Friday, February 27, 2009

Mind-Body Connection

I am a strong believer in the power of the mind. You know, Mind over matter/If you don't mind, it doesn't matter/Where the mind leads, the rest will follow/If you can dream it, you can achieve it/be careful what you wish for, etc. There's a very strong connection between what the mind can conjure up, and how the body reacts.

For example. Think of a beautiful, picture perfect lemon. Pretty, isn't it? Now imagine taking a huge bite out of that lemon! Did your face just wrinkle up at the tartness you imagined? That's the mind-body connection in action.

I unfortunately have a really strong connection between the two. In some ways it's good. I've been able to really work on my attitudes towards food, towards exercise, adopting a lifestyle rather than a quick fix "diet". But there's certain issues that seem to make that connection really go wonky.

For instance, I am prone to a bit of anxiety and stress. Always have been, probably always will be, even though I've learned some effective coping mechanisms. Part of that stress is the fact that I internalize things a lot. Granted, put a keyboard in front of me and you'll know my life's story, but otherwise I tend to hold things in...

Yep, you guessed it, it doesn't work too well for me. You can only hold so many things in before some sort of meltdown/explosion happens. But right before that, when my emotional holding tank starts to reach critical mass, it taps into my bodys systems as back up... and, well, backs up everything. Without getting /too/ TMI, it's like my body holds on to every little calorie, ounce of water, bit of fat, etc, like there were no tomorrow. As soon as I either have my meltdown or have some sort of emotion release and let the pent up stuff go, so does my body... sometimes really quickly. It's, well, bleck, but effective. :P

Along the same lines, I'm not so good with change. I've been getting better at it, but I am very much a creature of habit and don't react well to disruptions. I forget things, get flustered, aggravated, etc. My body is totally the same with that. I've realized it's pretty much a given I will gain 3-5 pounds on a trip. Doesn't matter if it's a week, a weekend or over night, my body freaks out. I'm not saying this as a 'oh well, throw in the towel and do whatever on trips' excuse. At home I can rest, or exercise a lot, eat really well, or throw in some indulgent days and my body says "YAY! Variety!" On a trip, I can eat super healthy, or like crap, workout or not, doesn't matter - there's a disruption in the routine so my body holds on to everything like it was gold. [And yes, I do realize that part of the traveling gain is due to eating out/sodium increase.] As soon as I'm home a day or two it's back to normal.

I have been more, well, mindful, of what my body and my brain needs lately, and trying to pay attention to the normal energy cycles that I go through. I'm hoping to be able to short circuit some of these issues by working on my own stress levels and letting go on a more regular basis. :)

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