Have you ever been so anxious that your stomach gets upset or so excited that you get butterflies? Isn't it interesting that just a feeling can directly impact the way you are feeling?
At VINA, we are fascinated by this connection and love to find new ways to support both the mind and the body for better overall health. Keep reading for more ways to nourish your body and boost the mind-body connection.
What Is the Mind-Body Connection?
The mind-body connection is the relationship between how you feel mentally or emotionally and how your body feels. Poor thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes can directly impact how your body feels. They may even affect your physical health by increasing blood pressure, poor sleep, and causing physical pain.
However, a positive state of mind can also affect the body positively by potentially lowering blood pressure, allowing you to sleep better, and reducing pain.
The mind isn’t the only one in charge. How we take care of our bodies can affect the mind. If we are not eating right, getting enough exercise, or not prioritizing sleep, the mind can be affected by things like anxiety and depression. The opposite stands true, too. The more we take care of our bodies, our mental health will benefit.
Ways to Boost Your Mind-Body Connection
Boosting the mind-body connection looks different for everyone. For some, it is a meditation practice, and for others, it is an intense workout like CrossFit. Here are some of our go-to ways to nourish the body.
Meditation is the practice of calming the mind to find a balanced, clear mental state. By practicing meditation, you may see improved mental health, sleep, and even gut health.
Meditation comes in many different types of practices. One example is mindfulness. The goal of mindfulness is to be aware of what you are feeling in that moment without judgement. Ways to practice are guided mindfulness meditations, imagery, and breathing exercises.
For some, sitting in the same spot without moving can be difficult, especially if you are just starting out with a meditation practice. There are also meditation practices that include movement, like walking meditation. Walking meditation incorporates walking and mindfulness. Try paying attention to your body and surroundings when taking a walk, without putting meaning or judgement into your thoughts.
One way to activate both the body and mind is through yoga. There are many different types of yoga, but the main similarity is moving the body in certain poses while focusing on breathwork.
Yoga classes are a great way to learn yoga techniques. Grab your yoga mat, a water bottle, and, if you're nervous, a friend, and head over to your local yoga studio.
Yoga can help with stress management, mental health issues, and pain management. The key to yoga is never doing more than your body can take. Yoga is about your own inner journey with your mind and body connection.
If you are looking for true relaxation, book a massage therapy appointment and get yourself to the spa. Massage therapists are trained in releasing stress stored in the body through massaging the soft tissue. If you have physical pain or need to set time aside to relax your mind, massage therapy can be very beneficial.
Massage therapy may help relieve physical pain due to stress, improve sleep, and benefit blood pressure levels and metabolic function.
Drinking lots of water after a massage is key because a lot of toxins are released from your soft tissue during the massage. Drinking water can help flush them out.
Acupuncture is a therapy that’s part of traditional Chinese medicine. The belief is that there are 2,000 acupuncture points over the body that connect to a meridian. The meridians are pathways that create an energy flow in the body, and if that flow is interrupted, it can cause negative health effects.
Putting pressure on the acupuncture points can help unblock the energy flow. Acupuncturists insert very thin needles on different points to help with any ailments you may be having.
Acupuncture may help with lung health, reducing pain, addictive tendencies, and nausea. While needles may not be for everyone, those who swear by acupuncture say they either feel very relaxed or energized afterwards. Either way, it is a great way to support the mind-body connection.
One of the best ways to support your body and mind connection is to sweat it out.
Find a workout buddy and sign up for local workout classes at a new studio, or if you are looking for a beginner workout and want to test your skills at home, there are plenty of home workouts you can find online. The best place for you to work out is where you feel comfortable.
A workout app can help hold you accountable and track stats. You don’t necessarily have to dive straight into circuit training and strength training to get your blood flowing and start burning calories. Start off by setting 30-day fitness goals in your fitness app, and just try to stick with them for that long—before you know it, working out will be a part of your daily routine.
If you are interested in starting a new workout routine but unsure of where to start, tour a local gym. They’ll have bikes for cycling, weights for weight training, and different fitness classes like pilates, spin, and HIIT.
Try out new workout classes until you find something you like. Get a sense of what they have to offer, and maybe something will spark your interest. Some gyms also have wellness services like nutritional advice, personal trainers, a fitness tracker, and spas.
After a workout, don't forget about the post-workout recovery. Putting your body through an intense workout will require your body to build back up certain carbs and proteins it used. Bringing a snack high in protein and healthy carbs will help feed your body what it needs. Don’t forget your VINA for the car ride home.
We all have busy schedules and many responsibilities, but how many times a day do you pause and ask yourself what you want or need at that moment? Taking time out of your busy schedule to take time for yourself is important. Self-care can look like the things we have already discussed, like yoga, meditation, or working out, and it can also look like scheduling a beauty appointment at beauty salons.
Incorporating a healthy routine like going to bed at the same time every night, keeping your screen time down to a minimum at night, sticking to your workout plan, and eating right, can also be easy-to-accomplish forms of self-care.
Anything that brings you joy can be self-care. For you, maybe that is reading a good book, journaling, or dancing. Doing things you love doing can reduce stress and tension in your body. Find what that thing is for you, and make sure you take time out of your day, even 10 minutes, to do one thing that brings you joy.
The mind-body connection is an important part of our overall well-being and health. By supporting the mind-body connection, you may experience less pain, a lower risk of high blood pressure levels, stress reduction, and better sleep. You might even be at a lower risk for illness when you engage in self-care because you’re not running yourself ragged.
Boosting the mind-body connection looks different for everyone, but some ways may be to exercise, practice yoga or meditation, or try out massage therapy. Whatever category of your life you choose to change, we’re here for you.
May we offer one last suggestion? Pop open a refreshing VINA and let your troubles melt away.