We are all athletes and performers; every day, we use our physical bodies, thinking brains, and emotional minds to perform complex tasks and activities. Athletes and performers do not just focus on the single skill that brings them glory on the field or on the stage; they (with the help of good coaches and trainers) nurture multiple dimensions of fitness, building strength (around potential vulnerabilities) to handle difficult challenges.
Let's give ourselves regard as scholar-athletes or scholar-performers. Let's get to know how our physical bodies can fuel our brains and drive productive emotions—so we can flourish. Enriching our understanding of our physical dimension can amplify the effects of the work we do in our nine other well-being domains.
Let's adopt an athlete/performer's mindset and explore seven concepts that drive physical well-being:
somatic intelligence: enhancing our understanding of how our bodies affect our thought processes and emotions (and vice versa) so we can consciously recalibrate our physical frames to improve cognition and emotional self-regulation
prehabilitation: a sports/medical concept focusing on preemptive training strategies to prevent future harms and injuries (instead of retroactively tending to our bodies after an injury or surgery)
the eustress zone: (the eu is Greek for "good") a waystation between stress and distress; everyone encounters stress, but with increased somatic intelligence, we can intentionally toggle into, and linger in, our eustress zone
hormesis: intentionally stepping into low-dose or medium-dose stress experiences to help us build strength and trust we are equipped to successfully ride out the rise and fall of physiological and emotional stress responses
Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF): a concept coined by sports psychologist Dr. Yuri Hanin based on research showing that each athlete has an individual zone (based on a personalized configuration of type and intensity of positive and negative emotions, and environmental circumstances) in which they perform optimally; IZOF emphasizes our individuality, not one-size-fits-all training or performance
a state of flow: a concept coined by Dr. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi describing a state in which we lose temporal and environmental awareness while immersing in an activity or task; time and the outside world seem to disappear or transform; flow requires an optimal balance between our skill level and the challenge posed
routines and rituals: coaches, athletes, performers, and artists emphasize the importance of crafting individual routines and rituals that help us enter our best training and performance zones (eustress, IZOF, flow)
Physical Dimension Resources:
For a deeper dive into cultivating our physical well-being dimension, consider exploring Chapter 5 of The Flourishing Lawyer.