What is the mind-body connection? And how can improving your mind-body connection enhance your quality of life and combat chronic illness? Studies have found that your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect your health. This is not a new concept. The correlation between mind and body and treating the body as a “whole” has been around for years. While modern medicine has benefited us through advances in surgeries, medications, and trauma care, we must not forget the impact our minds can have on our overall health.
Stress plays a vital role in our well-being. While we cannot eliminate stress in our lives, we can manage stress. Mind-body type therapies can help reduce stress, promote optimism and happiness, and increase overall well-being. Explore some of the options below and discover which options resonate with you:
In addition to the many physical benefits that yoga can promote, a daily yoga practice can also reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga centers your mind, enhances your awareness, and helps to release tension. Your routine can include physical postures and stretching, breathing exercises, and meditation. Enjoy discovering which techniques benefit you the most!
Have you ever found yourself in a stressful situation where you know you will inevitably blow up at something? You hear your parents saying, “take a deep breath.” We were all taught to stop and breathe to calm ourselves down at a young age. Being mindful of your breathing centers your thoughts, encourages concentration and calms your mind down. You can practice conscious breathing daily as a part of your morning routine or pull it out of your tool belt when you find yourself in a stressful situation. The most basic form of mindful breathing is simply focusing on your breathing and paying close attention to each breath coming in and going out. Close your eyes and spend 5 minutes focused on each inhale and exhale. If you find yourself in a particularly stressful situation, you may take exaggerated breaths. A deep breath in, hold your breath, and a long exhale out. It is helpful to do this several times to experience the benefits.
Positive Self Talk
Self-talk is something that we all do. It is that voice inside your head that hangs out with you all day long. Is that voice filling you up with negative or positive thoughts? The good news is that you control that inner monologue. If you find that your inner voice sparks too many negative thoughts, you can change that. Positive self-talk develops the mental skills to help solve problems, cope with stress, and reduce anxiety. Start slow. Choose three positive affirmations about yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t believe these affirmations right now; before long, you will! Add these positive thoughts to your morning routine, write them down on sticky notes and place them throughout your home, and when doubt enters your mind, repeat these affirmations aloud. My personal favorite is, “I am in charge of how I feel, and I choose to be positive today!”
Relax, enjoy, rejuvenate. Regular massage therapy has so many benefits. You will experience reduced stress, increased relaxation, and relief from sore and tense muscles. Scheduling a massage every 4 to 6 weeks is ideal, and with regular massage appointments, you may sleep better, increase your flexibility, and even see improved immune function. While it may seem indulgent, massage actually has many proven health benefits and can be considered self-care.
Practicing mind-body exercises each day is like giving yourself a big hug. And you know what… you deserve it! Choose 1 or 2 practices and schedule them into your daily routine. Taking small steps today will set you on your way to a healthy, fulfilling life!