The Mind-Body Connection and the Art of Letting Go

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It is very easy to live on auto-pilot, disregarding or not paying much attention to the most important aspects of our lives – those that nourish us from the inside out.

Have you ever had a job that didn’t mean anything to you? In other words, you were used to this job, you went every day, you performed your duties, but what you did didn’t really mean much to you? Perhaps it was a comfortable situation, comfortable because it was a familiar job and you did it well, it paid well, and the benefits were good; but this job didn’t really fulfill you; it didn’t really allow you to grow as a person or be of service to others.

Or perhaps you’ve been in a relationship for the sake of keeping up with the status quo. A relationship where you didn’t really feel loved, or one where you were the one not really in love. Perhaps you felt like you had to stay in it for the sake of your children, so that they would grow up with a sense of family structure. Or perhaps you stayed in this relationship so that you wouldn’t feel lonely, or because you didn’t feel lovable, or good enough, or attractive enough to be with anybody else. Or simply, you stayed in it so that you would have someone to spend time with. Perhaps your relationship lacked honesty; you lied or were lied to; you were used or maybe physically or verbally abused; or maybe you were plainly ignored.

Or how about a spiritual practice that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, but you remain in it because it is what your parents and your community followed, or what you grew up with. And because doing that was far easier than looking within to try and find what really makes sense to you personally, what really fulfills you and gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.

Have you ever been in any of these situations? Can you relate?

Now let’s picture for a moment the effect that living in a situation like any of these, or a similar one, could have on your health. You might think: but what does this have to do with my health? A lot!

You see, when we experience any of the situations listed above, when we ignore or are not true to ourselves, to our innermost desires and interests, to our inner calling – that, of course, doesn’t make us happy and it doesn’t allow us to feel well emotionally. And when we consistently do not feel well inside, for a long period of time, this is reflected at a cellular level.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the mind-body connection. This connection implies that the mind can play a role in positively or negatively influencing a person’s body and health. As there is interplay between the mind and the body, your thoughts and emotions can bring about physical manifestations. For example, a happy memory or emotion may somehow make you feel lighter or relaxed. On the other hand, a negative thought or upsetting situation may cause you to feel stressed, and may make your heart race or palms sweaty.

Some of the manifestations caused by emotional upset are:

  • Appetite changes
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations
  • Feelings of dryness in the mouth and throat
  • Excessive tiredness and weakness
  • Unexplainable pains and aches
  • Headaches and migraines
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Sleep disturbances like insomnia or nightmares
  • Low libido, erectile dysfunction
  • Nausea and lightheadedness
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Lowered immune system

These manifestations are simply symptoms of what is going on inside you, their root cause being your lack of emotional fulfillment. This emotional fulfillment is what my mentor Joshua Rosenthal refers to as “Primary Food,” what nourishes us from the inside out.

If left unaddressed and untreated for long periods of time, these manifestations turn into one of the many chronic diseases we hear about so often these days, like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.

What do you say? Is it time to go in and take action?

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April 2012
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