Learning to Treat the Body as a Temple in Life Coach Preparation
Whether you believe, in a religious sense, that the body is a temple, it is obvious that you only get one for your whole life, so you've got to treat it right.  In order to achieve mental, social, and spiritual health, the body must be attended to first.

Rather than rehashing all of the information you've already heard about weight loss and exercise, this article will focus on listening to your body. When you are your own life coach, just as it is imperative to be honest about your dreams and goals, it is likewise imperative to be honest about what your body is telling you. Our bodies communicate with us 24/7, but sometimes it is simply quieter than other times. When you come down with the flu, your body becomes very loud, demanding rest and fluids. Should you develop breast cancer, your body tells you that something may be wrong by developing lumps. When you stub your toe on a leg of the kitchen table, your toe becomes so loud that you often end up actually expressing the pain vocally as well.

Your body tells you other things, too, but sometimes it is just hard to hear it. If you live on a diet of fast food, your expanding waistline tends to be a loud expression. But there is much more to it than that – if you pay attention, you'll notice that you feel slower, more muddled, and more lethargic when this is your regular diet. If you suddenly start eating significantly healthier, you'll find that your brain works better in addition to the changes on the scale.
Many of these changes we simply do not notice because we're not tuned in to our bodies. For many of us, as long as our body gets us through the day, we're satisfied. But the problem is, eventually it demands to be heard and usually when things are out of control.

Eating is a key area of listening in to your body – the human body craves nutrients and a multivitamin, while helpful, just is not going to cut it. Your body also wants water; oftentimes, it wants more water than you can even imagine. But you will find, when you start giving your body what it wants (as opposed to what your taste buds want), it will respond positively.

Exercise is another area that we often consider as important to keeping our weight down, but the fact is we all need to exercise our bodies regardless of our weight. Getting regular exercise doesn't have to be expensive, nor does it necessarily need to take any time out of your schedule! For many of us, our lives are physical enough and we simply need to kick it up a notch to get it to count as exercise. If you garden, challenge yourself to get as much done as possible in a specific time frame. If you are cleaning house, put on some music and go faster than normal. If you like to be social, join a walking group or look into local sports teams.

Now, many of us have additional challenges to listening to our bodies and getting the right nutrition and exercise our bodies need. Those with chronic illnesses, special physical needs, and more often face significant obstacles when it comes to these areas. If you struggle with these issues, there is a positive flipside: those with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or other physical challenges, often are far more tuned in to their bodies to start with.

In your journal, start tracking what you do with your body and then how it feels. Write what you eat and drink, what exercise or physical activities you do, how much sleep you get, and what kind of stress you are under. Then write how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Start tracking patterns. Spend some time each day with your eyes closed, really focusing in and listening to your body. Trust it. It will guide you.

For those with chronic or long-term illnesses

Listening in to your body presents special challenges because you often struggle with mixed communications – you may know that your body wants exercise, but alternatively, that same exercise may increase your pain or decrease your ability to fight off infections. Your illness will likely cause extra stress on your mind and heart as well. Know that there is a lot of support out there for you. If you cannot find a local support group, consider starting one; you could also go online where you are sure to find a group for you.

Your body faces more complex issues when you have one or several illnesses. Most chronic illnesses are exacerbated by stress and can also cause other changes you may not be expecting. Food sensitivities, drug interactions, inability to sleep or stay awake, and more are just a sampling of the ways your body may struggle due to your illness(es). Listen and pay attention. If a treatment or prescription is not working the way you want it to or it is causing other problems, communicate with your doctor. If your doctor doesn't respond or respect the knowledge you have of your own body, find a different doctor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting someone who trusts you.

Mind: Blocking Out the Darkness, Letting in the Light

Mental health is often overlooked for the average person. Individuals with mental health disorders understand how necessary it is to be diligent and consistent in attending to your mental health. Many people that are without mental health conditions tend to assume their thoughts, beliefs, and state of mind are fine without needing to attend to it every day; after all, if your brain works well, what would you need to do to have good mental health?


Stress plays a tremendous role in our mental and physical well-being. Guilt and shame can be just as destructive to the mind as schizophrenia. Anger and hate fester until they take over the person that you are. Disappointment and frustration can cause long-term resentment. Receiving cruel or unjust treatment can generate a lifetime of distrust and victim mentality.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online How to Be Your Own Life Coach course?

It is easy to see why so many of us walk around with emotional scars. As your own life coach, you must try to interpret events objectively, be honest about past hurts that you are hanging onto, and decide what and when to let go. Some hurts cannot or shouldn't be forgotten, nor must you forgive. But you can recover and heal yourself while still holding others accountable for the situations they have caused. If you have no one to blame but yourself, work on forgiving yourself. None of us are perfect and you will struggle to move forward until you admit the choices you've made that have caused harm and then forgiven yourself for it.



Make a list of the hurts, disappointments, and frustrations you are still holding onto. Some of these may be small while others may encompass your whole life. Identify if they make you angry, hurt, lost, overwhelmed, etc. Whatever the issue, list the primary reason you are still hanging onto the pain.

Now you will determine whether or not any of these hurts need to be discussed with someone else. Sharing your feelings and addressing issues head-on can help limit the frequency of such injuries being committed. As your own life coach, what is absolutely necessary is for you to prepare yourself for any possible reaction (or lack thereof). You cannot control others. For example, imagine that you have been holding on to a cruel comment that was made during an argument with your sibling. Moreover, you feel that they should know how hurtful it was and that you've been hanging onto that pain but do not want to anymore. Your sibling, upon hearing this, may apologize, may get angry, may bring up past hurts you've inflicted on them; there is almost no limit to the possible reactions. You have to prepare yourself to be able to say it and then be ready to let it go regardless of the reactions of others.

It is now time to let these hurts go. Obviously, it doesn't mean you suddenly do not care but rather that you are committed to trying to live genuinely to who you are rather than to past actions that may have defined you. There are numerous ways to symbolically let these hurts go; chief among them are the following:

  • Put each hurt into a balloon and then let the balloons all fly away, taking your hurt away.

  • Burn the hurts, focusing on the cleansing of the fire which mimics the cleansing of the soul.

  • Take some time each day to focus on one of the hurts and make a concerted effort that day to change how you think and feel about anything connected with the hurt.

Old hurts and disappointments, however, are only part of the issue. The struggles and frustrations you see every day can also take hold and end up having more power over your life than you want. Everything from office gossip to a fight with your spouse can bring the hurt, anger, and frustration back in, even after you've worked so hard to rid yourself of these negative emotions.

To maintain and attack new issues as they come, there are habits you can develop that will help you stay mentally calm. A few ideas include:

  • Journaling briefly but on a consistent basis, making note of your emotions and how they relate to things that happened that day.

  • Spend some quiet time in meditation or reflection. You may journal or not during this activity. The goal is for you to identify what disrupts your happiness and focus on putting it into perspective.

  • Read a book that will give you guided meditations or address specific issues that you may be continuing to struggle with. The Resources and References page will supply a few of the most respected titles.

  • Create a space (or several) where you can spend some alone time decompressing. Whether that means closing your office door for 15 minutes where no one can come in or taking a long hot bath after you put the kids to bed, give yourself a little mental break on a regular basis.

Now that you have cleared out the darkness of your past and the disturbances of the present, you can make room for the light. Happiness, joy, and contentment are all about how you see the world, not how it sees you. When you succeed in tamping down the hurts of yesterday and today, you open yourself to positive thoughts and feelings. Make sure that space doesn't remain empty; purposefully fill it with thoughts that bring you joy and peace.