Spending more time at home also means spending more time in your mind. That’s where the spinning starts as thoughts and worries swirl around often leaving us feeling fatigued and lost. Too many thoughts, not enough answers; uncertain future, abandoned plans; irritable reactions, sadness and loss. Sound familiar? It’s called a downward spiral. Webster’s dictionary defines it as a situation where something continually gets worse. No, please, there must be an antidote!
The Mind-Body Connection
We have seen great inspirational messages about the silver lining of Covid19 being a healing of the earth and quietening of our maddening crowds. The path to getting there starts with an increased awareness of our selves, our surroundings and our ability to connect our mind and body in harmony. This connection has powerful health benefits from pain reduction to increased mental alertness and even, improved recovery from illness.
The mind (thoughts, feelings, beliefs) sends messages to the physical body (tension, relaxation, power) and in this conversation the mind and body either struggle in conflict or align as one. When we harness this connection, we mindfully focus our thoughts during physical activity and the result is magic – peace and purpose. The trainable skill is to be able to relax our minds while we are physically or creatively active, and this pause of racing thoughts gives us headspace to refresh and reflect. And, it can be done quickly in 5 minutes or intensely over hours.
What are Mind-Body activities?
- Yoga, Tai-chi, Meditation
- Prayer, song and chanting
- Cooking, sewing and knitting
- Organizing, folding and window washing
- Painting, drawing and coloring
- Walking, running and cycling
- Gardening, woodworking and mechanics
It’s really about focusing your mind and entering a zone of optimal energy while in action.
So, if you’re wondering why everyone on social media is now a professional chef, a puzzle master or a wonder crafter, it’s because that ability to do something with your hands and focus on the task helps you shift your thinking and clear your brain.
3-Step Practice to gain skill in the Mind-Body Connection
Step 1: Plant your feet like the roots of a tree and reach your arms to the sky.
Step 2: Take 5 progressively deep breaths. Inhale energy, exhale tension
Step 3: Relax your arms and walk purposefully (feeling each step) while you focus your mind (sing a song, recite a poem, think good thoughts or count to twenty). Now, just let your mind go.
While taking a short break from work, kids or worry, won’t solve the world’s problems, it may help strengthen your ability to cope, improve your optimism and stop that downward spiral.