Wellness: The Mind-Body Connection

How do you create wellness for yourself?

Wellness is defined as the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.

Two words stand out: mind and effort. We generally connect wellness with our physical health. That is a fallacy. The mind-body connection is unequivocal. What we think, what we believe, what we expect all affect how we feel and, therefore, how our bodies feel.

Remember the last time you walked into a meeting unprepared. All eyes on you. You sat down with not much to offer. Oops. You were uncomfortable, embarrassed, awkward. Was your body relaxed and loose? Nope. You were fidgety and tight, maybe even sweating.

How about the last time you took a leisurely walk outside in 75 degrees with nowhere to be, your dog in tow. You were thinking about the beautiful weather, the sound of the leaves blowing, about your loyal four-legged, or maybe nothing at all, just walking. Was your body tense…knotted? Uh-uh. Muscles relaxed, heart beat normal (for mild exercise), sweat contained.

In both scenarios, your emotions affected how your body felt.

The second meaningful part of the wellness definition is deliberate effort. We have to put a little effort into wellness. We know we should choose kiwi over chocolate. We know we should exercise. But that’s where it ends. Most of us think we should go to the doctor, have them measure a bunch of levels of a billion things in our blood and print off our indicators of wellness, eat an apple, run a mile and we’re done. Not really.

If we really want to have a kickin’ body, one that feels good, that is the picture of wellness, then we have to appreciate the connection between our mind and our body.

Do things that make you feel good. If you’re tense at work, sit in the Zen lounge. If you’re too stressed to study for your exam, take a walk with Fido, then study. If the kids are driving you crazy at home, stick a sign on the door ‘Meditating. Come back 15 minutes’…and lock it (that’s what I do). You gotta make a little effort in creating mental and emotional well-being. Your body will respond.

Drink your smoothie. Do your push-ups. But also consider how you’re feeling. If you’re not thinking thoughts that feel good, tweak them. More on that next week…

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