Now this is a concept that seems so obvious to me, but for many, they still treat their brains and bodies as two separate entities. When I was unwell, I would often feel frustrated with the medical profession for treating me as individual parts rather than a whole. After overcoming my health challenges, I now absolutely know that our minds, brains and bodies are connected. Our brains are the driving centre connected to our bodies through our autonomic nervous system. Thousands of messages and signals are sent between our brains and bodies daily and we have the incredible power of our minds to change how we feel, behave and respond to stress and illness.
I strongly believe in a holistic approach to health looking after our brain health first and foremost so we can improve our emotional, physically and mental health. This is not just about healthy eating, exercise and nutrition, it’s also about well-being, stress management and having a healthy mind as well.
Science understands that our health is heavily affected by our emotions and thoughts and vice versa. Just as we know that stress has a physical effect on our bodies and can live in our nervous system, we also know that our minds can make us well. Think about the placebo effect for example. This powerful phenomenon happens when patients think and truly believe that the tablet is a cure (although it’s not) and this results in them feeling better, such is the power of our thoughts and beliefs.
Leading Doctors, Psychologists and Neuroscientists are speaking more about the mind body connection and the amazing things that can be achieved. Neuroscientist Dr Sarah Mackay says
“Therapies directed toward addressing functional links between mind/brain and body can be effective in treating the range of symptoms associated with many chronic diseases. In the context of health neuroscience, the brain is both the mediator and the target of mind/body medicine.”
“The latest research supports the notion that we have a natural ability to change the brain and body by thought alone…Because you can make thought more real than anything else.” Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
“Your thoughts are incredibly powerful. Choose yours wisely.” Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter
So, what is my point? Understanding the mind body connection is one thing but what do we do about creating healthier thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. Just think new thoughts? That sounds simple, right? On the one hand, it really is that simple, but on the other, it requires effort and consistency to change our thoughts and beliefs. As much as our minds effect our physical health, our physical health also effects our minds. The good news is that there are many practices we can do that re-train both our minds and our bodies!
This can be done by meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, spontaneous movement and dance, yoga, listening to soothing music, spending time in nature, running, or hiking all of which allow our minds and bodies to connect and releases feel good endorphins. Or simply receiving a hug from a loved one, which releases oxytocin, a natural hormone produced by the pituitary gland that promotes bonding and connection. All of these practices change our physiology and affect our mood promoting healthier relationships between our brains and bodies.
Ultimately, we need to look after our brains first. What do you do to look after yours? The answer might be nothing right now, and that’s ok. I encourage you all to start taking time out to look after yourself whether physically, mentally or emotionally so you can keep moving towards optimum health and well-being.