What is your body telling you?

Newry Times News Posted by
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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Community, Features

By Julie Cunningham

All too often our bodies are telling us something.  The chain of events is predictable –

1) Ignore it – it’ll go away

2) Hear the whispers of the ‘inner voice’ but push them to one side and carry on as normal….and catch a cold

3) Hear a louder ‘inner voice’ and maybe take a day off sick because the muscles are starting to ache a bit…but we can only afford one day off work…there are bills to be paid

4) Still feeling under the weather, so we eat a bit more healthily or go to bed earlier thinking for a week thinking ‘it’s just a rest I need’.When the week’s over we stop listening again and back we go to full on days and evenings, late nights and grabbing a bite to eat when we can.

5) Eventually, that cold we couldn’t shake becomes an infection and more antibiotics, that tendon troubling us on our thrice-weekly gym visits finally snaps, or we don’t recover so quickly from the trip on the steps when we weren’t watching where we were going because we were mentally ticking off the day’s to-do list.

So, what could our bodies be telling us? Apart from, I’ve caught a cold from my child who caught it at nursery….or… I’ve been overdoing it at the gym…or… I need to pay more attention and look where I’m walking.

The term ‘bio’ ‘psycho’ ‘social’ – is an approach founded on the fact that thoughts, emotions, behaviors and social factors, all play a significant role in human functioning. The term ‘psycho’ ‘neuro’ ‘immunology’ – is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.

‘Health’ and ‘Well-Being’ is a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors rather than the purely biological idea of medicine that suggests every disease can be explained in terms of a pathogen, a genetic or developmental abnormality, or an injury. 

I understand both these technical terms as fancy language for the idea of the ‘mind–body connection’.

I am bout to complete a Masters degree in Creative Arts Therapy – specifically Dance Movement Psychotherapy – I have over recent years had the pleasure of truly understanding the concepts of body, mind, self-awareness, embodiment, parts and ‘wholeness’.   

In the early stages of my journey to become a therapist, for me the ‘bio’ part of the technical term biopsychosocial came not so much in the shape of disease, as the feeling of ‘dis – ease’.  I was not at home, in body or mind.  Yet both were mine. 

Through the process of movement and creative exploration I learned more about myself, about my body, about my mind and about how my mind and body work together constantly, whether I’m consciously aware of it or not.

Over the coming months I will talk with you about the mind-body connection.About what it means, what it can reveal, what it makes possible, how you can make it work for you. 

I’ll share with you ideas, research, my experience as a therapist, and my experience as someone who is ready every day to practice what I preach – though very much human, and sometimes struggling with that.

For now, I want to ask you a question.Do you believe that your mind and body are connected?Do you believe that mind body connection is real for anyone?

Many people have discovered that it is very real, and they use this connection to enable them to reach complete personal and career fulfillment.  Last year’s successful Olympians, once in a life-time astronauts, and the world’s leading managing directors all make the most of the mind-body connection to give them an edge. 

Athletes training programs involve psychological training based around self-talk.You know what that is?….all that stuff you say to yourself…inside…that you never ever say out loud.  And only 25% of it, or maybe less, is positive. 

Athletes can sharpen their focus by saying: “I’m relaxed, focused and feel great. My muscles are well-trained and powerful. My lungs are strong and clear.”  They also recite upbeat trigger words to themselves just before the start of an event. 

They might think, “explode, power, speed, dominate” which describes the journey from the blocks to a clear victory at the finish. That’s the opposite of telling yourself: “I hope I don’t make a false start. I hope I don’t trip.I hope I don’t finish last. I’m getting an upset stomach.”

What’s your self talk?Positive?  Or Negative?Think about it now.And next time, let’s look at what that means, what it says about the possibilities you are creating for or taking away from yourself, and how easily positive self talk can work for you.


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