There’s more to exercise than losing weight and building bigger biceps. What’s going on above the neck is just as important. The state of your mind is closely linked to the state of your body.
Mind-body fitness, like mind-body medicine, honors the connection between your physical and mental wellbeing. Learn how to integrate outer movement and inner focus with these suggestions for peaceful and empowering workouts.
General Principles Behind Mind-Body Exercise
There’s a comfort that comes from having an excuse for the challenges in your life. Whether you can blame your issues on poor parenting, a boss that hates you, or the universe in general, it’s soothing to have an excuse. However, that excuse has a cost. By putting the blame and responsibility outside yourself, you take away your power to change your situation.
Is everything your fault? Of course not. But it is your responsibility. If you don’t fix it, who will? Even if you had horrible parents, there’s nothing they can do about it now.
Choose to see everything in your life as your responsibility and start making some changes. You’ll eventually enjoy the power that comes with responsibility.
Accept responsibility for your current situation and take control of your life:
Take comfort in the fact that your discomfort will provide significant rewards. Do you think that ultra-successful people deal with more or less discomfort than the average person?
It’s natural to avoid responsibility whenever possible. Accepting responsibility results in more work, at least for the time being. It can mean less work down the road, though. Handing challenges today ensures that they don’t grow into even bigger challenges later.
Failing to take responsibility comes with a heavy cost. You feel as if you lack the ability to change the course of your life. You lose respect for yourself and increase the likelihood of suffering from depression.
It’s time to take responsibility for your life and regain the control that’s so important to your success!
We all have some level of stress, right?
It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).
Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.
Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.
It's the chronic stress that's a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.
Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.
Let's dive into the "stress mess."
Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.
Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.
Mess #2 - Immunity
Did you notice that you get sick more often when you're stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?
Well, that's because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.
Mess #3 - "Leaky Gut."
Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as "intestinal permeability." These "leaks" can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.
The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.
Picture this: Have you ever played "red rover?" It's where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though. Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!
Mess #4 - Sleep Disruption
Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.
And when you don't get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.
More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health. Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren't doing you any favors.
Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.
●Put less pressure on yourself?
●Ask for help?
●Delegate to someone else?
●Finally, make that decision?
No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:
●Walk in nature
●Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
●Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
●Connect with loved ones
Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.
Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.
There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.
You can ditch that stress mess!
Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Te
1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled
1 peach, diced
Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.