Running! Just the idea of it makes some people recoil. Up until a few months ago, it made me cringe too.
I have always seen people enjoying running, trekking and other strenuous outdoor activities, but I have never had the mindset to pursue it. And, I preferred watching movies over playing cricket or listening to music over athletics due to many deep-seated feelings of fear; those fears could have got stirred up if I took up heavy physical exercise.
A few reasons for the fear might include the experiencing of shortness of breath, a racing heartbeat, the feeling of being chased, nausea, the fear of falling and pain. Strangely enough, all of these feelings are precursors to death, but none of these necessarily kill us.
Still, I had been covering my fears by continually feeding my mind with the wrong words and affirmations. For years, I kept telling myself that every human had a different composition, my body was not healthy enough for running, and I enjoyed indoor activities more than outdoor ones. My forced manipulative self-talks had made me believe that I could not run as others did.
I was sure that I had to reprogram my subconscious mind to encourage and believe certain things about myself – to create the reality I wanted
In 2016, I started my fitness journey. I got enrolled in an opulent gym and hired the most qualified personal trainer there. Hereon, my life and mindset started transforming, but I never pushed my body for heavy duty cardio workouts as my fellow gym mates did. I was happy doing the set of moderate routines exercises, in which I soon became comfortable, and then reached the plateau in my fitness quest. I knew that somewhere I needed to leave my comfort zone to make a breakthrough, but my limiting beliefs about myself and negative self-talks were becoming hurdles.
I was sure that I had to reprogram my subconscious mind to encourage and believe certain things about myself – to create the reality I wanted in my fitness course. So, I reframed the script of self-talks by using the right words and positive affirmations, and I started saying, “I am a Runner. I am full of energy and focus. I enjoy running. Running is part of who I am. I am motivated to run every day.”
When I relocated to Mumbai last year, I knew I had to restart my fitness journey with a fresh perspective. Here every other person I met was a runner, or perhaps, my manifestation of becoming a runner has brought forward so many people who are into running.
I started with baby steps at 1km and gradually improved on it. Still, I was very far from being called a runner. In March 2020, when the lockdown was announced and places like gyms got shut down, I was left with no choice. And then the situation turned in my favour, and I started running in my living room. On International Running Day in June 2020, a nationwide Virtual Marathon was organised, and I enrolled in it. This time I prepared well with regular training, proper nutrition and positive affirmations.
Trust me on the day of the run, and it doesn’t matter what your motivation is, all that matters is that you get out and do it. I started running in my living room and only stopped once I finished 21kms.
Initially, I could not believe that I had finished the half marathon. I could do it only by shifting my mind through regular positive self-talk and affirmations.
“There is value in positive affirmations, because our subconscious mind plays a significant role in the actualization of our lives and the manifestation of our desires. What we believe about ourselves at a subconscious level can have a significant impact on the outcome of events.”
Walter E. Jacobson, M.D
Affirmations or words have a significant impact on our thoughts. When we say good things about ourselves, we feel good and have a positive attitude towards life. On the contrary, when we speak negatively about ourselves, we feel bad and have a negative attitude.
Affirmations are simply statements that are designed with positive words to create self-change in the individual using them. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They can also help to focus one’s attention on goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change.
Designing effective affirmations is simple.
- Effective Affirmations Are Written in First Person.
Begin your affirmations with the “I” or “I am”. These kinds of statements turn affirmations into words of identity. Identity statements are potent motivators for self-change.
- Affirmations or Words Have an Emotional Charge.
Imbue your affirmations with feeling. Using words filled with emotion in affirmations are essential because of the deep association we have between emotions and somatic experiences.
- Affirmations Are Written in the Present State.
Write your affirmations as if they are already happening. This means affirming, “I am a runner,” instead of “Two months from now, I will be a runner.”
In order for affirmations to be effective, you must call them out daily, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night
Most people feel foolish writing or saying something that they don’t yet believe – at least at a conscious level. But remember, the purpose behind affirmations is to rewrite the subconscious mind. So, if you act as if something is real, and you experience the feelings associated with the outcome that you want, it is more likely to materialize.
Once you’ve come up with a set of affirmations, you must use them. In order for affirmations to be effective, you must call them out daily, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. You can also write down your affirmations on note cards and leave them in plain sight, such as on your bathroom mirror, the steering wheel of your car, your computer monitor, or in your purse or wallet.
Different people also have different modes of using affirmations.
Some suggest that writing affirmations down daily is useful while others read or repeat affirmations from a list, a stack of cards, or most recently, from smartphone apps. Whichever way you are choosing to use your affirmations, we cannot deny that;
“The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words — or even the right words spoken in the wrong way — can lead a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.”
Dr. Andrew Newberg, ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’
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