The mind and body are not separate entities living a parallel existence but intimately linked.
How would you describe the way you feel right now? Fatigued? Stressed? Calm? Focused? Would the way you describe your current state be one that represents what you’re “feeling” in your head or what you sense in our body?
We tend to spend much, if not most, of our time in our heads — particularly in the world we live in, where a large part of our work and social interactions are done facing a computer or smartphone screen.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget you have a body altogether! Until…You get hungry. You get a headache. You have to use the bathroom. It’s as if, once those basic human needs are met, the body is, for the most part, dismissed. And in fact, the things you do to meet those needs (eat a snack, take an aspirin, empty your bladder) are done in an effort to silence the body’ needs so that you can get ack to what you were doing before that.
TIP: FIND OPPORTUNITIES TO MOVE MINDFULLY EACH DAY
You are more than your mind
Your mind may be the key to happiness, but you are not simply a mind; you are a body, too–a body with its own unique needs and desires; sensations and energy; wisdom and intelligence. It’s a complex, fascinating thing that needs far more than simple watering and feeding to keep it happy and healthy. And to deny the rich physical experience of our bodies is to miss out on one of the greatest things about being alive.
Mindful exercise benefits both body and mind
It is important to become more fully present in the moment by focusing on your body. The idea (and growing science) behind mind/body wellness is based on the idea that the mind and body are not separate entities living a parallel existence, but intimately linked, and that how you treat one deeply affects the other. It’s important to learn to identify places in your body where you hold tension. After all, stress is not simply an experience of the mind; it’s very much a physical experience as well. Stress can register in your body as a physical injury might. Research suggests that a high percentage of illnesses are stress-induced. If your stress goes unaddressed, your body takes the hit and the result can be anything from mild aches and pains to inflammation and disease.
TIP: DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED–TAKE NOT OF HOW SENSITIVE AND POWERFUL YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS ARE, AND RETURN TO YOUR BREATH.
Releasing tension doesn’t happen all at once–it’s a gradual process. It took a long time for your body to accumulate those layers of tension and stress. To strip them away, you must be gentle with yourself, and become patient. The more aware you are of physical tension, the more able you are to let it go.
Activities that engage mind and body benefit both–you’ll not only feel more relaxed with regular physical activity, but you may also find you’re mentally sharper and more alert–and more prepared to face the day’s stresses head-on.
Make it a point to stay connected to our physical self. One way to do this is to do a body scan, in which you mentally scan your body from head to toe for tension and then breathe into those places to release that tension. Another way is to find opportunities throughout the day to engage in mindful movement–this is critical to keeping stress and its negative physical effects at bay. Think about ways you can do that, whether it’s doing some gentle stretching when you wake up, or taking a brisk walk in the morning or afternoon. May you can walk to the post office rather than drive, or spend an hour walking with a friend instead of sitting in a coffee shop. (Click to listen to our Body Scan Meditation)
How We Can Help
Be sure to access our Meditation Pebbles Podcast for easy five minute practices you can do easily. If you would like to work more with the breath and quieting the mind, be sure to explore our meditation and mindfulness instruction information. We offer personal and group instruction. Our classes in person and in our video conferencing room begin in January 2018.
One series to take note of is the Meditation for Stress Relief. In this series, we’ll explore together how meditation can help relieve stress. You’ll learn detailed information on stress and how to de-stress, breathing focus meditations, body scan meditation, visualizations, and more in our one-on-one sessions.