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June 23, 2011 / Liza

The Power of the Mind

Hello!

Still experimenting with this relaxed posting schedule! It feels a bit off because I have no regular commitment to it, but I’m going to keep on seeing how it goes for now!

I wanted to do a post on mental health since most of my past posts have had to do with physical health — food, exercise… but wait, what’s the difference?

Let me explain. Lately, I’ve been hearing, reading, and learning a lot about the connection between body and mind. There’s tons of research about how interconnected the two are and how simply believing something or thinking something or convincing yourself of something can have significant impact on how your body feels and reacts. On the one hand, it seems like a no brainer, but on the other it also seems a little hokey. But here are just a few simple ways in which I feel the mind/body connection can make us healthier.

1. Smile

Whenever I go for a run, I make sure to take at least one second to look up at the sky and smile and just feel gratitude for the fact that a can run and for all of the good fortune I have in life.  It doesn’t make me run faster or make a cramp go away, but it always improves my mood and makes my whole self– body and mind– feel better.

2. Be Positive

This is the crown jewel of the body/mind connection. If we can see the positive in a stinky situation, we can do anything. Maybe that’s exaggerating. But truthfully, we all find ourselves in the occasional or not so occasional disappointing, unfortunate, and/or frustrating circumstance, usually accompanied by feelings of helplessness or sadness or anger. But if we can just lift up out of it for a second at a time to think: “Wow, when this finally gets better, and it will, I’m going to be so thankful” or “Even though this sucks, at least I got to read my favorite book today for 20 minutes/ eat my favorite dessert/ watch my favorite TV show/ run my favorite route this morning / etc.” or the ultimate positivity thought: “It could be so much worse.” If we can just have a thought like that, and if we can slowly increase the frequencies of those thoughts, we can make not only big differences in our minds but in our bodies– I really think that positive people LOOK better– happier, “glowier” if I can be so cliche. It makes a difference.

3. Stop For a Second

We’re always going going going — our minds and our bodies. But when we are feeling most stressed, just slowing everything down to stillness for a few minutes and just breathing clears the mind and energizes the body.

There are tons of other little things we can do calm our minds and better our bodies, but it seems to me that the bottom line is that things like this reduce stress. And truthfully, stress takes a toll not only on the mind but on the body. Constant stress can alter blood pressure, digestion, and so much more. It’s truly beneficial to your whole body to de-stress!

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I hear some of this stuff when I’m especially stressed and think it’s a bunch of bogus, but learning more about, writing this post, and really just trying to actively BE more positive, is really making me believe in positivity as a powerful tool for holistic wellness.

All that being said, I’ve been experiencing a much different kind of stress than I’m used to, which has made it that much harder to deal with. But yesterday, I just took me + my camera + my iPod on an hour walk to Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum and just slowed down my brain and my stress for a bit. On the way back I finally made it to the Philly Trader Joe’s I had been meaning to get to for so long, and after almost 3 hours of walking in the 90 degrees + sunshine, I was certainly exhausted, but I felt good. It just reminded me to slow down, be positive, smile, and be thankful for life!


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2 Comments

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  1. Marissa / Jun 25 2011 10:17 am

    alright so this might sound/be super awkward but I just happened upon your blog.. and I noticed you talking about philly… so I looked at your about me and I noticed you go to Penn …and well… I do too!! haha. Glad to know I’m not completely weird/the only one at penn who enjoys healthy living and reading food blogs..

    • Liza / Jun 25 2011 10:46 am

      hey marissa! not weird at all– so cool! 🙂

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