It has been an interesting ride these past 2 years. Mental health has really come to the forefront with stress levels on the rise. In my practice, I have always connected the two: mind and body. One definitely affects the other.
In my dance classes even, they are beginning to talk more about this. They are delving more into being present in the moment without judgement. Dance is my way of relieving stress and enjoying my life. I know if I am really stressed and can’t get my mind off what is bothering me, I unfortunately can’t enjoy class because I am not in the moment of just thinking of dancing and moving my body.
I had a client who was going through some of the top life stressors all at once, besides dealing with post surgical intervention to save her head/neck from a debilitating autoimmune disease. She was young and was feeling the weight of the world on her and everything collapsing. We worked together for a few sessions and I helped her mentally as well to look at things in a different perspective.
I realized she needed more help than I could give her and I wasn’t going to help her physically until she received more intensive mental therapy. She agreed and she went away to a rehabilitation center. When she returned she was a different person and then we were able to complete her physical rehab and make her stronger to stabilize her spine.
So where do you begin to develop this healthy connection?
The first step is always awareness – sound familiar? You have to be aware of your mind-body connection to be able to make changes. Recognize what you can and cannot do, without judgement. Notice your tone of voice to yourself and what you say. Are you saying something is good or bad? Instead of thinking well I did this today – letting it just be information/fact.
Shift Your Focus
While building awareness, do you find yourself hyperfocused on how you feel all of the time? Take a few deep breaths, or use your balloon, and calm yourself down and slow the breath. Once you have internalized, for instance, an alignment posture, then concentrate on just how does that feel to you. You know you may need to lift the ribs from the pelvis, but then think of it in a different way. You are making yourself 3” taller and you get the feel of it. By the way, I currently am making everyone 6’ tall now.
Being aware of ourselves physically, lets us understand where our emotions lie. Neck tension may emanate from a thought you have been perseverating on. Move onto something else, like going to the ocean to listen to the waves, to mix things up a bit. This is what builds your capacity to manage your emotions and improve that mind-body connection. This will also help you to accomplish the activities you need to do that day.
I was writing notes one day and realized how long it was taking me, so I walked away. I went downstairs, grabbed water and went back up to the computer. I was then able to pump out those notes in 5 minutes. I had refreshed not only my mind, but also my body by walking and going up and down stairs. I was in a different state of mind paying attention to my surroundings, rather than what I was writing on the computer. I became present in that moment.
Expand Your Sense of Self-Worth
Constantly paying attention to your body to the point of obsession can affect your sense of self-worth. My goal is always to train the body to just remember what it needs to do so you are not obsessing over it all day. Otherwise, you begin to judge yourself again and label it as “I can’t do it” or “I didn’t do it well”. Taking your vision away helps you to just feel what is correct and doesn’t allow you to judge or compare yourself to others.
In my dance classes, the teachers sometimes talk about if today something doesn’t feel right or your body just doesn’t want to move that way, then don’t judge or fight it. Just listen to what your body needs at that moment and modify what you are doing. Our bodies change daily. One day you may feel you can walk 4 miles and another 1 mile. And that is OK!
Being hooked on minutiae or hyperfocused on little things, can actually stilt your movements, making your coordination and balance more difficult and even your ability to learn new movement patterns. Drop what you are doing and move on to something else. You can always come back to what you were trying to accomplish and like I wrote what I did, the activity becomes easier and stressfree.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin or how to help yourself, please contact us today so we can help you on your journey to recovery. We have extensive experience in treating issues that will change your lifestyle so you can get back to enjoying the life you deserve. To help you on that recovery schedule a call with us today to discuss your issues.
To Your Mental and Physical Health,