More and more people are becoming aware of the mind-body-soul connection, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Exactly what is it and where is it? How do you find it? Can you have it even if you are busy running around trying to keep up with your life? Do you have to believe in God? Do you have to become a hippie?
The nice thing is that the mind-body connection isn’t something you have to go out and buy. It already exists inside of you – you were born with it. Many of us aren’t always aware of it on a daily basis, but when you stop and look at examples of it in your life it becomes obvious that this connection is there. The problem is that if you are not conscious of it, you are not deliberately using this connection for your benefit. First, let’s look at what exactly this connection is and then look at a way to foster this connection with simple daily steps that won’t cost you a lot of time or money.
Most of us are aware of the body. You live in it and when it gets sick, you really become aware of it. Most of us also are aware of the mind – that “thing” in your brain that projects a constant stream of thoughts during your day. Even doctors are becoming more aware of the connection between the mind and the body. Studies show people who suffer from problems of the mind, such as depression, are at a higher risk from complication of other chronic diseases such as heart disease. You may have even noticed that when you are under more stress, you are more susceptible to catching a cold.
There is an invisible communication occurring between your mind and your body. The communication occurs in the form of nerve impulses in the brain and biochemical reactions in the body. The brain can translate your thoughts and feelings into chemical and electric impulses that get sent through the body and cause a biochemical reaction. This reaction is the way that your body responds to what is going on inside your head. This process happens almost instantaneously and your body’s response is often proportional to the strength of your thoughts or emotions.
You might remember experiencing this. Have you ever heard some very bad news and suddenly felt sick to your stomach? This is an example of the mind-body connection. If a doctor measured your blood pressure, heart rate and specific hormones before and after the bad news, they could actually measure the impact that negative thought had on your body. The same is true for good news, but in the opposite direction – happy thoughts can actually create “happy” biochemistry. This is part of the relaxation response that is being acknowledged in the medical field. The relaxation response shows beneficial changes in the biochemical state of the body during times of greater relaxation of the mind, such as during meditation.
Where does the soul come into this connection? In talking about the mind and body, we are talking about aspects of our lives that are tangible. The soul is the invisible, intangible part of our lives that connects us to something bigger than just what we see in the mirror. It is the part that joins our intellect to a greater collective intellect that connects everyone and everything. Others have described it as a web of energy or divine matrix.
When we disrupt that energy field through violence to ourselves, such as repetitive negative thoughts about ourselves, or violence to others through anger and jealousy, it is the equivalent of putting a drop of poison into that web. This web of energy is connected to our mind and body, and eventually the toxins can manifest as depression or as physical conditions. If we are all ultimately united through this web of energy, how can even one of us be well until our communities and countries are all well? The soul represents the unity of all human life.
Don’t feel daunted by the task of cultivating your mind-body-soul connection because it already exists and is in full force even before you ever read this. Now you can direct that connection deliberately to benefit you rather than just being at the mercy of random events. Unless you have absolutely no complaints in your life, you need to focus on your mind-body-soul connection to maximize the good in your life. You may think your problems are coming from your job, your spouse, your kids or your health. But these are all just projections on a movie screen that are showing you the current state of your mind-body-soul connection.
My favorite, cheap, calorie-free technique for boosting the mind-body-soul connection is to force myself to complain less. We all have things that happen to us that we want to change and feel justified in complaining about. But this particular habit really drains you of energy and weakens your ability to strengthen the mind-body-soul connection. Instead of ending a thought with a complaint, find just one thing to also be grateful about. For example, I don’t like driving in traffic. It feels like a waste of my time and my body feels heavy afterward. But I have to drive in traffic to get to work. So after driving to work in traffic, I remind myself how lucky I am to have a wonderful job to drive to. This little bit of gratitude changes the energy from something that is poisonous to nourishment for my mind, body and soul.