The mind has a significant impact on the body. Negative emotions, such as after a heated argument with a good friend or driving through traffic and arriving late to an appointment, lead to some form of stress, whether it’s troubled sleep or a headache. Unfortunately, we are a society that doesn’t have time to be sick; instead, the will of the mind pushes forward, disregarding the status of health, hoping it simply goes away. Continued stress leads to a dismantling of strength, and soon the immune system crumples, indicating minor to severe symptoms. Only then do we prioritize the desire for wellness through tablet or pill medications, and sometimes delving into mind-body therapies. These begin with the act of closing the eyes, drawing in a deep breath and slowly exhaling. In seconds, the worries of the exterior world begin to abate, dissolving into nothingness, and what remains with you is a feeling of inner peace. Awareness of our behavioral, psychological, social, expressive, and spiritual approaches is not new. The last three centuries have provided the best medicine to the mind, body, and spirit: thinking positively and drawing strength from the inside out. Therefore, the next time your reach for an aspirin, consider starting a new habit—actively engaging in a mind-body intervention!
Mind and Brain
In every record of documented disorders, the common goal of the healers of ancient times was to restore the body to a state of wholeness. Herbal remedies focused on treating the mind as well as the body. Until three centuries ago, the brain was viewed as a machine, complete with independent parts, and separate from the mind. The brain was the hardware, allowing the cognitive abilities to fully experience mental states, such as thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes. Interactions between the mind and body can affect the brain, peripheral nervous, and immune systems. All the body organs share an interconnected chemical language of health and healing. Rather than emphasizing drug therapies, mind-body therapies confirm the medical and mental benefits of meditation, mindfulness training, yoga, and other spiritual practices.
Therapy that Sings to You!
Acknowledging the pains of the body and anxious, changing mental states requires a plan of action. A need to soothe, pamper, relax, and, most importantly, stop moving! What intervention helps you the most? Is it painting, performing 10-minutes of yoga stretches and poses, or praying?
- Creative Therapy: We delve into creative arts to lift the soul and escape to another world. Some people may pick up a paintbrush, a guitar, use their voice, or clear a room to engage in expressive dance. Research shows rhythmic auditory stimulation decreases anxiety, depression, or feelings of loneliness, and benefits health and wellbeing!
- Prayer: It is said, “Faith can move mountains.” As a form of meditation, prayer can result in positive psychological and biological changes, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and boosting the immune response and serotonin levels, improving mood.
- Tai Chi: Strolling through a park meadow, you might discover a group of people moving through a series of slow, graceful movements that mirrors the mobility of animals. The mind-body exercise combines mediation, balance, focused breathing, and low-impact physical activity. Practiced by all ages, Tai Chi aims to relieve pain and stiffness, stress, and reach a sense of wellness.
- Walk and Talk Therapy: Isn’t the act of walking, accompanied by a friend, a confidant, also a form of therapy? Yes! Relieving the pressure of the daily routine, walking aids us to relax the joints, breathe in the air, and allows us to speak openly about worries, problems, or release stress, just by smiling and laughing!
- Yoga: Did you know 95% of Americans incorporate yoga into their exercise practices, and 35% view it as a personal religious activity? It dates back to ancient Buddhism, when people sought to connect with their spirit and discover their inner self. Yoga is a therapy that uses meditation, visual imaging, and breathing exercises.
Only you know the therapy that sings to your heart, lifts your worries, and erases the tension!