We tend to think that our minds and bodies are distinct systems that function independently, but that isn’t the case. Do you remember the last time you met someone you like a lot or went for an interview? Although you wanted to appear calm and collected, you must have been feeling nervous and self-conscious. You may have even been sweating more than usual. That goes to show that your emotions affect your physical well-being and vice versa.
History of the Mind-Body Connection
The mind-body connection originated more than 4,000 years ago when Chinese doctors realized that physical illnesses often came after periods of emotional distress in the patients’ lives. Recently, western medicinal researchers have been looking into how the connection works and how to harness it.
Evidence of the Mind-Body Connection
Your Diet and Mental Health
Research by the Mental Health Foundation established that two-thirds of people that ate fresh fruits and vegetables regularly had minimal mental health issues. Those that struggled with mental health were found to eat unhealthy foods like potato chips, chocolate, and a lot of takeout meals. Therefore, the study concluded that a stable mood could be
shaped by the portion of minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and water that the individual consumes.
Working out Works on Your Mind
Keeping up with physical activity may also improve a person’s mental state. As opposed to building your muscles that require a structured program, any physical activity can make a huge difference in your mental state. When you exercise, the body releases some feel-good hormones that enhance mood and boost self-esteem. When you feel great about yourself and your body, your self-worth will escalate, and it will alleviate depressive feelings.
Your Body Feels Emotions
Feelings of anger, anxiety, joy, depression, love, stress, and any other can show physically. If the feelings are extreme, it might contribute to diseases and imbalance within your system. For instance, tension leads to headaches, and fear affects the digestive tract. Suppressed emotions are toxic to physical health. If you don’t manage chronic stress, it might result in severe illnesses. Don’t shy away from seeking help with your emotions, because they might affect your physical well-being.
8 Steps to Improving Your Mind-Body Connection
Decide to channel all of your attention on yourself for the next few minutes. Say out loud, “I am willing to direct my attention on my body and what I feel right now.”
Take note of your physical state. Are your hands relaxed or strained? What is going on your head? Close your eyes and scan your body. Open your eyes when you are done, noting everything.
Take three deep breaths into your nose and out through the mouth. Fill your belly with every inhalation and release your breath slowly. Allow your jaw to drop open while you exhale.
State out loudly what you have observed. For instance, you can say, “I realize that my breath is shallow.”
When you declare the truth, body sensations start changing. For instance, when you acknowledge that your jaw is tight, you might stimulate relaxation and enhanced energy flow to the jaw.
Now you should take action on your current beliefs. For instance, if you weren’t breathing deeply, take some deep breaths. If you notice that your shoulders are raised, drop them.
You have created a link between your mind and body. Maintain the energy flow through any physical activity. Dance, walk, jog, or do anything that keeps you on the move.
Your body is a living, breathing organism. Treat it like royalty. Massages, baths, and even snuggling in a soft blanket will do you a lot of good.