The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Music Credits: “Darkest Days,” by Fake Names
UNDERSTANDING MIND-BODY CONNECTION: Therapy is fantastic for helping you understand yourself and life coaching helps you achieve your goals, but if you’re on a path of personal growth it’s important to view your mental, emotional, and physical wellness holistically. For example, have you ever considered how your thoughts, feelings, and emotions affect your body? Conversely, have you ever observed how your physical health can sometimes impact how you’re feeling, or even the way you think?
Most people are under the impression that physical and mental well-being are separate things to handle. However, your body and mind are interconnected like cogs in a well-oiled machine — they inform and influence each other. When we’re feeling anxious, our breathing and heart rate speeds up, and our muscles get tense. On the other hand, when we’re down with a cold, we tend to feel hopeless, helpless, and pessimistic. These effects show a mind-body connection.
In this episode, we’ll define the mind-body connection, how it works, and why it’s important. By understanding the mind-body connection, you can make remarkable changes to increase your overall wellness.
If you want to know how to take control of your life and sustain a sound mind and body, then tune in to this episode!
In This Mind-Body Connection Podcast Episode, You Will…
- Understand the mind-body connection and its importance.
- Find out why what you eat affects your mental well-being.
- Discover how your thoughts and emotions can affect your physical health.
- Uncover what happens to your body when you’re thinking negative thoughts.
- Identify how stress affects your mental and emotional health.
- Learn things you can do to bounce back when you are feeling low and stressed out.
- Find out actionable ways to achieve physical and mental wellness.
- Figure out when you can help yourself feel better through changing your diet or behaviors, or whether cognitive-behavioral therapy or coaching can help.
Thanks for tuning in today. I hope that this episode helps you get clarity and understanding around the way that your mind, emotions, and body all interconnect, and how to use this self-awareness to help yourself stay well and balanced.
Mind Body Connection: Episode Highlights
What Is the Mind-Body Connection?
How do your mind, body, and mood affect each other?
As we expand our understanding of the human mind, we start to realize how much our emotions and feelings affect our bodies and vice-versa.
An example of the mind-body connection is that as we approach the winter months, many people experience winter blues. As our bodies react to the cold and lack of sunlight, we may feel exceedingly melancholy. We’re also less likely to exercise and get much-needed vitamin D, which in turn, can contribute to how we feel.
You have more control over what you think and feel emotionally and physically than you think. When you figure out how the mind-body connection works, you can expect remarkable results that will surprise you in many ways.
The Mind-Body Problem
While mental-oriented strategies you get from therapy are helpful, they do not always translate to dramatic changes.
I learned this lesson about ten years ago when I had a client who was dealing with anxiety. We had been working together to address this problem and had tried different methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, mindfulness skills training, and self-care activities. However, nothing seemed to work until he went camping.
He felt less stressed and more organized. He was also able to practice mindfulness — he even went so far as to assume that he was cured. After a while, he went back to feeling bad.
It was then that he shared how he goes through a six-pack of Diet Coke a day. And so, I thought about having a little experiment. He swapped out Diet Coke for something decaf and not artificially sweetened. The week after the experiment, he came back feeling better.
There is a physical component to our experiences. It’s easy to spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to resolve what we think are mental health issues through talk therapy. However, my experience taught me that the way people think and feel have multifaceted causes. Unless we address the underlying issues in a person’s lifestyle that may be contributing to not feeling well mentally and emotionally, therapy may not be effective.
At present, I ask questions about the physical stuff that we can experiment on, especially when working with a new client who has mood symptoms. These changes have the possibility of creating a dramatic impact on their mood.
Conversely, a person’s very real physical symptoms can sometimes be due to the following:
- What the person is feeling emotionally
- What they are thinking
- What they have previously experienced
Unless these people do deep work in therapy to think differently, manage their emotions, or resolve their historical trauma, the physical symptoms may not disappear.
Improving Mind-Body Wellness
The solution to making ourselves feel better can, therefore, be different than what we think it is.
Whenever you are feeling low, tired, or stressed out, try out these simple tips in my shortlist:
- Consider having a physical check-up
- Assess your vitamin levels
- Take care of your gut health
- Stay hydrated
These tips can help you feel better — research shows that what you put into your body can boost your mood. For example, depressed mice had their intestinal flora altered. Just this simple change in their gut health made these mice happier!
Body Health and Mind
Note that if you are dealing with physical symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor. However, if these symptoms come with anxiety, depression, and other related chronic illnesses, you may also consider talking to your therapist.
Now, you may go to your therapist because you think you have ADHD or depression. These conditions are real and valid. However, what you experience may sometimes point to other factors. For example, the medication in an asthma inhaler can create ADHD-like symptoms. Meanwhile, when you feel sick or are injured, your body’s natural response is to keep you in the house. You’ll feel tired, hopeless, and helpless.
How Does Mental Health Affect Physical Health
Evolutionary adaptation has taught our bodies to be aware of threats around us. When we feel anxious, our bodies interpret this to mean that a threat is approaching. However, the older, emotional part of our brains cannot differentiate between real and perceived danger. So, when we feel anxious, our bodies let out a stress response.
Furthermore, an interesting study shows that the bodies of people who worry more and experience more stress heal less quickly than those who don’t. People who have traumatic childhood experiences also have several long-term health conditions. Our experiences, thoughts, and feelings do indeed change how the systems in our bodies work.
Healthy Mind and Body
Over the years, I have discovered there are three things that have a huge impact on someone mentally and physically. These are:
For me, sleep plays the biggest role in this equation. When you lack sleep, you go through physiological changes in your body that increase depressive and anxious thoughts.
Another thing you must consider is exercise. People usually work out to feel healthy, but some do it to change the way they look. I think we must veer away from this kind of thinking — love our body, regardless of its shape.
Another problem is that some people cut back on working out because they are too tired or busy. However, getting into 20 or 30 minutes of brisk physical activity a day can have significant beneficial effects. You’ll be more relaxed, have more energy, and improve the kind of thoughts you are having.
Lastly, as much as sleep and moving your body are important, what you eat and drink are also big factors in your overall health. You can consult your doctor to see whether you are getting good nutrition, drinking enough water, and taking the proper medicine.
Sound Mind in a Sound Body
Do not underestimate the power of the mind in changing the way you feel. The way we think creates our emotional reaction to everything. Nothing means anything until you decide what it means. And when you have control over how you’re going to interpret whatever is happening in your life, you automatically have enormous control over the way you feel.
Figuring out what’s in your mind is easier said than done. I suggest you try cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive-behavioral coaching.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy allows you to understand:
- How am I thinking?
- What are my core beliefs?
- What am I telling myself?
- How do I intentionally shift that to feel better?
Meanwhile, cognitive-behavioral coaching is best for people who don’t have any mental health diagnosis and just want to improve their mind-body connection. This is not focused on symptom reduction but on helping you figure out the different elements that influence what you are thinking and how you are feeling. It allows you to assess:
- How you are thinking and feeling,
- How your mood state impacts your thoughts,
- What happens to your physical process when you’re thinking and feeling.
- Subscribe to our website and other platforms to get updates on our latest episodes.
- Check out the Love Your Body podcast episode with Stephanie Oliver.
Enjoy the Podcast?
Did you enjoy the podcast? What did you learn about the mind-body connection? How do you think these insights can help you take care of your physical and mental health better? Tell us by commenting on this episode. Subscribe to us now to discover more episodes on living a life full of love, happiness and success.
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The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Music Credits: “Darkest Days,” by Fake Names
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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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