The Mind-Body Connection
Did you know that there is a close connection between your mind and your body? In simple terms, what we imagine in our minds, we tend to feel in our bodies as physical sensations. Similarly, our physiology, and the way we hold ourself, has an immediate impact on our mood.
This is particularly useful when we want to change the way we are feeling - for instance to help with anxious or fearful feelings.
Read the following words and notice what happens in your body:
Imagine or pretend that you are picking up a fresh, zesty lemon. You can see its colour, you can feel the weight of it in your hand and the texture of its rind. Lift it to your nose and notice the delicious, luscious lemony aroma hitting the back of your throat. As you bite into the lemon an explosion of sour juice fills your mouth, tingling your tastebuds, making your facial muscles wince as the tangy, sharp juice assaults your senses.
If you noticed yourself salivating or puckering up, then you are experiencing the mind-body connection. You gave yourself a suggestion, and your body believed you. There is no physical reason for this - it's purely your imagination.
The same principal can be applied to anxious feelings; you have imagined or predicted an outcome, and your body has responded accordingly, giving you the shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and heart palpitations associated with anxiety.
So, it follows that to change your reaction, you first need to change the pictures you are seeing and the story you are telling yourself inside your head. Your imagination is your superpower.
Anxiety is not something we HAVE, it is something we DO. This is why labelling yourself as "an anxious person" can be counterproductive. When we do this we just end up getting more of what we imagine ourselves to be.
Much of the work I carry out with clients who experience anxiety or fears involves teaching them the very simple tools and techniques that can help them learn how to use this mind-body connection to their advantage rather than disadvantage.
Once learnt, you have opened the doorway to becoming the master of your own mind!
This article first appeared in the New Stour & Avon Magazine on 16 July 2021