MIND: the part of an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and esp. reasons.
BODY: a human being: PERSON.
SPIRIT: a life-giving force; also: the animating principle: SOUL.
My question to you today is this:
to what degree do you feel that body, mind, and spirit are connected and how do you balance this triad in your own life?
It is my intention to get the ball rolling on this subject (no pun intended, lol) and then I will look forward to your input, because I know that the different degrees and levels of the connection of mind, body, and spirit are probably close to endless, and I am interested in hearing as many of them as you will share.
While I have always been aware of, and practiced the connection of mind, body, and spirit, the profoundness of how strong this connection is, was recently renewed when I was invited to run in my first half marathon back in the early part of September with a team. Although I do enjoy exercising, prior to this marathon I had not ran around the block, much less 13.1 miles!
I did not fully realize how much stronger and more alive I would start to feel as I made new strength gains. All the training gave me an opportunity to prove to myself that I can be more disciplined with my time. I was able to confront some mental barriers that carry the potential to hold me back in some areas of my life. My body was better able to communicate with me about areas and/or organs that are weaker and in need of more attention and care for optimal health. All the training renewed my enthusiasm to share body rolling with as many people as I can as a means to improve performance in every other activity from sitting at a desk to running in a marathon and everything in between. The whole marathon experience brought me closer to my family and friends, and helped me to develop a stronger sense of community with the people around me.
Being able to participate in this marathon (held in Chicago) was a gift to me and the rest of the team also. I had all but forgotten how profoundly the kindness and generosity of someone you hardly even know could bring about such a positive change in a person’s life.
Reaching out of my own comfort zone allowed me to grow.
My relationship with my God deepened.
It appears to me that creating that balance between mind, body, and spirit is challenging for most of us. It seems like a lot of us spend noticeably more time in one certain area or the other of this triad.
That is unfortunate because science proves to us more and more each day the value of exercising all three areas. There is no question that they are connected.
For example, your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. This is one type of mind/body connection. When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be signs that your emotional health is out of balance: back pain, change in appetite, chest pain, constipation or diarrhea, dry mouth, extreme tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, sexual problems, shortness of breath, stiff neck, sweating, upset stomach, weight gain or loss.
Poor emotional health can weaken your body’s immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, you may not take care of your health as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or taking medicine your doctor prescribes. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs may also be a sign of poor emotional health.
The concept of mind, body, and spirit have been investigated in order to understand the connection between the three in creating inner peace and wellness. Talk therapy engages an individual’s cognitive processing which can also trigger defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms can make it difficult for individuals to experience inner peace and well-being. Psychological implication of addressing mental health goals through mind, body, and spirit interventions were determined by the examination of peer reviewed literature. Results suggested that with some risk factors, addressing the mind, body, and spirit through alternative techniques, including movement and art therapy, along with talk therapy proves to be useful. The research suggests that by bringing connection and balance to the mind, body and spirit, an individual may create inner peace and wellness
Strong scientific evidence suggests that individuals who regularly participate in spiritual worship services or related activities and who feel strongly that spirituality or the presence of a higher being or power are sources of strength and comfort to them are healthier and possess greater healing capabilities. Numerous research investigations have reported positive correlations between spirituality and decreased rates of stroke, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, drug abuse, suicide, and general mortality. It has been suggested that faith is beneficial for health and healing because it helps people avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and excessive drinking. However, studies designed to statistically control for such factors also report positive associations between spirituality and health in individuals with unhealthy behaviors.
The impact of spirituality on health and healing is a topic that has been virtually ignored in the disciplines of athletic training and sports medicine. Because of their lack of exposure to this topic, most athletic trainers are unaware of the many positive associations that exist between spirituality and health and healing.
Challenging ourselves physically can mean a lot of different things for different people, so please don’t exclude yourself from this conversation based on your perceived current level of fitness. For you, a challenge right now may be to walk one time around the block non-stop, or to incorporate more stretching into your morning routine, or to improve your lifestyle choices, or to compete competitively in your favorite sport.
I would like to challenge everyone to reach to new heights in the realm of physicality to experience the positivity that it creates in every other area of your life!
Or maybe you are a rock star in the physical realm already. Perhaps finding balance in your life would entail less exercise and more ways to challenge and/or improve your brain, or being more in touch and/or attentive to your spirit.
In my experience, I see that most of us struggle the most with physicality, and statistics support this observation.
Surveys reveal that 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week. People most likely to exercise were between the ages of 18-24 (almost 31% of exercisers). The U.S. government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity activity or a combination of both. Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or doing push-ups at least twice per week. Have you come anywhere close to this recommendation this past week? If you are an adult living in the USA, a safe guess would be no.
So, here’s the question one more time to save you from scrolling back up top ….
to what degree do you feel that mind, body and spirit are connected and how do you balance this triad in your own life?
Source: Heather J. Stoffel
The Effect of Spirituality on Health and Healing
Source: Brian E. Uderman PhD, ATC
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