We’ve explored the power of meditation, and have seen how simple it can be to gain more mindfulness in your daily routine. But the concept of mind-body connection is a broad one—and generally speaking, we have lots of room for improvement.
The mind-body connection is the idea that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. It’s a reminder that our physical body and our mental activity are intimately tied together, despite our often-deliberate efforts to separate them.
You might find yourself asking these questions: How do I incorporate more balance into my daily life? How do I keep my mind sharp? How do I take intentional steps to strengthen my mind-body connection?
Here are a few simple ways:
1. Prioritize sleep. Heard a coworker bragging about how little sleep they need to function? It’s not a competition. Humans need six to eight hours a night to thrive—and not the kind of sleep induced by a few after-work beers. Strive for a solid night’s sleep after naturally falling asleep on your own.
2. Avoid sitting for extended periods of time.Wake up your body at least once an hour with a quick stroll to the water cooler. Sit on an exercise ball to engage your abs throughout the day. Be mindful of your posture—even set an alarm on your phone to do shoulder circles a few times a day. You’ll be surprised when you notice how your shoulders have inched up to your ears!
3. Be present by limiting screen time: By tuning into your phone, you’re often tuning out of your mind and your body. Social media and screen time can be the ultimate distractors. Set daily time limits for certain apps on your phone (your iPhone will kick you right out of them when you reach the max), and strive to power down at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Spend time outside: Not only can you soak up some much-needed vitamin D, but the outdoors and its fresh air help ground and connect you back to reality. You can take your meditation practice out to the porch, or you can simply walk your dog for 10 minutes before work. Don’t let the weather deter you—even a walk in the rain can be invigorating!
5. Get a massage: We know—we don’t have to tell you twice. The benefits of massage are significant: think tension relief, stress reduction and improved blood circulation. Can’t make the time? Find a masseuse who will travel to your home with a mobile table. Enjoy it, and don’t be ashamed to prioritize your self-care.
6. Laughter: It could really be the best medicine. Not only does it boost your mood, it quickly stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and has even been shown to have long-term positive effects on your immune system. So turn on your favorite comedian, or even just watch some funny dog videos on YouTube.
7. Give yourself a mental workout: Feel stuck in a rut? Try something new. Download an app like Duolingothat will teach you a new language in small, achievable steps. Go old school and offline with a Sudoku book. Challenge your buds to a game of Words with Friends. Using your brain to do something new and different keeps you fresh and firing on all cylinders.
While the mind-body connection can feel like an abstract concept, there are many concrete ways to strengthen your mind and draw meaningful connections with your body. Pick even just one of these steps to try, and look forward to feeling empowered and engaged.