How To Foster A Healthy Mind-Body Connection
The mind and the body are linked. The mind controls the body, and the body houses the mind. Early philosophers referred to this concept as the mind-body connection. More recently, neuroscientists have studied this topic, proving its existence and reality.
The mind-body connection can refer to how thinking, outlook, viewpoints, and mindset can negatively impact biological functioning. It then connects to how physical health can affect the varying functions of the mind. Science shows that thinking upbeat, kind thoughts can reduce physical stress. On the other hand, negative thoughts and negative self-talk can worsen performance and physical health.
Often, people feel better when in a joyous mood, and it can be harder to feel this way if your body is not feeling well. Learning how to keep a mind-body balance may assist you in feeling well.
How To Heal A Mind-Body Disconnection
What do you do when your mind and body don’t seem to be on the same page? It can depend on the cause and the symptoms. Working yourself too hard, not eating enough, not sleeping, or having a hard day may trigger a disconnect.
In some cases, a health condition or chronic pain can play a part. In the case of physical health concerns, a doctor may be the place to start looking for support. They can also indicate if it seems that a mental health counselor would be a good choice for you based on your symptoms and tests.
Take Time For Yourself
Being too busy to attend to your mental and physical needs may cause a mind-body disconnection. To stay emotionally and physically healthy, consider taking time for self-care.
Self-care can look like doing something for yourself each day that positively affects your mind, body, and soul. Consider a mind-quieting activity that keeps you present in each moment of your day.
Caring for yourself can help you increase your energy when it comes to helping others. Some forms of self-care include:
- Partaking in a mind-focused activity like reading or a puzzle
- Spending time with a pet
- Running or exercising
- Practicing mindfulness
Food nourishes your body. Eating a balanced meal is an effective way to provide all the nutrients your body needs.
One way to ensure you are eating a balanced meal is to include one of each of the six Ayurvedic tastes in each meal. They include the following:
- Sweet: Builds tissues, calms nerves; fruits, grains, natural sugars, milk
- Sour: Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals; sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
- Salty: Improves the taste of food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion; natural salts, sea vegetables
- Bitter: Detoxifies and lightens tissues; dark, leafy greens, herbs, spices
- Pungent: Stimulates digestion and metabolism; chili peppers, garlic, herbs, spices
- Astringent: Absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats; legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs
Many American meals focus on sweet, salty, and sour tastes. They may miss out on the balancing effects of pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. These types are shown to be anti-inflammatory and increase metabolism. Various raw proteins, fruits, and vegetables can improve your mood.
If you’re unsure how to plan your diet, speaking to your primary care physician or a nutritionist may benefit you.
Having an occasional alcoholic drink may not harm your mind-body connection. However, consuming a large amount of alcohol may have adverse effects on the body, including:
- Liver deterioration
- Stomach issues
- Sleep issues
If you drink alcohol often and don’t feel well, it may be the cause. Speak with your doctor to determine if your alcohol consumption levels are too much for your body.
If you’re struggling with addiction or concerned that you might be, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Addiction is not your fault, and help is available.
Follow An Exercise Routine
Exercising is proven to support the mind-body connection, as it benefits your mental health. Endorphins, natural painkillers in the brain, are released when you exercise. Physical activity generates biological transformations that amplify the brain’s capacity to gain knowledge and execute other cognitive tasks.
When you get into an exercise routine, you can also improve your physical health, which may make it easier to focus on successes and gains. Your immune system can be strengthened, and your body and mind may feel better.
A regular workout can be a valuable way to increase routine in your life. Types of exercises to try in your routine include:
- Yoga: Beneficial for proprioception (or “body awareness”)
- Spinning: Builds muscle, improves heart and lung health, good for weight loss
- Kickboxing: Useful for weight loss, heart and lung fitness, and proprioception
- Dance: Assists in weight loss, heart and lung health, and proprioception
- Weights: Builds muscle and muscle resistance
- CrossFit: Builds muscle
- Barre: Aids in proprioception
- Pilates: Aids in proprioception
- Running: Aids in weight loss and improves heart and lung health
- Walking: A low-impact activity, good for weight loss
Consider Your Sleep Habits
If you are getting sleepy in the middle of the day, it could indicate a mind-body imbalance. Your body rests and repairs during sleep. Studies show that sleep is vital for physical and mental health.
Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night. If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep consistently, speaking to a sleep specialist may help you understand the motive. If you are sleeping through the night and waking up feeling energized and well, it may indicate that your sleep is healthy.
Consider the following sleep hygiene tips:
- Do not use alcohol to fall asleep
- Go to bed and wake up at the exact times each day
- Do not sleep in more than an hour late on your weekends/days off
- Don’t use a digital device before you sleep (phone, computer, tablet)
- Keep the room dark and quiet
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature
- Ensure your mattress and pillow are comfortable for you
Work On Letting Go Of Emotional Pain
You may hold onto emotional pain in your mind and body subconsciously. Emotional trauma, stress, and grief can all trigger these feelings.
If you feel stressed, sad, angry, or scared about a past situation, letting go of the pain through healing may be beneficial to your mind-body balance. You can practice letting go of the pain through several methods, including:
- Group therapy
- Grief workshops
- Spending time in nature
Develop Interpersonal Relationships
Having social connections is essential for your mental and physical health. Having a close friend who you trust can improve your mood. It can be helpful to have someone to talk to when things are challenging or when you need an outside opinion on a concern in your life.
If you want to make new friends, you may be able to meet new people through the following methods:
- Joining meet-up groups
- Taking classes
- Joining parenting groups
- Joining a book club
- Joining a sports team
- Attending after-work gatherings
Laughter As A Medicine
You may have heard the phrase, “laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter reduces stress hormones in the body and improves the immune system. It can also be fun to do. Making laughter a part of your daily routine may increase moments of joy.
Here are some possible ways to increase laughter in your life:
- Subscribe to comedy podcasts or YouTube channels
- Watch a favorite sitcom re-run
- Get a “joke of the day” calendar
- Follow humorous pages on social media
- Go to a comedy show in your city
- Spend time with people who make you smile and laugh
Getting Professional Help
The above suggestions may be an excellent place to start improving your body and mind connection. However, if you feel mentally or physically unwell despite efforts to care for your body-mind relationship, you may struggle with a mental health condition or symptoms of a physical problem. Speaking to a physician or mental health provider could provide some relief.
If you are dealing with mental health concerns, a primary healthcare provider may be able to help you find a counselor in your area. However, some people find it more convenient, affordable, and helpful to talk to a therapist online. Research shows that online talk-based therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can benefit those struggling with anxiety or depression. If you’re considering online treatment, sites like BetterHelp may be a practical option.
Below are reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing issues related to the mind-body connection.
“Melissa has been a champion for my health and personal growth from day one! She allowed me to be open, honest, truly me and has helped me become the person I knew I could be. Through active listening, open conversation and communication I learned techniques through worksheets, goal setting, and readings that have improved my quality of life. Melissa has gone above and beyond for me and I know it’s because she genuinely has a passion for her work and her clients’ health and wellness. I am so happy to work with Melissa!”
“After my first session, I already felt like I was making the first step to a healthier future! Thank you Doctor Pittrell!”
You can use several tools to restore your mind-body connection when you feel down or disconnected. Speaking with a professional counselor may be the most valuable option if challenging feelings remain over long periods of time. With help, creating a solid connection between your mind and body can be possible. Take the first step and reach out.
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