The mind-body connection is a colloquial term that gets thrown around in every day jargon (like my use of SAT words? ) BUT, what does it actually mean?
Here is an official definition: Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are and vice versa! (http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/what-are-mind-body-therapies)
Okay…but still…what does that mean?
It means that if you don’t take care of your body, put good, nutritious things in it and exercise you are going to feel like crap emotionally AND physically. It means that if you don’t build up your confidence and self-esteem, if you don’t love yourself, you’re going to treat your body like crap and it will feel like crap and look like crap. And you will look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself and punish your body because you can’t stand YOU. You will either eat when you aren’t hungry or starve yourself, or pump your system full of drugs and alcohol to mask the pain or you will gamble or smoke or have sex with random people or sit in your room in the dark and cry and continue to hate yourself and wish that things could be different but you are convinced you are doomed to wallow in the muck of self-pity and loathing for the entirety of your life.
On the other hand, if you do take care of your body, eat clean and exercise you will feel good not only physically, but emotionally as well! You will be proud of your accomplishments, proud of who you are, proud of your hard work and guess what?
If you feel all those things about yourself, you’re going to LOVE yourself! You are going to RESPECT yourself and you will want to continue to treat your body like it’s the only one you’ve got (because it is) and you will continue to nourish your mind and develop a POSITIVE outlook on life that will in turn encourage you to keep taking care of that body of yours and as you can see… the cycle continues.
Let’s rewind 2 years ago and let me give you a scenario:
It’s the wee hours of the morning. The sun has not even peeked out over the horizon yet and I am woken up by the sounds of my daughter crying. I rub my sleepy eyes, lay there for a few minutes hoping she will stop and go back to sleep but she doesn’t. She just cries louder.
I drag my tired butt out of bed and go to her room, only to find that she’s hungry and wants to eat…at 4:00 AM! I grudgingly carry her downstairs, give her some beans and cheese (because she loves to eat that stuff) and wait impatiently for her to finish so I can take her back upstairs and crawl into bed.
And for the love of God, I’m hoping she will sleep in for a change because I can’t fathom the thought of her getting up at 6 like she typically does and having to deal with that.
Now…fast forward to present day:
It’s still the wee hours of the morning, 3:35 AM to be exact, and I wake up to my son crying. I give him a few minutes to calm himself down but he doesn’t. I haul my butt out of bed and into his room to find that, low and behold, he’s hungry. (Maybe it’s a genetic thing in my family). I take him downstairs and feed him cereal and cheese (because those are his favorite things) and wait until he’s done.
By the time he’s done and I take him back to his room it’s around 4:30 AM.
These scenarios sound very similar, right? But there’s one BIG difference…ME and my MINDSET!
After I put my son back in his bed I had a choice…I could go back to sleep OR I could go downstairs and workout. I talked to myself for a while, trying to decide what to do.
The conversation in my head went something like this: I could go back to bed because I have to go to work and take Charlie to soccer practice afterwards. It would be cozy. I could just workout later. (But I also know I probably won’t because if it doesn’t happen in the morning – forget about it). If I go back to sleep I won’t get up at 5 to exercise like I originally planned and if I don’t exercise I’ll feel disappointed in myself and I’ll let everyone else in my accountability group down.
So…I CHOSE to put on my big girl panties (and my workout pants) and went downstairs, pushed play and did NOT regret a single minute of it!
Here’s another funny thing…I’m actually not tired. Not yet anyway (it is only 1 in the afternoon). But I truly and honestly believe I feel just as good today as I did yesterday (even though I got a lot more sleep yesterday) because of how I treat myself and my body. I truly believe I feel SO good, emotionally AND physically, because I watch what I eat, drink a daily superfood shake and exercise. I take time for myself to take care of myself which benefits not only me but my family as well.
So…my final words of wisdom…TREAT YOURSELF JUST AS WELL AS YOU TREAT THE ONES YOU LOVE BECAUSE IN THE END, YOU’RE THE ONLY “YOU” YOU’VE GOT!