A recent article about the mind-body connection made me think. In this study, researchers have been able to show a link between doing some yoga (poses and meditation) and improving a very physical symptom (Atrial fibrillation).
As an acupuncturist, this sounds obvious to me. Emotions, mind, the physical body, all this is connected together and part of the same entity. But what are the implications of that idea?
Most people know that when they are stressed, one of their complains can get worse. Some people suddenly get very bad tummy aches and diarrhoea just before doing an important talk.
Some patients know that when they are stressed their IBS is getting worse, others that they are getting more headaches.
But this is not just about stress. One patient was having very bad skin problems which started just after the death of her husband. Her grief had weaken the Lungs which also controls the skin (or in other words, the skin and the emotion grief are related to the same organ in Chinese Medicine). This other person stops eating when she is worried (worry is linked with the digestive system).
There are countless more examples.
What a lot of people haven’t realised is that it is also working the other way around. If you can calm your mind and your emotions, you can also help very physical complaints.
What does it mean practically?
Very simply that by taking care of our emotional well being, we can help our physical complaints.
Now the article I was reading was talking about yoga and meditation. Whilst this is certainly one way to calm the mind, I know of few people that will entertain the idea of doing half an hour meditation everyday. Doing some yoga isn’t always everybody’s cup of tea either. And it certainly doesn’t have to.
It is about listening to some music and truly enjoying it, really listening to it instead of merely having it in the background whilst thinking about whatever is going on in our life. It’s about taking some time to do some gardening. Or singing or doing some cross-stitch. Or walking the dog late at night.
It is about taking time to go back within, an Yin activity, switching of from our busy lives that are all about ‘doing things’ (a very Yang activity).
We all need some time for ourselves when we can stop doing things, thinking and planning. And we all have an idea of what would be a nice way to do it.
So book some time with yourself for that special activity. Plan in your day that you will walk the dog before breakfast time. Write in your diary ‘Wednesday 6.00pm choir’ or ‘Saturday afternoon, gardening’. You might be surprised by the effect it can have on your body (and mind!).