I’m excited to share a guest post today from a man who calls himself “the Movement Monk
,” Benny Fergusson. An expert in all things mindful and mobile, Benny has been teaching people how free themselves from body aches and pains, become more flexible, and understand more deeply how to live in their own bodies. He’s been working at his craft for 11 years and worked with clients, gyms, and professionals across the globe.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing Benny’s insights on how to improve your wellbeing by connecting the mind and the body. We’ll start with 3 tips today and then round out the final tips next week.
3 Humble Steps to Better Wellbeing
There was a time about 10 years ago I worked behind a desk for a living. The deadlines, stressful conversations, office politics and a demanding boss were devastating to my wellbeing.
During that time I noticed my body and my mind slowly tightening up like a vice. I was losing strength and flexibility in my body, and my head felt like a circus monkey was living in it, and would never stop clanging those symbols!
Over the course of my journey to starting my own business, I developed skills and habits that helped me regain mastery over my body and mind while still working in an office environment, and I’m excited to share them with you.
These strategies will help you develop a mind like a monk and a body like a child. But first, let’s unpack some obstacles.
“I have to sit at my desk all day. Can’t I just work out at the gym after work?”
It’s commonplace for many to think they can address all their physical needs at the gym. But do you really think running on a treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour each day is going to offset a sedentary desk life? An hour at the gym a few times per week will not set of countless hours seated at your desk, in your car, or on the couch. It’s just doesn’t work that way.
True wellbeing that runs through every cell of your body comes from simple actions you live by, each and every moment, not just the time your in the gym.
“This feels too hard, how long will it take?”
A long time a go when learning from a Shaolin Monk who was the embodiment of Zen, he asked me a question that really shifted things for me in the way I approached my own wellbeing. I was having some trouble solving a big challenge I had. He asked me, “What’s the best way to eat a watermelon?”
I sat for a moment and said, “I don’t know.”
He replied – “one bite at a time.”
I felt like Thomas Edison the day the first light bulb lit up. The practice of small daily actions is the key to enhance your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. So no matter how long the road to your wellbeing destination, it’s helpful to know that to get there you just need to practice one step at a time.
3 Steps to Get Moving, Mind and Body
These steps are simple, practical, and I’ve proven them to work time and time again with myself and my students.
1. Make a ‘conscious’ choice, each moment
Many of the choices we can make in life are the result of programmed thoughts in our unconscious mind. Sometimes these unconscious thoughts can help us, sometimes they can hinder. If you really desire to enhance your health and well-being you need to make a conscious choice to — in as many moments as you can. Making a conscious choice and having a clear intention to take steps towards living with better wellbeing is perhaps the most important step of them all. To implement this step, simply begin with asking yourself, ‘why am I doing this action, in this moment?‘ And, ‘is it moving me towards the body and mind I’d like to live in?‘
2. Inspire others
Sometimes it can be tough to stay motivated to take care of yourself. Life gets busy. I get it.
Here’s a simple strategy to amp up your motivation for your wellbeing at work. If doing it for yourself isn’t enough, do it to inspire others. Allow your wellbeing efforts to make the world a better place. My favorite quote from Ghandi has always been, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Let’s face it. The health and wellbeing of the world could use some improvements. And it all starts with you; be the agent of change for those around you, whether it’s your coworkers or your family. Lead by being an example of a healthy lifestyle, and pretty soon people at work and family at home will be curious about what’s changed. You have the power to help others, simply by helping yourself. Be the change.
3. Use the Timer Approach
If you’re like me (or most people in modern America), you can get sucked into the constant barrage of information on the internet for hours without realizing the time that’s passed. When I noticed this habit in myself, I realized it wasn’t serving me, so I figured out this simple technique to help keep my blood flowing better and get my body moving more on heavy computer days.
Here’s what to do:
- Before you sit down at your desk, set a timer for 25-35 minutes and put it where you can’t reach it.
- Then go have a focused work period, without distraction (no facebook, no email — unless that’s explicitly what you want to do with this chunk of time).
- When the timer goes off, get up to turn it off.
- Now you’re up, take a moment to walk around and move your body.
- Rinse and repeat during your day.