I have this friend. She can be a wonderful, caring person but she’s constantly sick. She’s either got a cold or stomach issues or she just “doesn’t feel good.” It causes her to frequently cancel plans to the point that she rarely leaves her house. Since I was worried about her, I started to take note of certain things. I noticed that she wasn’t regularly a positive person. She’s constantly stressed out and anxious about things going on in her life–things that others might let go of more easily. I realized there is a huge connection between our emotional health and our physical health. For centuries, healers have understood that our emotions and how we regulate them have a direct impact on our physical health. Modern science is beginning to study this relationship now more than ever and it’s being referenced as the mind-body connection. The mind-body connection happens on a physical and neurological level. Your brain controls the various emotions, beliefs, and feelings that constitute your mind. Neurological pathways connect your brain–that’s processing these emotions, feelings, and beliefs–to your spinal cord, muscles, cardiovascular system and digestive system. So, when you experience events that cause stress or negative emotions, you are triggering physical symptoms. Think back to a time when you were called to the principal’s office or had to give a speech for the first time. The butterflies in your stomach and the pounding heart, those were all physical manifestations of your emotional health. Now, think about what could happen in your body when you put yourself in this state on a continual basis. What if your body had to respond to that stress day after day? At that point, the body can’t process the chemical reactions any longer and you can suffer from ulcers, upset stomach, migraines, high blood pressure, and more. Your body will wear out more easily, physical symptoms kick in, and you “just don’t feel good.” Positive thoughts and emotions vibrate in harmony with your cells and allow them to function the way they were meant to. One study found that the type of emotions that you experience on a regular basis can cause physical changes in your DNA, which affects how your body rebuilds itself. This is why practicing positive guided visualization or affirmations regularly can have strong effects on how you feel physically. There are many ways you can approach the mind-body connection to develop inner peace and physical wellness. Here are some of my favorites:
- Practice mindfulness. To avoid letting emotions build up too much, remain present and aware. Identify emotions as they arise and make a conscious choice in how you will react. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust to help you work through them or journal about how you’re feeling.
- Meditation. This is a valuable mind-body practice to help you relax, reduce stress and center your mind. Meditation can also help you regulate your emotions and flood the body with happy chemicals to promote good health. One great way to practice meditation is with the BrainTap Pro App. Our users report that after using our guided visualizations on a daily basis they feel more relaxed, happier, more rested, and more energetic.
- Yoga. Yoga is a great way to relax and center your body, tune into your body’s feelings and responses, stretch your muscles and just feel great.
- Tai Chi. Tai Chi combines a gentle physical movement with stretching and mindfulness. It has been shown to reduce pain and can help with depression.