“Part of the mind-body connection is the realization that sometimes when your body hurts, the pain is a signal from your mind telling you that it’s hurting emotionally – symptoms like aches and pains, headaches or fatigue can all be signs of sadness, stress or depression.” Cameron Diaz, The Body Book
In Part Three of The Body Book, Cameron introduces the idea of the mind-body connection. She explains how your three selves – your thinking self, emotional self and physical self – are interconnected.
Your body, or physical self, is constantly sending you messages about how it’s doing. However, you may find that your listening powers are a bit rusty, and if you’re suffering from physical or emotional pain, you may be oblivious to these signals, or even anesthetizing yourself with alcohol, painkillers and/or caffeine.
In order to re-open the dialogue between your separate selves you need to slow down, relax and tune into how your body feels. Your physical self can act as a window into what’s going on at a deeper level.
Learning To Listen
Here is the 3-step process to tapping back into the mind-body connection:
1 // Be present and notice the physical sensations in your body. Do you feel pain, comfort, tightness, tension, warmth, coldness, soreness or sensitivity?
Decipher what these signals are trying to tell you. Are you tired, full of energy, stressed, happy, sad, anxious, calm, focussed, angry or frustrated?
3 // With this new-found awareness, decide what you need and make it happen. Book a massage, go to a yoga class, do 5 minutes of meditation, fill your fridge with nourishing food, start a detox, get out into nature for a long walk, play with your dog or check into a spa or health retreat.
Be Your Own Therapist
I’ve designed a 15-minute yoga routine and body scan meditation to help you with this process. As you go through the poses with mindful awareness, ask yourself these questions.
Does the muscle you’re stretching feel weak or strong? Do you notice areas that are tense or painful? Do they get better or worse if you move in a certain way? Where do you feel tight and where do you feel supple? How do you feel emotionally? Are you tired, relaxed, energetic, calm, agitated, nervous, distracted or fully in the zone?
Be open to the experience as it unfolds. Tap into your own inner wisdom. If a specific part of your body is whispering or even screaming at you, pause, listen, decode the message and spend some time nurturing yourself back to a state of calm, clarity and contentment.
You listen to everyone else all day every day so why not try listening to yourself for a few minutes?
I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments below and please feel free to share your own favorite self-care techniques.
You can find more posts from Abi here.
ABI CARVER designs 15-minute yoga routines to improve flexibility, balance and strength, de-stress and ease aches and pains. Her videos are available to download from her site: www.yoga15.com.
Image: Graham Mattock