“Every single experience that we’re going to have in this life is going to be mediated through our body.” -Daniel Schmachtenberger

Feel free to read that quote again, and again. Our mind-body connection has been lacking over the course of history, but what does that have to do with our overall health? Well, everything.

According to the National Institutes of Health and Oakley Ray, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt, “Within the mind-body or biopsychosocial paradigm, there is no real division between mind and body because of networks of communication that exist between the brain and the neurological, endocrine and immune systems.”

Whew, that is a lot. This statement means our minds have a detrimental affect on our body’s health and vice versa. What we are getting at here is a disconnection between our minds and our bodies therefore resulting in the deterioration of both.

Take a few minutes to think about how much you actually think about your body and how it affects anything that you do. It can go both ways, right? My body does walk me from my car to work every day, but what does it do for me after that? It houses my brain while I think all day, leading to brain exhaustion, which then leads to physical exhaustion, which of course leads to physical and mental illness.

“We must try to understand our physical selves as more than meatsuits for our consciousness. And that means making empowered choices about our sleep, our food, and our physical expression in the world.” – Daniel Schmachtenberger

Not acknowledging that the decisions we make with our brains affect our body’s health can lead us down a damaging path. If you can awaken your mind to reconnect with your body, feed it and work it out appropriately, your quality of life will significantly increase.

Do you ever notice that when you think and think all day long with no physical activity you feel more exhausted than you would had you spent the day running? If you think about it, we sit and think all day long. We are mentally exhausted. We have no energy to work out or prepare a healthy meal, leading us to food that’s quick, typically unhealthy, accompanied by a night of binge-watching television on the couch, sitting again, to “relax.” After “relaxing” all night we head to bed, though we don’t sleep well. Why? Because we haven’t earned the sleep. Our physical bodies have been “sleeping” all day while our brains do all the “work.” Our body’s response is, “You have no need to sleep as we have been sleeping all day!” Then you find yourself tossing and turning all night just to wake up and continue the cycle. Sound familiar?

We live in a society that promotes this type of lifestyle and the only way to combat it is to get reacquainted with our body and how it truly affects our mental and physical health – positively or negatively. Here are a few ways to start:

Exercise

Have you heard this one before? It is likely in everything you read, everything you are told and everything you already know about leading a healthy lifestyle. What are you waiting for? It’s the #1 treatment for impaired physical and mental health.

Eat well

Again, heard this before? Again – what are you waiting for? Eating well fuels your body and mind just as exercise does, and when used together can create an emotional and physical foundation for you to kick butt at both your professional and personal life – every day. This also teaches your children to create healthy habits to kick butt at their lives every day, thus reducing your stress now, and in the future.

Meditate

Breathing exercises, relational cord-cutting, and mindfulness will create the connection between your mind and body and help guide you through emotional turmoil and difficult life decisions.

Get creative

Through art, music, dance, etc., whatever fuels your soul will make you whole. This will increase your attention span, sense of accomplishment and confidence in yourself, to again, kick butt at life!

Ditch the screens

Get out and enjoy life in that meat-suit. We discussed green space therapy a few newsletters ago, and it can play a huge role in your mind-body connection. Hike up to your favorite hill top and meditate to reconnect to yourself outside of the screen.

Bottom Line

Whatever you decide to do to reengage your mind and body, keep doing it, every day. You’ll be thankful you did. If you need help getting started, or resources to continue your mind-body journey, please contact the author or your dedicated Lockton nurse.

***This article appeared in the October issue Live Well, Work Well from Lockton Health Solutions. The author, Cortny Garmong, is the Lockton Nurse Advocate Manager and can be reached at cgarmong@lockton.com***