In the first part of this blog series, I shared how unresolved emotional and mental issues can manifest as physical conditions. You feel physical pain because of something you are going through. We all know the stress headache. Haven’t read the beginning yet or need a refresher? You can read Part 1 here. Today, I would like to explain the concept of the mind-body connection further. We can actually use the body in positive and constructive ways to create calming or uplifting effects, depending on what we need in any given moment. How? Read on to learn more.
Mind-Body Connection – Simple Tricks to Boost Your Mood
We’ve all had one of those days when we felt completely stagnant. Either we were locked to our desk or computer for work or study. Or we were lying on the couch all day, enjoying a Netflix marathon. At some point during a day like that, chances are that you will start to feel sluggish. You have low energy and generally feel a bit dull or low. It’s unlikely that you’d feel emotionally exuberant or highly energised. Everything is just kind of…meh. But why is that?
Often, our physical patterning can have a profound effect on our mental and emotional state of being. This can be both negative and positive. Studies show that even little changes like the muscular activation in the face, without any other influences, can change participants’ emotions. For example, participants were instructed to either bite a pen horizontally in between their teeth or to squeeze a pen between their upper lip and nose. Try this at home! No need to feel silly ;-) When you hold a pen between your teeth, it automatically activates the same muscles as when you smile. When you hold it above your lip, the same muscles are used as when you frown. You guessed it: participants who held it between their teeth reported feeling significantly more happy and positive than the other group – without anything else being different between the groups. If it is this easy to influence your mind with your body, shouldn’t we use tricks like this more often? Absolutely! Learn here how to use the mind-body connection to quickly make yourself feel better.
How You Can Use The Mind-Body Connection To Your Advantage
This body-mind feedback loop is something that we can use to our advantage – and luckily, we don’t need to be messing around with pens to do so. Here are a four easy, physical things that you can do whenever you feel like you could use a little (or big) mood boost. Happiness guaranteed.
This does not come as a surprise – yoga is huge in changing your mental state of being. After all, the physical asana practice is in essence a preparation of the physical body for meditation. The beauty of yoga is that it can be tailored to what you need in the moment. For days when you’d like to be more relaxed and peaceful, there is yin and resorative yoga. For more active days, a strong vinyasa class could be just what you need. There is something for everyone and for every desired outcome.
When you’re in need of a surge of energy and a boost of endorphines, there’s nothing like some good exercise to get the body sweating, your heart rate up and circulation going. Most people who work out regularly will confirm that most of the time, you feel uplifted after exercising. The key is, of course, to find something that you love and enjoy doing. Whether it’s running, hiking out in nature, dancing, weightlifting of anything else that appeals to you: break a sweat!
Part of the yoga practice, it deserves a mention of its own. Like with yoga, there are breathing exercises that cater to every kind of effect that you want to cultivate within your body. There are practices that increase your energy, ones that help you sleep, and ones that bring overall balance. These techniques are also great to learn because you’re able to apply them wherever you go.
We know it intuitively, but now, it’s also backed by science. Whether your favorite is the forest, the beach, fields or mountains, simply being out in nature, listening to the natural sounds around you and unplugging from our devices for a little while to plug into the elements is a huge soul soother and tremendously healing and calming to the nervous system. Add to that the benefits of sunshine on your skin and fresh oxygen in your lungs, and you have a winning combination for your mood.
A bonus little quick fix that you can do right now: sit up straight (this has been shown to promote confidence and happiness!), bring a smile to your face (activation of the ‘happy muscles’) and take a deep breath. You will feel better in an instance! :-)
There you have it: mind and body can not be separated. They influence each other with everything that we do. Let’s use this knowledge to be a bit more mindful, shall we? Next time you feel a bit low, use your body to lift your mood. And if you’re in physical pain, see what influence your way of thinking can have. If practiced, this can be a real life-changer!