5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Mind & Body Connection
Jordan Wavra, Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach
Ever felt that “pit” in your stomach before a big event? Or maybe butterflies when meeting someone for the first time? How about the racing of your heart when you’re afraid or stressed?
These are all examples of the mind-body connection, and science is now beginning to understand how our thoughts and feelings can directly affect our physical health.
Now, when I say mind, I’m referring to our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and emotions. The heart and the mind are both thought to be “psycho-emotional” roots to health and disease and when we understand this connection, we can use it to our advantage to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some things you may not have known about the power of the mind and body connection:
Thoughts can manifest as disease.
That’s right. It’s been said that negative emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness can contribute to imbalances in the body and eventually manifest as disease. Sometimes this shows up as digestive issues, aches and pains, or other physical ailments. Ever heard of the law of attraction? It works in a very similar way.
Essentially, it states that what you think about or “feel” may attract back to you. This all happens because of the vibrations, or frequencies, we project outwards. This is similar to our thoughts and emotions, which also carry a vibration.
These vibrations travel throughout our bodies and affect our cells, which are also vibrating at their own frequency. And so, the movement that is happening in our minds is influencing the frequency in other areas of our body.
Stress can manifest as disease.
Stress, this is a big one. We’ve all felt stress at some point in our lives. The problem is, with our fast-paced society, we are spending more and more time in stress mode. As humans, we like to categorize our stress. “I’m only a little stressed” or, “I’m super stressed.” Here’s the thing, our bodies don’t know the difference.
While you may think that you’re just “a little” stressed out, your body is in full blown “fight or flight.” It’s a defense mechanism that doesn’t know the difference between not knowing what to wear on your first date or being chased down the street by a bear. Over time, this stress starts to build.
There is a growing amount of research that suggests that stress can lead to physical ailments in the body. In fact, some researchers say stress is the underlying cause of most diseases out there. Having mindfulness strategies and other activities in place can help to alleviate the stressors that we face on a day to day basis.
Emotions affect our behavior.
You’ve probably experienced this before. Have you ever had a time when you were sad or angry and in response you turned away from healthy foods and exercise? A lot of times, when we’re feeling a negative emotion, we tend to turn away from the things that are good for us.
In comparison, when we’re feeling a positive emotion, we are much more likely to make healthy choices. The problem is, these behaviors that are influenced by our emotions start to become repetitive and eventually turn into habits.
This isn’t a bad thing if the behaviors are positive ones, but those negative behaviors add up over time and can start to take a toll on our health. In turn, the more we engage in negative behaviors, the more negative emotions we’re likely to experience. The more we engage in positive activities, the more positive emotions we’re likely to have. It’s all connected.
Food can affect our mood.
Think about this one for a minute. Have you ever noticed this before? How do you feel after you eat a nice greasy hamburger with a side of french fries? Sure, it tastes delicious, but how does your body feel?
Maybe a little bloated, fatigued, heavy? Ring a bell? Maybe it’s not the hamburger or french fries that does it to you, but chances are you’ve experienced discomfort after eating certain foods at some point in your life. Now, not only can foods affect how you feel physically but they can also affect how you feel mentally and emotionally. It may not even be typical “junk food” that makes you feel this way.
It could be bread, eggs, dairy, or maybe certain types of meat. This is your body’s way of telling you, “Hey, that thing you just ate, not working for me.” Our bodies are incredible, and they will tell us what we need and what we don’t if we listen. Pay attention to the foods you’re eating when you start experiencing mood swings, fatigue, irritability. You’ll be surprised at the connections you start making.
You can foster inner peace.
Avoiding stress all together probably isn’t realistic for you. Neither is avoiding negative emotions. In fact, it’s important to feel these negative emotions because if we don’t, they build up over time and lead to stress, which we know can manifest into disease.
Luckily, there are many practices out there that have been shown to help decrease stress, help foster inner peace and a calm mind, while at the same time influencing a higher level of physical, emotional, and mental health. Some of these practices include organic nutrition, exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, I think by now we know that the mind and body connection plays a huge role in our physical and mental health. The way that we think or feel can either feed our health or feed disease. Our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can affect our body directly through neurotransmitters and hormones, or indirectly through habits and behaviors.
While avoiding stress and negative emotions all together isn’t very realistic, there are practices we can implement to help alleviate that stress and foster inner peace. Many of these practices, including nutrition, exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, are used to help decrease stress and pain, and to improve moods.
You may resonate with one or two practices more than the others and that’s okay. Try them out and see which one helps you feel the best. Once you’re aware of the mind and body connection, you can use it to take control over your life and your health.
Jordan Wavra is a Holistic Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindfulness Expert who supports fellow moms regain their energy, decrease stress, and discover true health with a holistic approach to nutrition, mindfulness, and life.
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