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I find it interesting that I often hear things about the influence of the mind on the body, but I rarely, if ever, hear about the affect of the body on the mind. I regularly hear things about the importance of a good attitude, a good outlook, and a positive mindset influencing our immune system, ability to recover from injury and such. But, what about the other side to that?
To be clear, let me go into what I am not talking about. I am not talking about the effect or affect that the foods we eat, medicines, drugs, or other chemicals we ingest through one form or another has on our minds. I am specifically talking about the body itself interacting with the mind and emotions.
If you have been reading my more recent blogs you may recall that I have mentioned stress a number of times and even recommended NAP’s Tranquility Base. It will probably not come as a big surprise when I tell you that I have been experiencing a larger than usual amount of it lately. So, what has that to do with the body influencing the mind and emotions?
When I recently went to my chiropractor, he had to unlock some of the vertebrae near my shoulders. What happens is this: whenever I feel threatened (read stressed) I unconsciously and instinctively arch my back somewhat (it may help you to imagine a cat when it arches its back, flares out its fur and hisses). Well, when that response doesn’t work (read the stess continues to continue) then I duck for cover. I unconsciously and instinctively pull my shoulders up around by ears (for this one, imagine a turtle pulling its head in and closing up its shell).
According to my chiropractor, many people respond to stress like this. It just depends on the person, the stress, and how long it lasts as to whether or not it actually makes the body influence how the person feels emotionally. I was all upset and jittery and couldn’t relax. What had happened was my body had held those animal-like responses for so long that they had literally locked themselves into those positions. That had caused a neural type of feedback for lack of a better way to put it that then would not allow me to relax no matter how much I tried. It is amazing how much better I feel now that I can relax.
I have read that one of the benefits of yoga and other related type stretching is that it mimics chiropractics because it helps to keep the body in alignment or helps to realign it if it’s out of whack. That explains why it is so important for A’s and AB’s to do their stretching - it helps to keep us relaxed mentally by making us pay attention to what we are doing and therefore takes us away from whatever is bugging us and it helps our bodies to help us relax as well. Two for the price of one if you will.
In case you’re wondering - my foot's fine now and so it’s back to the NordicTrak, BodyRow, walking, et al now for me. Now, I get to exercise...not I have to exercise. That one little word change is a completely different mindset all on its own.
Lunch idea to stretch canned salmon: grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with some smoked salmon mixed into the canned for better flavor, and mayo...mmmm. Keep the sandwich “open faced” when it’s cooking. Then, add tomato, onion, lettuce, and cucumber slices and put the sandwich together. Mmmmmm.