We all have heard of “body and mind” exercise such as Yoga and Pilates and most of us understand that the body and the mind are connected. Of course, where ever you perceive your mind to be, it is most definitely inside your body. However we do not always grasp just how completely inseparable mind and body are. They are not only connected, they are one. For example, the gut is sometimes called the second brain, because it inhabits some 100 million nerve cells. That is more than there are in the spinal cord. No wonder we tend to say “I have a gut feeling” when we have a strong intuition about something. Here are 3 reasons why we should consider our mental state when we seek changes within our body.
#1 Posture is not just a habit, it is an expression of how you feel.
Most of us are aware that our posture needs improving. We have desk jobs and slouch a lot. We get cold and hunch our shoulders. We consider it a physical issue and to some degree it is. Over time our chest muscles tighten and pull our shoulders forward. Our head gets pushed forward and the neck gets stiff. The upper back rounds and becomes weak.
However we also know that our posture suffers when we are stressed. We get more tense with stress and our shoulders rise. If we are insecure we also assume a hunched posture in a subconscious attempt to protect ourselves. When we are sad and depressed we look at the floor a lot and drag our feet. Think of someone you know, who you believe to be confident and relaxed. What is their posture like? You will most likely find them upright, open in their chest, relaxed in their body and with a spring in their step.
How we hold ourselves, how we move, and the degree of tension in our body is largely determined by how we feel. Are we confident or anxious? Are we stressed or relaxed? Are we happy or sad? This has an impact on our body and our posture. So why do we tend to always resort to fixing our posture by simply pulling our shoulders back or sitting more upright when we can remember?
How about we work on the cause of bad posture on the inside, as well as on the physical elements on the outside? Would that not mean twice the chance at positive postural change and a generally more comfortable you?
#2 Pain is our body's way of telling us that something is wrong.
Some of us are plagued with pain that comes and goes or has been with us for a long time. We may not even remember how or why it first appeared. We may have tried all sorts of manual therapy and rehabilitation exercise, but it just doesn't seem to make much difference.
Pain is the body's way of telling us, that something is wrong. It works pretty well when we have sustained an injury or illness. However pain is also sometimes experienced where there is no visible injury at all. The nerves that signal pain to the brain are embedded within the connective tissue, which spreads through the entire body. Since the nervous system and the connective tissue are so interlinked they affect each other. Many massage and movement professionals have seen clients spontaneously become emotional as an area of connective tissue is released. It is believed that emotional distress can be stored or trapped in areas of the connective tissue, which hardens or stiffens as a protective responds. Over time this starts to affect the nerves embedded within, to signal pain. Releasing the tissue however, does not resolve the problem permanently, because the cause is of an emotional nature and needs to be addressed too.
If you experience pain that has been investigated by health professionals to no avail, you may want to ask yourself honestly, how stressed or anxious you are in your life? Have you experienced any emotional upset around the time when the pain started? This does not have to have been a massive traumatic event. A generally hectic and stressful stretch of time can be enough to start overloading our nervous system to affect the body if we are already vulnerable in some way.
What you way need are 3 things:
2. Gentle mobilising exercises to increase physical healing.
3. A plan of how you can make the changes in your life that resolve the original cause and allow
you to move on with a more balanced lifestyle.
#3 If we can't eat well and manage a healthy weight, there is a good reason for this.
Most of us have a basic understanding of what foods are healthy and what foods are not. We also generally understand the balance between calorie intake and burning it off by being physically active. And yet many of us struggle with the discipline to stick to our healthy diet and gym regime. We easily judge ourselves as too weak to resist temptation.
If your cravings are overriding your conscious reasoning, that sticking to a certain diet and exercise plan would make you loose weight, ask yourself what you are getting out of eating when you think you should not. Our body is not looking for weight gain when it makes us eat more than we need. It is however looking for something. You may think you are gaining nothing useful from overeating, but what ever you are getting from overeating is powerful and more important than what you want from being slimmer, otherwise you would not do it.
You may need some help, identifying what it is that overeating is giving you. Once you have identified what it is, you can make changes in your life, so that you gain that very important, powerful thing in a different way. Then changing your diet and loosing weight won't be so difficult.
When we begin to work with the mind and the body equally, we also begin to appreciate all that we are, with all our complexities and all the potential we actually have to change.
If you would like help with improving your posture, reducing pain, shifting a destructive habit, that holds you back, or work on other physical goals together with your mind, you can get in touch with Kristin on firstname.lastname@example.org.