22 Nov What Is the Mind Body Connection?
You have a body.
You have a mind.
Did you know they talk to each other? They are having conversations all day and all night long! That’s how they connect.
Shall we eavesdrop? I’ll share an example of a conversation that went on just the other day in my body.
I had a very full Saturday, and the night before I kept going over everything I needed to make it all work smoothly. Get everything ready tonight, don’t forget the water bottle and snacks, pack the overnight bag, make sure my son is ready to go in the morning, don’t oversleep, do I have gas in the car…? Obsessing over every detail kept me from relaxing and falling asleep — meaning that the next day when I needed to be Boss Mom on Fire, I was Damp Pile of Sticks instead.
This is an example of the mind body connection at work. My mind was telling my body to secrete chemicals of attention, anxiety and action. And my body responded. Instead of sleeping and getting the rest I needed, my thoughts chemically agitated my body.
Very simply — our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are. This is the Mind Body connection!
Thoughts aren’t contained in the mind; what we think about produces chemicals. Emotions and thoughts are expressed by the secretion of chemicals released by the body. When your child feels happy or sad, an actual chemical transformation is taking place; feelings promote RESPONSE by the body and affect how healthy we are.
Research has shown that stress and sadness shut down growth, healing, and digestion. Chronic stress can result in children who are smaller and shorter, and may have mental challenges. Whereas happy and content chemicals encourage growth, healing, and repair.
Our bodies contain our own unique chemical soup, and what we focus on creates the recipe.
Being conscious of the conversations we’re having with our body empowers us and gives us something to teach our children for their own benefit. Then we can create environments which promote health. From generating a sense of trust in the body and the world to nurturing a child in crisis — we shift our child’s chemical soup toward wellness.
It’s a big ole’ ecosystem of thoughts, words, and physical responses.
And…pay attention here moms and dad. The next step is to teach our kids the interface so they can use it themselves.
Next time your kid is stressed out because of friend drama, give them a way to talk about and process their feelings. Ask them how their body feels, and where in the body they feel their stress. Offer suggestions about what they might do (breathe, take a walk, dance to their favorite song) to help their body feel better. This gives them tools to change their internal chemistry.
On the flip side, when your kid is flying high because they won the art award or scored a goal, also ask them how their body is feeling. And teach them their body is making happy, healthy chemicals. Your job is to bring awareness that they can use.
When you take the next step and empower your kids by teaching it them to recognize how their emotional state is affecting their body, they are using the Mind Body Connection. They can grow up with the consciousness that the body is smart and they have influence over it. That knowledge lets them live healthier lives. Perhaps meditation, yoga or deep breathing is on your kids’ horizon!
My final piece of advice, reminiscent of kindergarten lessons: Use your words, parents! Say the phrase “Mind Body Connection” often and empower your kids to choose health.
My aim is to be the most useful tool in your wellness toolkit. Email me at drheidiskye @ gmail dot com. and tell me what other health topics you’d like to hear more about so I can make sure my blog posts focus on news you can use.