“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit; the realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of being”
Our minds, bodies, and hearts are inextricably linked, and don’t operate separately from the other.
I had first-hand experience of this back in 2010. I thought I was a fairly healthy person, and I was in the sense that I was eating pretty well, and exercising; however, I was not looking after my mind, and ultimately this had a disastrous effect on my body, leading to a full shut down of virtually all of its systems. I hit burnout on a physical and emotional level, where I could no longer support the way I was thinking, or treating myself mentally.
The mind can impact our hormones, our immune system, our nervous system, and our organs. They’re all constantly communicating, sending messages between our bodies and our brain, that intersects via our spinal cord, muscles, digestive tract and cardiovascular system.
That’s why when we feel intense stress, anxiety, or even a state of excitement, you experience physical symptoms; perhaps your heart races, or you get sweaty palms, or you get tension headaches, or stomach and digestion agitation.
We have all these reactions for a reason, they’re like little sign posts for what is going on for us, however, in general our minds and body have become disconnected from each other with the fast paced lives we are living.
The body has its own secret language that if you tune into it can actually give you a whole load of information, but we may want to ignore it, or push it away, because it feels uncomfortable; or perhaps we are so removed from the physical, that we don’t even notice these little underlying niggles that are taking place.
Likewise, the mind has the option to stay in negativity and ill health, but it also has the possibility to be a formidable healer, to calm and help balance you; when you can begin to connect to the deeper awareness that lies within, and listen to all the ways it can communicate for your benefit.
When we take time to really get to know our minds, feel into our bodies, treat ourselves with kindness and compassion, it empowers us to be healthier, happier, and can transform our lives.
BECOME THE OBSERVER OF YOUR THOUGHTS
One of the most valuable discoveries you can make is that you’re not your thoughts, and that you actually have choice where you can direct your mind. You can develop an understanding that you’re not your story, your memories, your history, your illness, or even your emotions, these are just simply experiences.
“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ~ Mark Twain
We spend so much of our time caught up in the past or worrying about our future, or possibly in thoughts such as, ‘when this, or that happens, then I’ll be happy’, which means joy is always something intangible. However, all we really have is this present moment, it’s the only time we can actually experience or feel anything, yet we spend 47% of our time distracted by past or future circumstances. It’s our projections on to the now, that predominantly cause the stress or the pain, or the worry, rather than what is actually happening in the moment.
Meditation is a way to start becoming the observer of the mind. To notice where the mind wanders constantly, and what is capturing your attention on a regular basis.
‘Is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind?’ ~ Rumi
We can tell ourselves a lot of strange stuff sometimes that doesn’t serve our self-care, or our mental and physical wellbeing.
In meditation we continue to choose to come back to the present moment, to notice what’s here, and we begin to train our awareness so that we can take this out into the world. You become the observer. The more you do this, the more that awareness develops out in your eyes open experience. You can start to notice the minds patterning, and can choose whether you want to go into the “story” of your experience, rather than have a real perspective of just what’s here.
PROCESS THROUGH EMOTION
Our emotions in general move through the body within about 90 seconds, however it is the stories that we create around them that often cause the most anguish and heartache. The body feels this on a cellular level.
None of us are immune to this, especially if we are feeling hurt, or grief, in a very deep way. However, when things arise we have the opportunity to work with our emotions, to take the time to process them so that they don’t get stuck down in our physical being.
90% of our subconscious is unprocessed emotion, often because we don’t want to feel it, or alternatively we get out that sad song play list and mentally relive every moment – we’ve all been there right!
While indulging in this way can almost feel quite soothing and cathartic, it also keeps us very much locked in our memory and old patterning.
We have a tendency when we feel emotional pain to contract, we can literally stiffen up, and also begin to lose ourselves in the thoughts of the mind, replaying the story and the experience. This can often turn into physical pain, where we begin to feel that contraction in the body, though we may not even be aware that the backache we’re experiencing is actually a result of the original emotion.
I encourage when you are noticing emotion to actually sit with it as much as you can, in the experience of the feeling, rather than the ‘story’.
For myself personally I like to name what’s here.
For example, if I’m feeling sadness, I might say, okay my heart actually feels like its hurting, my shoulders feel tight, I feel a bit wobbly on my feet, my eyes feel like they are welling up, I feel scared underneath.
Then I start to observe what is going on around me, the sun is shining, I can hear the birds, I can feel the air on my skin, and this reminds me that I am actually okay. I continue to sit with the feeling, and it slowly starts to dissipate, my body feels more relaxed and begins to soften.
The key thing here is that I haven’t ignored it or pushed it away, what we resist persists, so if you have a strong aversion to an experience, or reject it, it can actually grow stronger. Most importantly I haven’t made myself wrong for feeling it, so in other words taking out the self-judgement.
Believe me, I know this can be quite difficult to do, but the more you start to observe, pay close attention, and work through each situation as it comes up, the easier it becomes over time.
Can you be your own friend? Give yourself the gift of sitting with each experience as it arises with kindness and compassion, to help heal and soothe.
LISTEN TO THE BODY
“Better to listen to your body while it's asking politely before it starts yelling at you.” ~ Charlie Goldsmith
The same as we can observe our minds and emotions, we can observe our physical state, as this is often an indication of what is going on for us mentally.
There have been some wonderful resources over the years, Louise Hay, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’, Inna Segal “The Secret Language Of Your Body”, and Annette Noontil ‘The Body Is The Barometer Of The Soul”, that correlate a physical symptom to what is happening for us mentally.
While western medical advances are phenomenal, they also very much treat the surface layer, and if we don’t get to the bottom of the emotional component of illness, then it will continue, until we are able to create the mental shift.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, Kinesiology and energetic healing modalities can play a huge part, as they work on all levels and there is no separation between physical and emotional wellbeing. They treat all imbalances simultaneously.
For example in TCM which I use in my Kinesiology practice, the heart is linked with expression of joy, the liver with anger, the spleen with worry, the lungs with grief, the kidneys with fear.
Become curious about what is going on for you. What do you think underlies the little niggle, or pain you might be experiencing?
There are some incredible practitioners out there that can assist you to discover what might be going on underneath, and work with treating the whole person, not just the symptom.
WE’RE VIBRATIONAL BEINGS
“To give your positive or negative attention to something is a way of giving energy. The most damaging form of behaviour is withholding your attention.” ~ Masaru Emoto, The Hidden Messages Of Water
We create what we constantly tell ourselves.
We’re energetic beings, we pick things up vibrationally from others in our experience, but also from our thoughts, and we can create much of our own stress.
If you’ve ever seen the work of Dr Emoto on water, you start to see how thoughts can impact the physical on a cellular level, certain words or emotions can create changes in our DNA. Considering we are made up of approximately 60% water, it’s fascinating to apply this to human physiology.
Remember every word you think or speak, has a vibrational effect on your state of being. Choose what you say to yourself carefully, and spend time with people who also see the good in you, and in life as much as possible.
While we don’t want to ignore what is going on for us, particularly when we are going through challenging times, all emotions are valid; we can simultaneously still look for the positive and the good. Choosing gratitude, loving kindness, and uplifting intentions, that even through our pain or difficulty, can help us move forward.
The more we can see our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual components as all inextricably linked, the more we can delve deeper into the underlying patterning that can be shifted, changed and ultimately move us into healing.
The mind can be a harsh weapon if we let it, however it also can be a transformative tool to aid us in not only our growth, but in our overall wellness, to keep us in more uplifted and healthy states of being.
Which will you choose?