The Mind-Body Connection: Why taking care of yourself mentally will also strengthen your body

The most common scenario for the mind-body connection is stress. Where do you typically feel stress? Most likely you are answering in the neck, shoulders, the jaw and head. Most often than not, we look to rid ourselves of pain temporarily by self-medicating with advil or ibuprofen. We try to get rid of the physical pain we are experiencing. However, if we looked deeper into this pain and the source, it may be possible to relieve this ache for good.

The mind-body connection is incredibly strong. The stress that is created within our bodies physically (the knots, the strains, headaches, ect.) is created by the stress we feel within our minds. So why not get to the root of the problem and fix that instead of simply just covering the symptoms with medicine? We often do not feel it is in our control or power to change a stressful situation, or we are unaware what is exactly causing our mental stress.

The body responds to emotion instantly. A person feeling negative emotions will automatically tense up around the areas of the jaw, eyes and mouth. An article found on PsychologyToday states: “Anger and pride fire up the head, neck, and shoulders. Love and happiness fill nearly the entire body, especially the heart. Anxiety and fear activate the chest, an area where people with panic attacks often feel tightness. Depression deactivates most of the body, especially the limbs, consistent with the sensation of heavy limbs that many people with depression experience.”

The way we handle our co-workers, the family dynamic, our relationships with significant others, our lack of coping skills, and many more scenarios can all greatly impact our physical bodies and overall health over periods of time. Stress is commonly known to weaken the immune system and cause disease. It is also commonly known that those who practice mindfulness and experience positive emotions more often are healthier.

In order to pinpoint the cause of your physical pain, you may need to deepen your awareness about your mental and emotional state. Really take a deeper look into your life and the things occurring in it. You may want to keep a journal or daily log of activities and emotions in order to notice patterns. Seeking out a therapist would be beneficial in order to gain some insight on reasons you may be missing. A therapist can also teach beneficial relaxation techniques and quality coping skills in order to defeat stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. Taking a deeper look into the mind could potentially help you tack on years to your life!