Why is connecting mind body crucial in order to live a healthy life?
I just listened to a lecture by Dr. Gabor Mate, and also read an interview with him. Dr. Mate is a Canadian physician, author and speaker who sees Mind Body connection as the only way to truly understand illness. This is what he has to say about cancer and how it is related to emotions: (Research shows that) “People who developed malignant melanomas often tended to be people who didn’t express emotion in a healthy way and who suppressed or repressed their anger. Those are risk factors for illness. We know that.
The repression of anger suppresses the immune system as opposed to healthy expressions of anger. It’s not a question of philosophy.” addiction-holocaust-disease-trauma-recovery
There is more and more evidence supported by solid research on the connection of mind and body. In a way, we instinctively know this. We know about ourselves that we get sick during times of stress or sometimes just as the period of stress is over. With chronic illness we often make the connection between events in our lives and how we responded to these events long term. We have come a long way into this understanding but still, while we know it well, we are often trapped in the way we are. Unable to bring about the change that will improve our emotional lives and then improve our physical health.
The downside of this is something that I see often in the spiritual community. A kind of arrogance that speaks about how it is all up to us. While I agree that a lot resides within ourselves, I also recognize that often it is very difficult to produce the deep change necessary in order to bring true transformations. Placing blame on the person suffering because they are not able to change their faulty beliefs and alter their emotional road map does not help them get better, it does the exact opposite, now they are failing in yet another aspect of their lives. How often do I hear: “if only so and so was just more positive….” This brings me to another point. America is in love with positive thinking. Mind body health is NOT all about positive thinking. It is as if positive thinking is the cure to all evil, if only that was true…
Here is what Dr. Mate says about positive thinking: “Not having negative thoughts is not allowing reality to intrude on your perception of the world. You never see how things are. You have to always maintain a sunny, falsely rosy view of the world so that you can’t see what doesn’t work. Lots of studies show that people who are sunny and positive die quicker of their disease. If you’re a woman with breast cancer and you’re a positive thinker, you’re guaranteed to die much quicker.” So what can you do? You can look at what is in front of you and see it for what it is. Good or bad. If it is bad, and you are able to see it clearly, you can then set goals for improvement. It is not about having negative thinking or positive thinking. It is about observing and making decisions that will promote your health on all levels. You can take some steps on your own or you can seek help for the steps that are beyond your ability. The fact is our bodies are healthier when we are calm and happy (truly happy, not pretending to be happy). It is our ‘job’ to live our best life on all levels. Living in the best way we can is a lifelong work. Life happens daily and while some of it is of our doing, some is not. How we respond and react to the things that happen to us sets our health in motion. From Dr. Mate: “What people need is a lot of awareness, a lot of consciousness so they can identify stressors and eliminate them when they are capable of doing so and find ways of living with them when they can’t. Emotional isolation is a major risk factor for disease, addiction, illness, death and everything else. They have to create conditions in their personal lives that as much as possible counteract the stressors that are caused by the society that they live in, and they need to be conscious and aware in order to do this. This is what I would recommend.” So what are some ways to do this? To raise awareness and to live with consciousness? What can you do to help yourself cope with what life throws at you?
Meditation is for everybody! Mind Body at its best.
Meditation and yoga are one way to increase awareness and live a conscious life. Meditation was proven repeatedly to be extremely beneficial in managing stress and emotional upheaval. Dr. Lazar from Harvard stumbled upon yoga and meditation when she was preparing for a marathon and was injured. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/ Her research first looked at long term meditators vs a control group. They found long-term meditators have an increased amount of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex. Which makes sense. “When you’re mindful, you’re paying attention to your breathing, to sounds, to the present moment experience, and shutting cognition down. It stands to reason your senses would be enhanced.” So this was for long term meditators. Next step was to take a look at people that did not meditate before. After 8 weeks of 20 minutes a day meditation the brain changed significantly. In the group that learned meditation, they found thickening in four regions: The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation. The temporo-parietal junction, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion. Also, an area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced. The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.” So you see, here is one thing you can actually do by yourself that will improve your mind on many levels and therefore improve your physical health as well. Don’t be turned off by the idea of meditation. It is not seating with an empty mind. Mindfulness meditation is easy. There are multiple Apps available and for 20 minutes of your time, once a day, the results speak for themselves.
Community and support will promote mind body connection and health
As Dr. Mate highlighted, emotional isolation is a major risk factor. You need a place where you can safely express your TRUE emotions. This kind of safe space can be with friends, family, a support group, a therapist’s office…. In my practice this is the first and foremost help I provide. I am here to listen and support. I listen, support and then provide tools for my clients to use in their everyday lives. I have been helped in my own life and seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and of living with awareness and consciousness. There are other things you can do but if you just do these two. Meditate and find a safe place to express yourself, you will be on the road for mind body healing and improved life. In my practice; Integrative Hypnotherapy I use hypnosis to connect mind body in ways that resolve old issues and trauma and allow my clients to move forward with their lives. I prepare a guided hypnosis recording for every person that comes to see me and that takes them to a journey of healing and relaxation every time they listen. You can find more about what I do and how I can help you by scheduling your complimentary 30 minutes phone session using the purple button.. I work with both local, national and international clients.