This article is the seventh in a series of nine which focus on areas that I explore with my health and wellness coaching clients. Our health and well-being are so much more than just what we eat and how active we are, even though that is certainly part of it. What changes would you like to see in your life? Whether its nutrition, being physically active, reducing stress, being more in-tune with your mind body connection, or being more aware of your environment and its impact on health and wellness, there is always an opportunity to explore potential areas for change.
This month’s focus is on mind body connection. What is that you ask? The mind-body connection refers to how your mind, which includes our thoughts and emotions, body and behavior interact. There is research that supports the notion that our mind and emotions impact our physiology and physical self, but that the opposite is true as well – our physical body can also impact our mind and emotions. Come and explore this dimension of health and wellness and how we can use the power of the mind to impact our physical bodies.
Mind Body Connection
Have you ever noticed when you are under stress, that it isn’t only your mind that is impacted, but sometimes your physical self is impacted as well? That’s because it is documented by research that our mind and emotions can impact our physical bodies just as our physical bodies can impact our mind and emotions. It’s a 2-way street! Stress is a great example of the mind-body connection and how the mind can impact the body. Smiling, interacting with supportive others, and cultivating kindness are examples of how the body can impact the mind. See how it works?
Using the example of stress and how the mind can impact the body, let’s explore further. Most of us know that stress is something that is just part of life. We can’t always avoid it, so learning to effectively deal with it so it doesn’t negatively impact one’s health is important. Stress can be caused by physical, psychological, or psychosocial factors. Physical stressors are factors in the environment that produce stress, such as constant noise in our external environments, pollution, or physical events or conditions such as injury, surgery, or low blood sugar. Psychological stress arises from deeply held attitudes and views about ourselves and others. Psychosocial stress stems from stressors in relationships such as conflicts with loved ones, neighbors, or employers. Of course, it is possible to have stressors from all or combinations of any of these places in one’s life happening at the same time.
One of the things we can do to reduce stress and cultivate the power of our minds on our physical health is to use practices such as guided imagery, mediation, psychotherapy or counseling, prayer, and breathing practices. Why not explore mindfulness practices that support a healthy mind-body connection so that when the inevitable stressors of life occur, you are better able to cope? There are many in-person programs in all areas of the world with in-person mindfulness programs and classes. A simple Google search with “Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs city XYZ” will give you an idea of what might be available to you in your area if live classes are appealing to you. In addition, below are just a few of the many resources available online for further exploration of mind-body connection and mindfulness.
Helpful websites with many free guided meditations and talks:
E-mindful.com – Offers many different mindfulness courses that range from 8 to 20 weeks in an online, LIVE classroom where you see, hear, and interact with the instructor and other students just as you would in a bricks-and-mortar classroom. Vanderbilt’s Dr. Ruth Wolever is the Chief Scientist for this company.
Self-compassion.org – Offers resources provided by world leader and expert Dr. Kristin Neff on self-compassion.
Tarabrach.com – Tara Brach, founder of founded the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC (IMCW), which is now one of the largest and most dynamic non-residential meditation centers in the United State, has a website with multiple resources including a library of meditations and talks.
The websites for the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, the Insight Meditation Society, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center all have information about their programs as well as local resources.
Remember, that while our mind impacts our body, our body can impact our minds. Remembering to take care of our physical selves by eating well, being physically active, visiting our healthcare provider for regular check-ups and medical attention when needed, taking prescribed medications regularly, and getting proper rest is important. These areas have been covered earlier in other articles included in this A Time to Bloom series, so check them out on the Unconditionally Her website to learn more about making improvements in these areas.
Your healthy mind-body connection is waiting, it’s time to grab hold and take charge. Your mind and body both will thank you for it!
Sources and Citations:
A Time to Bloom Health and Wellness Coaching, LLC https://atimetobloomcoaching.com/
Vanderbilt Health Coaching Program, Resources for Health, and Wellness Coaches. https://www.vumc.org/health-coaching/health-coaching-program