“The body achieves what the mind believes.” ~Jim Evans
Hello loves! How’s everyone’s week going? I’m super happy because the groundhog said spring is coming early! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for warm weather, outdoor walks without gloves and ear warmers, and smoothies. Soon enough! Anyway, today I wanted to talk about this concept called the mind-body connection. What is it, and why is it so important?
Our emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect our health and impact biological functioning, and vice versa. Our bodies and minds crave constant communication, however we tend to focus more on our minds and ignore cues from our bodies. Also, thoughts we have impact how our body is feeling, and we may not realize to associate the two. Have you found yourself thinking about an argument with a friend, and you all of a sudden have a stomachache? Or when you’re feeling anxious about something you forgot to finish at work, and a few minutes later your shoulders are up to your ears? The state of your mind replicates the state of your body, and vice versa. If stress and negativity fill the mind, your body is going to feel tense and twisted. It can be really hard to tell if your thoughts create these biological signs, or vice versa. That’s why being aware of your thoughts, and moods, your triggers, and your body is so important.
You know when you’re trying to have a serious conversation with your friend, who is texting someone else or scrolling mindlessly through Facebook and you’re like…. are you serious??? So frustrating. That’s how our body feels when we ignore it and focus elsewhere on less important things. Like if you’re feeling tired and your body is craving a nap, but you ignore that and down a cup of coffee instead. Intuitively, you probably know what your body wants and needs, but you tend to ignore this for the quicker and easier option. And this is where we come back to that idea that I’ve talked about before, that the “more difficult” choices are usually the ones that lead to a happier, more productive life in the long run.
Here are some ways to start getting your mind and body on the same page as one another:
Connect to your breath. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breathe for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds. Focus on counting each second. Your mind has to focus on your lungs and airways, and this is a great starting point to get the mind and body connected.
Body scan. Start at the top of your body. Focus on your forehead and notice if your eyebrows are raised, and if so lower them. Notice if your tongue is clinging to the roof of your mouth and if it is, let it go. Where are your shoulders? Can you release the tenseness in your back? Is your stomach in knots? Are your thighs clenched? Recognize what your body is doing and relax.
Learn your triggers. Triggers refer to experiences that have impacted you in the past, and are sensitive spots for you now. For example, if you were teased in kindergarten, you may have learned that teasing does not feel good and any slightest sign of teasing causes you anxiety, stress, hurt. Notice any patterns or routines that seem to come up, like every Wednesday morning you may have a piercing headache because you’re nervous for staff meeting that day. What is it about that staff meeting that is making you feel anxious? Are you able to talk to a supervisor about what’s going on?
Identify coping skills. Once you learn your triggers, learn what you can do to protect yourself and care for yourself. This could be anything from taking a short walk when you are feeling that pit in your stomach creep up, to calling a friend, to coloring. Anything that helps you connect back to yourself, get out of your head and back into your body.
This is a really important and interesting topic, that I’m going to research and keep talking about with you guys. And when you find cool information, I would love for you to send it my way! 🙂 Have a great rest of your week XOXO.