The Mind/Body Connection: An Introduction

Just as our mental health affects our physical heath, our physical health can affect our mental health. How can we start to keep the balance between these, in order to help ourselves be our best?

  1. Nutrition. Nutrition impacts our mood and our physical energy level. In the winter, especially, the climate can make it hard to get very fresh food, and people rely more on comfort food. With that in mind, try not to get into a rut. I always tell my clients that food is medicine, so see if you can swap out one habitual winter meal with something better for you.
  • Exercise. Exercise is medicine too. It is something we can give ourselves each day in a dose. Ask yourself how you can give yourself a small dose each day. Would you like to walk a little more often? Maybe stretch each morning? These small habits can add up to longer term mental and physical health.
  • Breathing. I often ask my clients if they are remembering to pay attention to their breath. Are they taking calming breaths when they need them? Are they accidently holding their breath when they feel stress, even though their bodies need the oxygen? Try to be mindful of your breath, because direct impact on maximizing our brain and muscle function.
  • Sleeping. Studies show that sleep deprivation causes more errors on tests and challenges with paying attention. This can happen quickly: even two bad nights of sleep can add up. Think of sleep as an essential part of life, and make your bedroom as comfortable as you can. Your mind and body will reward you with better memory retention, more energy, and better resilience as you face your day.   

Lastly, keep it minimal. When thinking of the mind/body connection, realize that your mind and your body are what make you, you. Today, honor yourself any way you can. Try focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes, or consider walking a few extra steps. It’s these small doses that are sustainable and can lead to lasting change.