By Jennifer Licari, Senior Healthcare Solution Specialist, EmblemHealth
The idea of the mind-body connection is constantly in our lives. It’s on TV, social media sites, and even in everyday conversations. However, seeing it and understanding it are not one in the same. If we can understand where the theory comes from and what it’s based on, we can use mind-body to improve our daily lives. Here are the basics:
What is the definition of the mind-body connection?
It simply means “A happy mind is a happy body,” and vice versa. More specifically the mind-body connection “Refers to how the brain and thoughts influence the body and its functions.”
Have you ever been scrambling to meet a deadline, or plan the perfect event, only to get come down with the flu during it all? Or on the contrary, how great do you feel mentally after doing something good for your body, such as a workout or a massage?
This ancient idea dates far back to the original father of western medicine, Hippocrates, who taught that good health was the balance between the mind, body and our environment.
Is the mind-body connection really important?
In my opinion…YES!
I think we can all agree that we love to feel good. And when we feel good inside, we are able to make happier, healthier choices.
Have you ever noticed that you often crave foods that are simply better for you after a work out? Also, how many times have you eaten greasy, fast foods after a night of overindulgence?
These are comprehensive examples of how we react to how we feel mentally. Clearly, when we are feeling better mentally, our bodies crave the same.
The positive feelings we have mentally not only shine through our physical bodies, but the energy produced can affect those around us, making our busy lives a bit more pleasant.
How can I achieve a healthier mind-body connection?
I believe the simplest and most accessible way to begin to achieve this goal is to do what truly makes you happy. This doesn’t mean constant “happy hours” or “happy meals,” but rather doing what is going to make your entire being feel good.
Also, too many of us put others first, and though it is admirable to want to help others, it is not doing you as much good as you might think.
Begin each day how YOU want to begin the day. This might mean having to set your alarm a little earlier to squeeze in a little “you” time. A quiet cup of coffee or tea, an article you’ve been wanting to read, that workout you have been wanting to get in, or even a little meditation or prayer.
In short, pay attention to how you feel, and never feel guilty about just doing you.
Jennifer Licari has a B.S.in Health and Exercise Science from the University of Southern Maine. She is a Registered Yoga Instructor (RYT), a Healthy Lifestyles and Wellness Coach (Real Balance Wellness Coach), and a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (NCSF).