Repair Your Body With A Calm Mind
Mental states have an astounding influence over bodily health. Stress has been proven in countless studies to be the primary cause of serious health issues ranging from brain aneurysms to high blood pressure to chronic back pain. Our mental processes, especially those we suppress or ignore, translate directly into bodily processes and subconscious behavior. This applies to a wide range of maladies, and we see proof of powerful psychosomatic influences in such commonplace phenomena as the Placebo Effect and the body language of people feeling emotional. The mind has a profound ability to both harm and heal the body. By taking control of conscious experience and developing an intimate understanding of the self-defining mind/body connection, you can be happier, healthier, and more attuned to your surroundings. Hereâ€™s how:
Anyone who hasnâ€™t tried it will be amazed at the power of sitting still and focusing on nothing at all. Clearing the mind and persistently silencing the incessant voice of ego that constantly fills our heads with snatches of song, fantasies, unbidden memories, and self-destructive urges is a remarkable way to heal the body. After just a few minutes of concentrated practice, meditators feel previously unrecognized tension in their jaws melt away, muscles of their brows relax, breathing slow, and heart rates decrease.
Smile More Often
Smiling is a proven way to improve health. Not only does the decision to smile release trace amounts of serotonin into the body, it also changes the way others perceive and react to us. Smiling is a method for cultivating positive energy. Give it a chance: your mind will recognize it; your body will feel it.
Get at least six hours each night, but avoid habitually sleeping more than eight. Sleep in complete dark to allow your biological clock to naturally reset and promote deep REM sleep. Always unwind before lying down to sleep, too, and never go to bed with a racing mind. Sleep deprivation has serious somatic repercussions, so treat your body right by allowing it to recharge.
Youâ€™ve no doubt already heard the advice to take a deep breath before getting angry or attempting a difficult task. Cultivating this habit is a way of putting yourself inside the loop, so to speak, between sensation and reaction. It allows you to take control of bodily processes that are otherwise instinctual and often unhealthy. A deep breath also floods the brain with oxygen, making you feel happier and more alert, while clarifying your thoughts.
Pranayama is an ancient practice based on Patanjaliâ€™s yogic teachings, which combines yoga and meditation. By covering one nostril and directing breath through the nasal passages in controlled rhythms, practitioners take in, retain, and release prana (ie. air and life-force) in a focused and methodical way. The practice is proven to relieve asthma, congestion, and oxidative stress. It also contributes to stronger will power, better judgment, and enhanced perception.
What you see changes how you see. We have the ability to alter our perceptions and emotional responses by contentiously filtering our visual experience. Reading books rather than watching TV (television leaves little room for independent sensory interpretation), viewing art rather than insubstantial Internet pulp, and surrounding yourself with aesthetically evocative objects are all ways to alter the way you see. These positive sensory inputs eventually become part of the lens through which you see the world.
Lack of cognitive control and self-awareness is the root of many maladies. Science is still a long way from explaining the mutual influence of mind and body. And while western medicine is founded on a reactionary philosophy (ie. you get sick, you take medicine to heal) the methods above are based on a preventative approach. Of course, this is not to deride scientific healing. But these techniques and practices address illness directly at its source, from the inside out, rather than from the fundamentally invasive approach that works in the opposite direction. For many illnesses, the mind is the best medicine.
This post was written by the lifestyle bloggers at The Mirror Â who blog about all things to do with well-being, health, spirituality and horoscopes!”