How we shape our bodies shapes are our stories.

As a child we are born with that sense of curiosity, that eagerness to learn and be amazed by everything. We come out like a dry sponge ready to absorb what life is ready to give us; we actively seek experiences. Our bodies are in similar alignment: malleable, flexible, open and relaxed, they feel a need to grow and feel connection with the world around us. The connection of our maternal figure and masculine paternal figure hopefully give us the sense of love if born in the right circumstance. I myself was blessed with love in abundance, that physical connection, and the security to express myself – and yes I did. I very much needed that bodily contact and attention to fulfil those human needs. To my parent’s relief, my temperament change, I grew out of this by unconsciously understanding what it meant to experience unconditional love. I guess I felt it because I had no way of understanding what people were saying.

So when we think of our experiences of life, if we are blessed with all our senses we will tend to do this in an all encompassing way to be able to connected better and give better meaning to what we: see, feel, hear, smell and taste. This is so we can gain a more clear perspective and attach how we feel about certain experiences.

How did you grow up: actively experiencing life or passively?

I was very much actively involved in my life. I felt everything and if I couldn’t get my hands on it through play, I guess I couldn’t connect with it because it was less meaningful to me.

Things happen to us. Our response and way of dealing with this is to experience a physiological change which then sparks a negative or positive emotion which in turn tells us how we must feel and then how we can express this in thought. In the case of a negative experience our minds protects us from harm which results in it going back the other way; our physiology takes on our thoughts, which tell us how to feel and then how to emote and create the motion of physiological change.

So beyond the science of how everything is connected, as Amy Cuddy says, “nonverbal (physiological state) governs how we think and feel about ourselves.”

Let’s look at how you feel on a daily basis. Ask the question, which is one I asked myself, what’s making me feel the way I do? I had this epiphany towards the end of my time at University where I had reached breaking point. Experiencing new things on a daily basis coincided with an untimely tragedy in my personal life. This tested my ability to manage my emotions and resulted in me saying yes to everything I could. I felt the need to people please and fed on the instant gratification of happiness that this gave me. It was my quick fix, my short-term solution. Finally, one day my close relationship broke down, my focus to University dipped and my self-esteem deserted me. At that point my body gave out…and I dropped out.

The story gets better from here, I promise. But like I have been telling you, there is no quick fix, which I continued to discover. I came home and realised that the way that I had been behaving and holding myself was not the solution. Treating my body like this had created so much tension that it had changed the way I had felt and reacted to things in my life. I needed a change. I stopped going out and drinking as much. While this was a step in the right direction it wasn’t the profound change I was seeking. Aware of this, after meeting my new girlfriend towards the end of University I thought that I had sussed it, I thought had found the cure to my unhappiness. I threw myself into work. For 2 years I worked all hours of the day, 70 hours weeks on average. Without experiencing significant pleasure or pain we tend to accept where we are and that it is just the norm. So after I had put my body under stress from all this work and not focusing my time in the right places I realised that my health and my lifestyle needed to change. I was not doing something I loved, my performance at work was suffering and my relationship had suffered to the point of no return.

Recognising this I decided to clean up, sleep better, eat better and exercise more. I changed my posture, got practices in my daily life that promoted flexibility of my body. It was strange to see and feel that I had started to think more clearly and felt lighter.

Over a period of time it became habit and after experiencing this new world I wanted to develop in other areas of my life and came across NLP. This in turn led to discovering a whole world of like-minded individuals such as Tony Robbins who embody this ethos in their lives everyday. One of the things that really stuck with me, and I had never made this connection was you have an influence over the way you feel and interpret your emotions by creating movement and space in your body. Henceforth, change happens when we change our biochemistry through choice of food, drink and exercise. Robbins suggests, “Motion creates emotion”. Finally, the penny dropped. If I changed how I felt in my body, my mind would be more clear and my emotions in balance and therefore easier to understand.

So what I would love you to take home from this is that we only have one body in our life and it is our only vehicle to allow us to experience new things, people and places. Self-awareness of the way you hold yourself and how you treat your body will end up tell you the story of your life and may even dictate it. I hope you give time to being healthy in body so you are healthy in mind and soul.

I took the decision to approach my life with this outlook and now I own it. Creating a way to practice a happy life is always a working progress however for the past few years it has helped me gain more clarity and perspective in the direction that I am moving in. Life will always present challenges and by changing the way I project myself moving forward, I have a higher and healthier self-confidence and self-esteem. As Zig Ziglar says “you have be what you want in your mind, body and soul first. Then do it and then you will have it.”