The Mind-Body Connection and Your Health
Did you know your mindset can positively or negatively impact your health? This concept has been studied for centuries and finally in recent years, scientists are acknowledging the undeniable connection between emotional, spiritual, and behavioral factors and health. Practicing therapies such as yoga, meditation, visual imagery, and hypnosis are great methods to balance your mind which grants the gift of great health.
Is the process of balancing your mind difficult? Absolutely! However, that shouldn’t deter you from trying to integrate a bit of yoga or meditation into your daily routine. Even 5 minutes can make a huge difference in your stressful day. The biggest obstacle to overcome is challenging the beliefs that you’ve developed towards yourself and the world as well as unhealthy habits or coping mechanisms. Think about when you were a kid and began thinking that you had a stomachache so you could stay home from school for a day and actually ended up developing stomachache to a certain degree. That’s the power of the connection between your mind and health! Now multiply that by 100 and that’s how you can end up lowering your immune system and contracting disease or preventing your body from healing itself!
The mind-body connection happens on a chemical and physical level. This is because the “mind” half of it involves thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. Meanwhile within the body, the endocrine, nervous, and immune system share a common chemical language, which allows hormones and neurotransmitters to communicate between the mind and body. Neurological connections connect different parts of the brain that handle emotions with the muscles, cardiovascular system, digestive tract, and of course the spinal cord meaning that different emotional responses can trigger a physical response as well. When you get anxious, there are many physical responses that occur at the same time – i.e. rapid heartbeat, butterflies in stomach, cold extremities. On the chemical level, anxiety and stress can lead to a decline in your immune system which can open the door to various diseases.
Raise Your Vibration!
Everything on this world has a vibration (why do you think you need to vibrate after getting adjusted?). Vibrations impact you all the way down to a cellular level. In fact, your body is made up of water and atoms which have their own vibrational frequency. Both cells and atoms vibrate in order to create a wave energy that influences their structure and function.
If you tuned in to my recent radio show, you’ll recall that water has different vibrations (as shown through unique crystal structures) and can be impacted by the energy you direct at it – positive and negative. Influencing your cells with positive energy allows harmony within them and gives them the ability to perform at peak performance. One study demonstrated that vibrations that are carried by certain words and intentions can cause physical changes in DNA structure. This explains how words of affirmation or hypnotherapy can have such a strong impact on the body.
Your Body Feels Your Emotions
Negative emotions from anxiety to jealousy to anger can all contribute to imbalance within your body that develops physically into disease. Anxiety can cause stomachaches, stress can cause headaches, and basically any negative emotion can cause your immune system to drop. Repeatedly contributing to these negative emotions can eventually cause chronic conditions to occur and it’s important to realize that these connections from different emotions to your body aren’t just one way streets. Repressed emotions have been proven to be especially detrimental to your physical health. In fact, one study showed that those who repress emotions are more likely to have an imbalance in cortisol (stress hormone) compared to those who express their emotions without fear. This can result in psychological stress which changes the way the body functions at a hormonal and immunological level, which can ultimately lead to cancer or even death in the eventuality.
How Beliefs Cause Disease
It’s more crucial than you think to explore and cope with painful emotions as they can cause underlying and never-ending anxiety, depression, and aggression which will gradually wear down your entire body – inside and out. Pain is a combination of the physical and emotional at the same time as it is an interaction of belief translating into physical sensations. Physical pain, emotional troubles, and other sensations share many similarities in neural pathways. Studies have shown that those who lack social support are more likely to experience cardiovascular issues and other health problems than those who have a consistent, supportive social circle.
Even more powerful than that is the link between depression and cancer. As symptoms of depression decrease, the survival rates for cancer increase. Yet another amazing instance of the mind-body connection! Psychological support is a necessity for dealing with difficult emotions or challenging beliefs.
Methods to Heal Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
The prevention of disease and healing both require a combination of emotional, physical, and spiritual methods. When working together, there’s nothing that your body and mind can’t heal from! There are plenty of mind-body techniques that can help with the processing of emotion, developing inner peace and balance, and overall physical wellness. Living in the present and staying in touch with your emotions can stop the buildup of negative emotions. Being able to identify how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and ultimately being able to conquer whatever you’re feeling is an exhilarating feeling and can allow you to process difficult emotions in a healthy way so you can keep your body in great health, too.
If you haven’t tried meditation (or believe that it just “doesn’t work”) then you definitely need to give it a try. It’s one of the “easier” methods to practice mind-body healing and can be added into your busy routine with ease. Whether you choose to put aside 5 minutes or 50 minutes, meditation is a great start to mastering your mind-body connections. It allows you to reflect on yourself, your day, and your emotions while offering your body peace and balance. Other methods that you can try include: yoga, mindful breathing, Tai chi, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and guided imagery.
These methods and practices are all excellent ways to increase your awareness of your body’s processes that you might not even give a second thought to such as breathing or your heartbeat. Using these mind-body practices can allow your mind, body, and spirit to heal and give you a sense of control over processes that you assumed were “autonomic.” Hopefully, you can start at least one of these practices to begin cultivating an environment within your body that promotes health instead of disease.