Here’s a word for you – psychoendoneuroimmunology! This field of study has shown that the mind (brain) and body (nervous, hormonal and immune systems) are intricately linked and have a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. In his book of the same title, Dr Bessel van der Kolk says that “the body keeps the score”. Our brain, mind and body are not separate from each other and when we experience trauma the body registers all that is going on inside the head. In her book, “It’s All in Your Head”, Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan talks about “psychosomatic disorders” highlighting that everyone responds physically to psychological distress and that what’s going on in our heads (e.g. from stressors) impacts on the body in all sorts of ways ranging from headaches and digestive upsets to incontinence and paralysis. What’s going on here? Our minds and bodies are in constant union and communication. The mind-body link is there for our good (and how good it is when we have the balance right!) but in cases where the interaction/impact is destructive, we have somehow upset the balance between the two. We are very well designed to cope with short-lived stressors. Longer term is another matter. Time to focus on developing things that bring positive interactions and impact.
Action: healthy habits
Again, it all comes down to our thinking and doing. It is time to do things, including thinking differently, that are good for the mind and time to do things that are good for the body. Both benefit individually and as a whole and our life experience will begin to improve. Recap actions from Days 2 and 3. Start by doing one thing that benefits your mind/body and you will see a difference.
- Build regular exercise into your life, try something you enjoy, sometimes you may not feel like it but remind yourself that you will feel better afterwards
- Ensure you get adequate sleep, if you have trouble sleeping, seek advice about how to promote better sleep – there are lots of things you can do
- Eat and drink in a healthy, balanced way
- Avoid unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol, smoking and drugs – some people feel these things help manage stress and mood but they actually negatively affect the mind and body
- Building healthy habits takes perseverance, so don’t give up and before you know it these will be natural for you