Today's post is from team member and contributing writer Tailar Murphy, who is passionate about seeing women embrace health, self-care and body positivity in all aspects of life! You can follow her adventures over at Tailar Caileigh.
Over the past 5-10 years, the business of health and wellness has flourished as people have become more concerned with their health than ever before. However, since we are a consumer-driven society, most brands and services advertise over-simplified health and wellness, targeting audiences looking for "quick fixes" and "easy" ways to get healthy. The problem is that health cannot be achieved by checking a few things off of a list each week, and wellness is not one-size-fits-all. Truthfully, health is more than eating a kale salad or going for a run; food choices are nuanced by context and culture, particular exercises are great for some people and not for others, sleep and stress are way more important than mainstream "health" culture tells us, and the mind-body connection is honestly what we should be focusing on. But companies can't sell the mind-body connection, so people don't talk about it as much.
This is unfortunate, because the brain is an extremely useful tool when it comes to making small, but powerful, changes in our health. When you hear the term "mind-body connection," you may get overwhelmed and think it sounds too spiritual or hippie for you. I get it, because that is how I felt at one point in my life as well. However, the reality is that it's a very simple concept, and we are all built with the intuition to use this tool. And when we tap into it, it drastically improves our quality of life.
Here are some simple ways that you can enhance your brain-body connection for better health and wellness:
Slow Down: When you eat, slow down and enjoy your meal and those you're eating with. I like to say a prayer before I eat expressing thanks for everyone who made it possible for me to eat that meal. It's not about perfection, but progress You might not always be able to sit down and savor a meal, but when you can--enjoy it fully and be thankful!
Try Yoga: You don't have to be a super spiritual person, a health fanatic, a hippie, or super flexible to do yoga. There are Apps you can get on your phone and free websites that offer classes that range from 10 minute beginner flows to advanced 90 minute practices. I had a very hard time connecting with and loving my body until I started to practice yoga--it changed everything for me!
Practice Gratitude: Every morning when I wake up, before I get out of bed, I either write down or make a mental list of 3 things to be grateful for that day. One of the last things I do before I fall asleep at night is list 3 things again I'm thankful for that day, whether the same or different from that morning's list. This shifts your perspective, keeps you present, and really boosts your mood. Gratitude is proven to lower stress, since neurotransmitters like serotonin inhibit cortisol overproduction.
Make A Mantra: I believe that mantras are extremely helpful for cultivating a great mind-body connection and living a joyful life aligned with your values. Create your own affirming mantra and repeat it as many times as you need to before you start the day, or when you're having a tough time, and I promise it will shift your mood and your perspective.
- Be Present: It is difficult to know how your body is feeling and be in tune with yourself when you're always thinking ahead and worrying about the future. Being present in your life can not only help you be more intuitive and take care of yourself, but it will make you so much for joyful and thankful. It is definitely healthy and necessary to plan, but to always be looking to the future for happiness or fulfillment is not healthy and can actually create a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. Anxiety and stress keep our brains from functioning optimally, which obviously has a huge impact on the mind-body connection.
I have found that these five practices were what lead me to a more balanced, fulfilling, joyful life and helped me connect with my mind, body and soul for optimal wellness. You can certainly tailor any of these suggestions to meet your own needs, but the main idea is to slow down, tune in and be present. When you start realizing that your mind, your body, and your soul are all connected, you will understand how to take care of yourself better. Health is so much more than running "x" amount of miles or eating "x" amount of vegetables. It is about nurturing our souls through our passions and deep connections with friends. It is about finding what feels good in and on your body. It is about how to make choices from a place of love and respect for yourself, rather than obligation. It is not the easier path, but it is the path that leads to the most joyful, fulfilled, balanced life you will ever have. And it is worth it!Everybody's journey is different, and I'd love to hear about yours! What practices have helped you enhance your mind-body connection? What challenges have you encountered on your path to health and wellness? Which one of the five tips do you think you could try first? Can't wait to hear! XOXO, Tailar