How a Flexible Body Makes a Flexible Mind
When you enter the doors of any health professional, you’re bound to get the question of what your exercise looks like. It’s a well known fact that a healthy body has profound implications for our level of energy and simply feeling good. However, I want to offer up another way working with the body benefits your mental health.
It’s my belief that engaging the body with gentle stretching or yoga can lead to a flexible mind. A flexible mind can help us break free from old habits that no longer serve us.
Here’s how this happens. Taking intentional time to stretch the body means we have to take time out of our daily busy-ness to pay attention to physical sensations of our bodies. This primes us to come down from the whirlwind of our minds and directly into our physical bodies.
When we’re dealing with stress, anxiety or a slip into depressed mood, an important skill to learn is to redirect attention from the thoughts in the mind and come to the facts of the moment. The sensations you are experiencing in the moment are factually happening. The constriction in the chest, tension in the shoulders, or turning of the stomach is actually occurring. The flight into thoughts is a subconscious strategy to avoid this feeling or try and fix it.
Getting in touch with intentional stretching during the day primes the mind to be able to engage with this skill during different moments.
As we do this we notice that we naturally begin to see things from a wider perspective. Not getting called back the next day after a first date may not mean the person doesn’t like you, but maybe that they’re busy today. A speeding ticket may not mean the end of the world, but maybe a reminder to slow down that saves you from a future accident.
There are many ways to train the mind to be more flexible, intervening through gentle stretching in the body is just one of them.
Don’t take my word for it, try it out today. You can even do it at work for a few minutes at a time.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Dang -- darned technology - Kate - Aug 21st 2010
I read this because you referenced it on a comment on Huffington Post and the danged system lost/rejected my comment for technical reasons.
I'll get back to you about my thoughts on this matter but basically, I agree with your conclusion.
Interesting - Cindy - Aug 13th 2010
Streching, I'm gonna try it...
Usually my distraction for stress relief is house cleaning. hmmmm lol