Connect To More Biological Insight With This 3-Step Exercise
The connection between the mind and body isn't so much a relationship as an inextricably bound system. I like to think of it in terms of a turtle and its shell: they may look separate at first glance, but in fact, they coalesce. The shell has nerve endings and can feel touch and pain, and the shell is fused to the turtle's bones.
So, they're not separate at all, just like your mind and body.
Most of us know what we think and feel affects our bodies: we get hot when we're angry. We can feel chilled when we're scared. We can feel flutters in our stomach in the first throes of love. What many people fail to recognize is that beyond these primal responses that can warn us of danger or entice us to procreate, our mind-body conversation is happening every day, all the time, and we can harness this connection to live happier healthier lives.
In other words, nurturing the mind-body connection is about more than surviving; it’s about thriving.
The Benefits of Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection
Before I get into how to tune-in to your mind-body connection, let's first talk about why we should bother at all.
When you have a better understanding of and control over your mind-body connection, you can more positively affect your body's physical responses. This means you can:
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Reduce pain
- Improve sleep
- Improve your immune system
- Heal faster and better
- Enhance control
- Improve feelings of well-being
The thing is, so many of us live in our heads and spend a lot of time ignoring our bodies. As a result, we don’t always pick up on the messages being sent to our heads from our bodies, or our bodies from our heads. Illness, injury and emotional stress can go undetected for far longer than necessary.
The good news is we can bolster our mind-body connection through simple exercises that you can do easily every day, even while you're doing something else. That's what I'm going to share now: a simple daily routine to enhance your mind-body connection.
Daily Routine for Your Strengthen Mind-Body Connection
There are many repetitive tasks we do every day that can be used as a springboard for mind-body training. Washing the dishes or making the bed or brushing our teeth are all examples. A good mind-body exercise is to take one of these mundane tasks and tune into your body as you go through the motions.
Let's take brushing your teeth as an example: Ask yourself to feel how your feet are positioned on the floor; how the bristles of the toothbrush feel in your mouth. Hone in on the rhythm of your brushing and your breathing as you brush. Think about your posture: are you standing up straight or slouching? A quick run-through of even one or two of these points can help synch up your mind and body, improving that all-important connection.
Breath is life, but because of the intensity of our daily lives, we often forget to take those deep, sustaining breaths that soothe and rejuvenate us. Taking a deep breath can have a profound effect on calming us down and reconnecting our minds and bodies. A new study published in The Journal of Neurophysiology found that when participants took deep, mindful breaths, they not only calmed down, increased their focus, and lowered heart rate and blood pressure, but also tapped into parts of their brains associated with higher forms of cognition.
Another way to phrase it: deep breathing made people more intelligent and aware. It is in this state that we can better hone into our mind-body connection and listen to what one is telling the other.
To start, aim to take five deep breaths in—right into your belly so your diaphragm expands. You’ll know you’re doing this properly because your rib cage will blow up—not your chest. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, like you’re blowing out birthday candles, but a bit slower.
Do this breathing exercise once a day.
Here's another simple and effective mind-body exercise. Grounding involves connecting with your body, your breath, and your surroundings. While you can ground yourself in many ways (like yoga, journaling, walking, and breathing—anything that allows you to focus on shifts in your energies and emotions), earthing is one of the most effective grounding practices.
Earthing involves placing your skin, usually the soles of your feet, in direct contact with the earth to absorb its energy. You can walk barefoot, or lie on the ground, or sit in quiet communion, but your skin should be in contact with the earth.
How grounding works:
Our bodies are made of the same elements that make up the earth, and studies have shown that by putting our bodies back in sync with these elements, which have their own intrinsic, intelligent energy, we can realign our energies and settle into a calmer, more intuitive and natural rhythm—a rhythm that is often pushed out-of-whack in today’s hectic modern world.
In addition to realigning our bodies and minds with the earth’s healing energy, earthing has been shown to reduce inflammation, stress, and pain, while improving vitality, circulation, and sleep quality.
The exposure to sunlight also triggers our bodies; to produce vitamin-D—a vitamin of which over half the population is deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart disease, decreased concentration, depression and anxiety, fatigue, poor immune health, and problems sleeping. The good news is that as little as 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight can give us all the vitamin D we need for the day. So can supplementation with a good quality supplement. Try our Vitamin D-K2for optimal bioavailability.
These three daily exercises do more than just strengthen your mind-body connection: they prove a pivotal starting point for many of us to first recognize the connection, period. Don’t feel like you have to do more than these exercises at first. In fact, if you only practice one of these exercises every day, you’ll be off to a great start. Add more as you grow comfortable with your practice.