Mind-Body Connection: Understanding What it Is and How To Use It
Your body gives you cues all the time. It tells you when you’re hungry, when you’re thirsty, and when you’re tired. Most of us are good at recognizing those cues and know when to take action when they’re given to us. If your stomach tightens when you’re nervous or if feel light-headed when you get extremely upset, you’ve experienced the mind-body connection.
However, many of us are not so good at some other cues, such as when it’s stressed, when it’s burnt out, when it needs to take a long deep breath and just pause…
Conversely, did you know that our thoughts and mindset also have an impact on our bodies and physical health? Stress decreases our immune system via lower white blood cell (the cells responsible for warding off sickness) response. This also leads to people healing more slowly and vaccinations not being as effective as they can be.
And removing stress wherever possible has numerous benefits. There was a study on breast cancer survivors. They practiced meditation or attending a support group. The control group did neither. The results? The groups that meditated or went to support groups had longer telomeres. Shortened telomeres usually spell disease, while longer telomeres protect against disease.
What is the Mind-Body Connection?
In short, the mind-body connection is the complex interrelationship between our minds and bodies. It is how our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can affect our biological functioning. And what we do physically impacts our mental state.
Our physical and emotional health are intertwined. What was (and is still) regarded as two separate entities (and treated as two separate entities) should actually be regarded as one dynamic relationship. There are countless studies that show a relationship between the two. Treating conditions and diseases without considering the “other half” of the equation downplays its importance in the healing process and of general well-being.
There are some activities that help people become more aware of this connection within them. Meditation is a popular one. Others are masked as “exercise” but can actually be effective forms of understanding the mind-body relationship, such as yoga and tai chi.
What a Strong Mind-Body Connection Can Do
Strengthening the connection between the mind and body has multifaceted benefits. Some of the physical benefits include:
- a stronger immune system
- ability to heal faster
- better digestion
- quality sleep
Some mental benefits include:
- decreased anxiety
- overall happiness and contentment
- being able to tackle your problems without being overwhelmed
How Can One Harness The Power of the Mind-Body Connection?
As mentioned above, the mind-body connection can be realized through a variety of methods, including physical activity and meditation. The mind-body connection can be tapped into other ways, such as guided imagery. With guided imagery, there are parts of the brain that react as if what we’re imagining is actually happening. This means that if you’re walking yourself through your favorite place in the world, it allows the entire nervous system to relax. Visualization techniques are also great for problem-solving and goal-setting. It also happens that the Mindful Athlete Program puts a lot of its focus onto this mind-body connection. You can unlock this powerful tool and realize your full warrior spirit potential.
It’s becoming clear, now more than ever, that we cannot only take care of our bodies. If we want to take better care of ourselves as a whole, we need to take our mental and spiritual health into account with our physical health.