MIND-BODY CONNECTION & Pillars of Health Workshop

MIND- BODY CONNECTION

Are you aware that your body is affected by what the mind tells it?

Your body is constantly receiving messages and signals from your mind that provoke physical reactions. An example of this mind-body connection is how your body responds to stress. Constant worry and stress over jobs, finances or other problems can cause tense muscles, pain, headaches and stomach problems.

On the other hand, the state of your body can also impact your mind! Being ill, even temporarily, can affect your mental state. Any kind of viral infection, flu or bug can have a negative impact on your mental state, frequently causing mood changes such as depressive behaviour, lethargy, sleepiness and a general feeling of melancholy which have a negative affect on your life.

Awareness of the mind-body connection is by no means new. And it is very important. Until approximately 300 years ago, virtually every system of medicine throughout the world treated the mind and body as a whole. But during the 17th century, the Western world started to see the mind and body as two distinct entities. In this view, the body was like a machine, complete with replaceable, independent parts, with no connection whatsoever to the mind.

This Western viewpoint had definite benefits, acting as the foundation for advances in surgery, trauma care, pharmaceuticals, and other areas of allopathic medicine. However, it also greatly reduced scientific inquiry into humans’ emotional and spiritual life and downplayed our innate ability to heal.

In the 20th century, this view gradually started to change. Researchers began to study the mind-body connection and scientifically demonstrate complex links between the body and mind. Integrative psychiatrist James Lake, MD, of Stanford University, writes that “extensive research has confirmed the medical and mental benefits of regular movement, meditation, mindfulness and other mind-body practices.”

 

Tips to improve your physical health.

 Get active – Try to be more active every day, whether it’s walking the kids to school, taking the stairs at work instead of the lift, or maybe even going on a lunchtime walk. It doesn’t have to be a marathon; being active can start small and grow into something bigger if that’s what you want.

Eat well- Don’t diet, just eat healthily. Have a banana, or a small handful of nuts or plain popcorn instead of a bag of crisps.

Cut down on drinking – As much as you might look forward to that glass of wine at the end of a long day, it’s a good idea to swap it out for a hot drink, fresh juice or another drink of your choice. Ideally, aim for three alcohol-free days each week and you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel. We often drink alcohol to change our mood or get away from loneliness, fear or anxiety. But this effect is only temporary and can actually leave us feeling a lot worse afterwards. The alcohol affects your brain and the rest of your body, and is not a good way to deal with difficult feelings.

Always stay hydrated – Avoid fizzy drinks if you can as they usually come with extra caffeine and sugars (or sugar substitutes) that don’t help with stress and sleep. Instead, invest in a nice water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere. Drink water throughout the day and you’ll help protect yourself against migraines, lethargy and even dehydration.

Get a good night’s sleep – You can do a lot of things to ensure that you’re sleeping properly, whether it’s take the TV screen out of your room, read for twenty minutes before bed or not using your phone for at least an hour before bed. Try to maintain a sleeping pattern, so your body clock can kick in, and you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed. Avoid caffeine after 6pm and even practice meditation in the evening to relax your mind and allow your body to sleep and fully heal from the day.

Tips to improve your mental state – In the same way that it’s important to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body, it’s just as important to look after your mental wellbeing. Introducing the following eight recommendations into your routines can help you become more in tune with yourself and lead to a healthier lifestyle in general.

Talk about your feelings – Often talking about your feelings is seen to be a ‘sign of weakness’ but this certainly isn’t the case. Talking about your feelings is part of taking charge of your wellbeing. It can be an effective way to cope with a problem you might’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone in your problem.

Keep active – Regular exercise can boost self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep better and feel better. Exercise keeps your brain and other vital organs healthy, which in turn has a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

Practise meditation – Meditation has numerous benefits for the positive side effects of meditation associated with mental health are increased awareness, clarity, compassion, mindfulness and a sense of calm. Improved focus is another benefit commonly associated with meditation.

Do something you’re good at – Enjoying yourself and losing yourself in an activity or hobby you’re good at can help alleviate stress. Doing something you’re good at can also boost self-esteem and confidence.

Keep in touch – Keep your lines of communication open with your friends and loved ones, especially when you feel yourself withdrawing. It can be tempting to step back and feel like you have to deal with something on your own. But this is necessarily the case, and the people around you probably want to help. When it isn’t possible to catch up with someone face-to-face, just give them a call, write a message or even send a letter or postcard!

Take a break – Introducing a change of scene or pace into your routine can be really positive for mental health. Even if it’s just a five-minute pause in between cleaning your house or a weekend spent exploring a new destination.

Accept who you are – It’s a lot healthier to accept who you are, in all your uniqueness and flaws, instead of comparing yourself to others. Feeling confident in who you are will boost your confidence to learn new skills, meet new people and visit new places.

Ask for help – reach out and hire a coach to help you. Talk to me. 

Here are some of my blogs that might be related to this topic.

6 Tips to Control Your Mind and Achieve Your Dreams

How to Deal with Stress

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