Putting Heart-Work Into Practice
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Health and Wellness

Putting Heart-Work Into Practice

Don't follow your heart—train it.

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Putting Heart-Work Into Practice
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Skeens (Creator of Shatter Expectations) explains that the way you think and feel—essentially your heart attitude—will cause your life to cycle either upwards or downwards. Proverbs 4:23 (NLV) explains the phenomenon this way:

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

Another important verse to keep in mind is Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV), which says,

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

Because we're all constantly torn between the good and bad desires of our hearts, it's absolutely necessary to filter out the bad so we can replace it with the good. One of the most practical applications of this discipline is journaling. According to Psychology Today,

"Some research even suggests that journaling can increase your physical health. It may boost your immune system, and it can certainly help manage stressful events and experiences, thus decreasing the damage that stress can do to your body. As Julia Cameron writes in her book The Artist's Way, opening ourselves to this process leads to 'gentle but powerful change.'"

Cameron's description also points to the benefits of "gratituding." which is the act of writing down at least 3 things that you're thankful for every day. When you do this, your brain releases serotonin, which immediately boosts your mood and increases vitality. This is also why constantly complaining to other people can be destructive. When you're stuck on a negative topic, try steering the conversation toward a positive route.

Setting goals regarding fitness, career, household chores, etc., and then achieving those goals is also a scientifically-proven way to release dopamine (the happy hormone) in your brain. Skeens asserts that by creating a set of symbols to represent each of your goals and then marking the given symbol on your calendar once you've achieved that goal, you can easily increase dopamine and effectively align your heart with your success. By combining your gratituding habits with your journaling and calendar day goal-setting, you will effectively promote the patience and discipline that will influence every area of your life. The Bible promotes this lifestyle in Romans 12:11-12 (NLT), saying,

"Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying."

Only through dealing with our heart's negative emotions—in healthy ways—will we be able to remain patient in trouble. When trouble does come, we can also reframe the situation so that a good outcome is inevitable. Lola is an amazing example of taking control of her thoughts through a healthy lifestyle and good habits.

Lola had a goal of making a high level team in her sport. She wouldn't be satisfied with a level 2 or 3 team; she only wanted to be on the top team. Lola decided to try the calendar symbol idea so that she could grow her confidence and reach her goal. Her plan was to drink a green drink every morning, journal and gratitude every night, and work on her skills every day.

She created a symbol and color chart for each day that she executed her new program. After about 5 days, she loved the new habit of marking her calendar. Eventually, she even became "obsessed" with it. According to Lola and Coach Skeens,

"Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."

By the time try-outs arrived, Lola's confidence was sky-high because she not only had a very colorful calendar, but she'd cultivated a skill set to match it. Her daily hit of dopamine, serotonin, and other endorphins was enough to give her optimal confidence in her abilities, and she made the top team!

Seeing and tracking our progress on a daily basis builds the foundation of confidence we need to achieve our goals. Consistency is the key to performing at a high level in anything we do. The calendar idea gives us a daily reminder and helps create the neurotransmitter cocktail needed to keep our brains—and not our feelings—in control.

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201805/keeping-journal-can-be-good-your-emotional-health

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/5-ways-gratitude-good-your-health

https://david-welby.com/2017/03/19/obsessed-is-a-word-the-lazy-use-to-describe-the-dedicated-maredeth-kessler/

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