Use your Body to Help Your Mind
I hope that y’all had a lovely Thanksgiving and soaked up all the wonderful moments ?
This week I wanted to talk about how to use your body to help your mind and how you can sue your mind to help your body.
The reason this has come up, is that many of us sit all day long for a living. Then we move from the computer to the couch to sit some more. We spend a lot of time where our mind gets sensory overload with a ton of activity while our body is stationary and often slumped with the neck in less than optimal alignment ( Tech Neck). All this creates a disconnection between the Mind and the Body. They are not separate from each other and sustainable good health requires that we nourish all of ourselves.
I also want to promote the idea that it is never too soon to teach your kids how to create calm and inner strength to offset their screen/sitting world. I am seeing more and more cases of kids with anxiety challenges and mood behaviors.
Use your Body to Help the Mind
Here are some Somatic Suggestions…
In practice I talk a lot about using the body to help the mind and understanding how the nervous system signals help us to get more in touch with what our bodies are telling us.
The idea that physical symptoms are not a problem but a messenger or a tap on the shoulder or a gift from our bodies, pointing us to what they need.
Here are some suggestions on how you can incorporate the body into healing through movement or physical practices such as:
- If you are nervous and stressed (such as before speaking on stage or having a difficult conversation), lean into it instead of fighting the nervousness and shaking! Shake your whole body on purpose, and let that tension release. When I get nervous before a presentation I pace a little and I also shake my hands like I am shaking it off…It helps me …
- I also say to myself ” You got this and do it with Ease and Grace ” You might be surprised how much better you feel! I think this would be a great one for the little ones that struggle with test anxiety to teach them how to shake it off.
- If you are feeling angry or processing big emotions, push against a wall as hard as possible for a minute or two (no punching please). This will help the emotions process through the body. Then ask why am I angry? What is the trigger for me and how can I move through it so it does not linger inside my body. Am I even angry at all or is it something else??
- For nervous system health, we can also use our bodies to signal safety, even by our posture. When we spend a lot of time sitting, hunched over, or looking down at our phone, our nervous system doesn’t feel like we are being aware of our surroundings and can feel more fear. How about taking quick breaks like every 90 minutes to stand tall, shoulders back, arms out, and looking around with the neck. This signals to the body and nervous system that we are aware of our surroundings. When we feel safe our nervous system can be in parasympatheic mode. The is also a good tactic to get the blood moving, change your state, get some water and allow your eyes and brain to rest.
Use your Mind to help the Body.
You can also use your mind to help your body. We have over 10,000 subconscious thoughts a day which is a lot to comprehend. Getting in touch with those thoughts and making sure we frame them in a positive way can change our physical chemistry!!
- Audit your inner language, and instead of asking why questions (Why am I sick, Why can’t I lose weight, etc.), which put the mind in a defensive position, ask how questions (How can I heal quickly and with ease?). Even better, make positive statements and use affirmations often, such as: I am healing, Each day I get stronger and healthier, or Every day in every way I get better and better.
- You can’t receive and heal if you are in a state of fear because the nervous system is on high alert, so incorporating practices to increase calm, love, and peace can help your body move into a state of healing.
- Taking a moment to think of things you are grateful for before you even get out of bed in the morning to help focus on gratitude throughout the day.
- As many of you know I have a “Morning Routine” that includes, Yoga, Meditation and Gratitude. I do all these things to help me start my day from a place of calm and strength. This practice has helped me through when I struggled, helped me learn what my body was saying and helped me connect to my feelings and ask ” what I am really feeling and why”?
A 30 Minute Mind/Body Practice
The key to these practices is to be consistent. You can start slow:
- Ten minutes of breathwork
- Ten minutes of strength training and alternate with flexibility movement
- Ten minutes of Gratitude journaling/manifesting
I know we can all calve out 30 minutes each morning to help us navigate the ups and downs that life brings. The key is to say ” to be the best leader, parent, partner etc … I have to take care of me first.