The Power of Our Minds: The Mind Body Connection
I am a Mind Body Health Coach. “Mind body” is a popular phrase nowadays. It feels like lots of things are being referred to with a mind body stamp. Mind body fitness. Mind body nutrition. Mind body therapy. But what does it mean?
Now I’m sure most practitioners have their own definitions specific to how they practice and what they do, but most would agree that “mind body” refers to a practice that is going to take into account your emotional and mental wellbeing alongside your physical and biological wellbeing. It is recognition that your mind and body are inextricably linked.
We often refer to “healthy” as the absence of disease and yet we all know people who are physically healthy, but mentally or emotionally struggling. And we all know people who suffering from physical ailments who are mentally strong and sound.
Your brain is a powerful tool, one we are still working to understand and replicate. It is made up of 5 regions or lobes:
1. Frontal Lobe (which includes the pre frontal cortex)
2. Parietal Lobe
3. Temporal Lobe
4. Occipital Lobe
Then there is the Brain Stem and Spinal Cord at the base.
Each region has its own role and responsibility, but know that there is overlap. They work together as a team to coordinate your life. (Please refer to the photo for specific regions and what they do)
The brain is the general coordinating a lot of smaller armies and tactical units. It is making decisions about what happens when and who goes where and what you should eat based on reports it gets. There are two primary ways thinks report to the brain:
1. The central nervous system – which sends messages up the spinal cord directly to the brain. This is a quick an immediate reaction.
2. Hormones – which travel through the bloodstream once released by glands. This is a slower reaction. Hormones take time to get where they’re going and can take time to turn off.
So, a lion bust into your room right now – highly unlikely, but who knows – your central nervous system would immediately react. Cortisol (your stress hormone) rises, blood is shunted to you limbs for quick escape, your eyes dilate for better vision, and digestion is shut down, along with a number of other hormonal chain reactions. All to save your life.
This activation is turned on by any real or imagined threat to your wellbeing. Let me repeat: real or imagined threat, so that means if you perceive something as a true threat to your wellbeing –like a snide look someone gave you at work – your central nervous system is going to sound the alarm and your body is going to react like your running from a lion. All the hormones, blood shunting and digestion stopping.
This is fine, if it only happens that one day, but the trouble comes when these alarm systems are left on. The body depletes it stores of these hormones, stops repairing things it should (because no one is repainting the house when there is a lion running around!), and it begins to break down.
My job, and the job of many other mind body practitioners, is to take into account the ability of our brains to heal and harm us based on the perceptions and messages it is receiving. Learning how to change your perceptions, support your body through stressful times (be it a real or imagined threat) and find tools to help you manage your mind going forward can be a life long pursuit. True wellbeing is finding the balance that incorporates both your mind and your body.
Tell me how you manage your stress or celebrate your amazing physical capabilities!
Hit me up below, because I truly want to know how you care for your mind and body!