The mind-body connection is the relationship between our physical health and emotional health. Stress and anxiety play a significant role in pain, injury and recovery. In a nutshell, stress and anxiety can cause your muscles to tense up, which increases your pain. When you feel stressed or anxious, the level of cortisol and adrenaline in your body increases, which leads to inflammation and pain over time. Every cell in our body wants to heal. When you cut yourself, your skin immediately starts to heal. When you cut your hair, it starts to grow within days. When you break a bone, it heals within 6-8 weeks. When we get injured, our body has fascinating ways of healing itself. The problem is when our emotions and thoughts get in the way of healing. When we start to attach negative emotions and feelings
toward our pain/injury, we hinder our body’s natural healing process (imagine continuously scratching an open wound). Choosing to focus the mind on a thought or experience in the present moment means the mind has less opportunity to focus on pain. Research shows that this helps the body feel more relaxed and comfortable and in turn reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension. Science has backed up the following strategies to help override established
pain signals, improve your mind-body connection, reduce your pain, and help your recovery:
1. Breathing Meditation: Find somewhere tranquil. A dark room in your house, or outside undistracted. Get comfortable in a seated position with feet on the ground or lying on your back. Focus on your breath – inhale through your nose for 4-6 seconds, hold, then release through your mouth. Be mindful of your breath, and how it feels. Do this for 5 minutes then try breathing effortlessly for 5 mins. If your thoughts wander, it’s okay, bring attention back to the feeling of your breath.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and relax every muscle group. Start with your foot, slowly move it around and see how it feels. Then squeeze your foot muscles as much as you comfortably can for 5 seconds, then release. Notice how limp your foot feels. Repeat these steps from your feet, to your forehead.
3. Visualization: Close your eyes and get comfortable. Imagine yourself moving through your day pain free. Think about the impact this has on various aspects of your life and relationships. What do you look like? How do you feel? Who are the people you surround yourself with? The more details the better. Now enter back into your body, feeling more calm and energized about who you can become.
If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact us at Move Therapeutics (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are always happy to help.