There’s always an ongoing conversation that goes back and forth between the mind and body. Your body directly affects your thought process, and vice versa.
Here’s another way to think about it: the way you move and interact with your surroundings molds how you feel, think, and behave. You might be surprised to know that this connection starts early in life. In fact, the earlier young children become mobile and reach cognitive milestones, the faster they develop and maintain their mental health. And it continues as we age.
Exercise and physical activity in adults help promote healthy physical and mental aging. When you work out, you keep your body fit, and you stimulate your mind. So, it’s a win-win!
What Is The Mind-Body Connection?
The mind-body connection is the intertwining of both the mind and body. This connection is so powerful that your body may experience a physical response, like nausea, crying, or a stress-induced headache if you think of something.
While this physical response may not be one of your favorite things, it’s basically why you and your ancestors have managed to survive up until now. In other words, the mind-body connection is why you’re alive today.
How Does The Mind-Body Connection Work?
There are four primary parts in your brain that have a direct effect on the mind-body connection.
The first is the emotional cortex, which is responsible for dealing with your emotions.
The second part is the hippocampus, which deals with how you consolidate your memories. Then, you have the prefrontal cortex that allows you to strategize and decide what to do.
Finally, the amygdala is what controls your fight-or-flight response. Your brain turns on this response when your body feels there’s an external threat.
As a result, it releases large doses of cortisol, the stress hormone. In times of danger or trauma, this hormone signals your lungs and heart to make you breathe faster.
Not only that, but they pump your muscles full of adrenaline. This is what helps you either escape danger or fight your way to safety.
The amazing thing is that each physical symptom you experience is also something you feel emotionally, and vice versa. So, for example, if you sprain your ankle, the physical pain can also be accompanied by a sense of anger or sadness.
On the other hand, if you experience a panic attack, you feel a tightness in your chest, nausea, and just achy all over.
What Are The Benefits Of The Mind-Body Connection?
The Dalai Lama XIV once said, “If the mind is tranquil and occupied with positive thoughts, the body will not easily fall prey to disease.”
Science has proven this relationship because so many of our emotions and thoughts are in constant communication. Everything from the immune, endocrine, and peripheral nervous systems, many of our organs, and all our emotional responses share common chemicals that go back and forth.
Now, let’s look at why this connection is so important and how you can use it to improve your overall lifestyle.
1. Boost Attentiveness
Knowing how the mind and body connect encourages you to pay more attention to your thoughts and emotions. Hence, you can use this connection to your advantage.
For example, if you’re not doing well emotionally, your body will give off specific cues. If you’re in tune with them, you’ll know exactly how to react before you become too overwhelmed.
One of the best ways to do this is by being mindful of your thought patterns and how you talk to yourself. Start to focus on when negative thoughts come into your mind and why some negative self-talk starts the way it does. By knowing that, you can give yourself a chance to stop them before they escalate and become too much to handle. Once you do that, you’ll end up dealing with emotions in a healthier way, which allows for fewer physical setbacks.
2. Learn to Release Emotions
Knowing how you feel and what triggers bring on certain thought patterns can go a long way in helping you release pent-up or negative feelings. For starters, you become better at finding activities that affect both your mind and body, like learning various breathing techniques, positive visualizations, yoga, and much more.
As a result, you begin to know what your body is feeling and find the best ways to calm your mind. This comes in extremely handy if you’re prone to stress, anxiety, and depression.
3. Develop Healthy Habits
When you’re able to deal with difficult emotions, you become more in control of your thought patterns. Thus, your overall well-being gets a nice boost.
For example, you pay better attention to your needs. So, you don’t get easily dragged into drinking, drugs, or binge eating when you’re in a bad mood. Instead, you engage in different physical activities to release the pent-up emotions. You also start to eat and sleep better, hydrate more, and manage to stay consistent throughout.
That’s when you’ll finally realize that you’ve made a conscious effort to develop healthy habits by living a balanced lifestyle. Over time, maintaining mental and emotional stability will become a way of life.