How your mind affects your body – and what you can do about it!

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Have you ever gotten flushed cheeks when you were embarrassed, felt shaky when you were nervous or experienced a wave of nausea when you felt uneasy? Most of us have experienced all, or at least some of these physical responses to an emotional or mental situation. Your mindset plays a powerful role in the way your body feels and its physical state.

When we are young, we gloss over the link between mind and body, but the older we get, the more important it is to recognise and fully appreciate just how important our mental state is in affecting our overall physical wellbeing.

Your mind has a profound effect, not only on how we think and feel emotionally, but also on how our body responds physically. The better we understand the direct connection between mind and body, the better we can control it and use the connection to create positive outcomes.

The first thing to determine is exactly how your mind and emotions affect your individual body. Everyone responds differently to life’s experiences. Some people can handle stress well, whilst others can feel easily angered or anxious about the same situation. Get in touch with how your body responds and reacts to various situations.

  • How do you react when someone is angry with you?
  • What happens when you get irritated or frustrated?
  • How does worry affect you, physically?
  • What do you feel when you are running late or stuck in traffic?
  • Do you react well to change?

Your body responds in its own unique way to how you think, feel and act. When you are stressed, anxious, nervous or upset, your body reacts accordingly, indicating that things are not as they should be. Some people experience tension headaches or develop high blood pressure, whilst others might experience more extreme physical reactions like stomach ulcers or even a heart attack.

Understanding how and why your body reacts to various situations is the first step in addressing your minds direct connection with your body and actively stopping it from doing harm. You need to recognise your emotions and understand why you are having them. Determining the cause of sadness, stress and anxiety in your life can help you to manage these emotions and minimise the physical effect that they have on you.

Here are some things that you can do to help manage the mind/body connection.

Express your feelings in appropriate ways. One of the worst things that you can do is to keep your feelings bottled up inside. It is important that you are able to discuss how you are feeling but you need to be able to do this in a calm and appropriate manner. Leaving things to fester will result in an explosion of emotions, so it’s best to deal with issues as they arise. Taking care of the little things as they arise will prevent big things from building up.

Live a balanced life. One of the best ways to improve your mental wellbeing is to focus on the positives in your life. It is important to try and keep things in perspective and not to obsess over the negatives or problems you are experiencing. Don’t pretend that they don’t exist but equally don’t let them dominate your life. Some research has shown that adopting a positive mindset can actually improve your quality of life and actually give your health a boost. Try to let go and let go of some of the things in your life that are causing you stress and making you feel anxious. Try to make time for and focus on the things that bring you joy and happiness.

Use calming techniques. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, Tai Chi and listening
to music can be very effective ways to calm your body and reduce stress and balance your emotions.

Seek professional advice. If you feel like your emotional or mental health is having a direct affect on your physical wellbeing, then it is essential that you seek professional assistance and guidance. Speak to your local GP and they will be able to refer you to the relevant specialist that will be able to guide you along the right path. Never ignore your feelings especially when they are taking a physical toll on you.

Develop resilience. Resilient people tend to deal with stress in a more productive and healthy way. Some people are naturally resilient, whilst others need to learn it as a skill.Learning to adopt a positive view of yourself, being able to easily adapt to change and learning to keep things in perspective will help you to deal with negative emotions and minimise the physical effect that they may have on your body.

Make yourself a priority. To have good emotional health, you need to look after your body. The two go hand in hand. It is essential that you eat well, exercise regularly and do not use drugs or abuse alcohol. What you put into your body and how you treat yourself directly impacts how you feel and in turn how you process and react to emotional situations.

The mind has a direct effect on your physical health in many ways. Poor emotional health can weaken the body’s immune system. Poor emotional health can also cause you not to take care of your body in the way that you should, as you may not feel like eating properly or exercising regularly. It might also affect your sleeping patterns and how you function on a day-to-day basis.

By recognising how your body responds to different emotional situations you will be able to prepare it and anticipate its response and put in place various techniques to minimise any negative effects. Never underestimate just how powerful the mind is and how it directly affects your physical being!