hard to do but also freeing. This could apply to forgiving someone else for something that was done to us. Hear me on this – that doesn’t mean that we’re condoning what they did. Instead, we’re freeing ourselves from what they did.
Sometimes, we need to forgive ourselves as a stretching exercise for the heart. Our past does not have to define us and holding on to the guilt of something we did or someone we once were, is not serving who we are trying to be today. This is one of those stretches that we really need but it hurts in the beginning. Breathe through it, queens. We’ve got this.
Stretching Your Life
What are you passionate about? What makes your soul come alive? Does your life reflect this? If not, I encourage us all to build our lives in a way that we’re passionate about. The energy that comes from that will sustain us, stretch us and fulfill us. We only get this one life and tomorrow is not promised, so focusing on how well we show up today matters. We can start by setting a “stretch” goal, one that’s so big it’s a little scary, and work every day to achieve it. Let’s get out into the world and make it ours.
Another piece of this puzzle includes who we surround ourselves with. Jim Rohn says “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are those five people in your life? Do they challenge you to reach for more? If not, I encourage you to add people into your world that do.
Stretching can expand your life and I hope that I’ve given you something to think about with these three unexpected areas that I found on my journey. It’s important for overall growth and, sometimes, one area needs a little more attention than others. Listen to what your body needs and don’t be afraid to go there. We’ve got to show up for our lives. This is the only one we’ve got.