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Why I added working out my mind to my workout regimen..

Why I added working out my mind to my workout regimen..

Brendan Greenwood, CFP, CIM, B.Comm | December 07, 2022

They say our partners know us best and sometimes help us see things that we would never recognize ourselves. Being in a romantic relationship may be one of the best ways to become more self aware. A former partner of mine was the one that made me realize I wasn’t always present and living in the moment. As a busy professional focused on improving the lives of my clients and activities necessary to grow a successful wealth management practice, I was always thinking about the next thing that had to be done. I was living in the future. And as my former partner used to tell me, quoting Lau Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, “if you’re depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” When you’re living in the future, it hurts your relationships with others because you’re unable to be present with them. It also inhibits your thinking and ability to experience the moment. Life is about experiencing the journey, not being anxious about what’s next. If life is short, what could be more important than living in the moment, deepening our connections with people and having clarity of thought?

So how do we achieve this state of mind. One thing I’ve learned, is that being present isn’t a milestone or destination. It is something that takes constant work. We don’t workout for only a few months and decide we’re fit and then stop. This is because we’ll be out of breath climbing the stairs a few months later or be looking at ourselves in the mirror just as depressed as we were before we started our workout regimen. We make physical exercise a habit for life because it improves our physical well being and if we stop, we regress. The same logic applies for being present or what can also be referred to as mindfulness. There are habits we can incorporate into our routine that can help us continue to be more present. These habits can be practiced everyday or less frequently such as every week, but what is most important is they become habit, meaning you never stop.

Like working out my body, I’ve started working out my mind. It was a new concept that I never used to think about, but once you start training your mind it starts to have a profound impact on your life. How I got started was attending guided meditations at the Kadampa Meditation Centre of Canada. There I started to learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness. Imagine no longer getting distracted by intruding thoughts when you’re trying to accomplish a task or have a meaningful conversation. Consistently practicing mindfulness and meditation can tap into the neuroplasticity of the mind. A stronger mind, continually exercised through the practice of meditation and mindfulness starts to improve all parts of your life. Your relationships become stronger. You're able to function at a higher level at work. And your health starts to improve through reduced levels of anxiety and depression. Meditation and mindfulness can start with the simple practice of focusing on your breathing and when your mind wanders bringing it back to focus on your breath.

If you don’t have time to get out to a guided meditation, there are great apps to get started from your home or wherever you may be. I recommend the Waking Up meditation app, created by the philosopher and neuroscientist, Sam Harris. This app will help you achieve real mindfulness in your daily life. Life is too short not to be present, if you’ve thought about practicing mindfulness and meditation, stop thinking about it and start doing it. Don’t let life pass you by.

Brendan Greenwood is an Investment Advisor and Financial Planner with Worldsource Securities Inc. focused on improving the lives of his clients and their families through holistic planning. He specializes in tax advantaged personal pension strategies and leveraging technology to provide progressive institutional style investment solutions for professionals, incorporated individuals, business owners, retirees and their families.

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