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Maximize Your Total Wellness and Mind, Body & Spirit Balance
By: OHI on Feb 9, 2023 5:00:00 AM
What is the Connection Between Mind, Body, and Spirit?
Since 1976, OHI has helped over 150,000 people tap into their own restorative power to lead more balanced health and spirit-filled lives via a comprehensive, holistic mind-body-spirit program that promotes healing. But what exactly is the connection between mind, body, and spirit?
The mind-body-spirit connection is a concept of health and wellness that views a person as the sum total of these three aspects. The balance between the three aspects is crucial to wellness — when all three aspects are supported, you thrive. When one aspect of your life is out of balance, it impacts the other two.
The mind-body-spirit connection is a concept that has been accepted in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. It was first developed by the traditional Eastern medicine culture millennia ago. Eastern philosophy has traditionally seen the interdependent nature of the mind, body, and spirit, and took a holistic approach to healthcare, seeking to treat the whole person to achieve wellness. By comparison, Western medicine has traditionally viewed the body as separate from the mind and spirit, and focuses on treating symptoms of disease and injury to restore wellness.
Between the 14th and 17th centuries, philosophers focused solely on the interaction of body and mind, debating whether it was mind over body or body over mind. It was Descartes who created the idea of mind-body dualism, treating each as distinctly separate from the other. It was known as the “Cartesian mind/body split.” This concept led to the “biomedical model,” which largely ignores the influence of the mind and emotions on health. The biomedical model has dominated Western medicine for well over a century. Fortunately, within the last few decades, Western cultures have developed a growing acceptance of the three-part health model, recommending that patients take a balanced mind-body-spirit outlook on their health.
Mind vs Body vs Spirit
Western medicine is now coming around to the idea of the interrelation between the mind (psychological and intellectual factors), the body (human physiology and medical illness), and the spirit (emotional and social factors), focusing on the ways that our emotional and psychological health impacts our body’s ability to function properly and be healthy. The “biopsychosocial model” considers ALL factors (physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual) that affect health and wellness.
Have you ever felt so nervous that your hands started to shake, or felt so worried you couldn’t fall asleep at night? Our emotions often affect the way we feel physically. The mind-body connection is the link between a person’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and their physical health. How? Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts physically, releasing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones).
Chronic stress means you release these hormones too frequently, leading to negative long-term effects on the body, including:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Changes in appetite
- Weakened immune response
- Digestive problems
- Healing more slowly
- High blood pressure
How do we keep the mind healthy so that the body can thrive? The mind is at its best when it is stimulated and active. There are so many ways to feed your natural curiosity, and keep your mind sharp:
- Read books
- Take classes
- Try new hobbies
- Listen to music
- Visit museums
- Watch documentaries
Another way to keep your mind healthy is to stay social and spend time with friends and loved ones. Spending time with people who bring you joy is always the best medicine. And nothing keeps your mind engaged and focused like great conversation. Looking to spark conversation with an expanded circle of friends? Join a book club, volunteer in the community, or help at a local after school program. Meeting new people and learning new things is sure to give you an optimistic outlook and foster a strong mind-body-spirit connection for long-lasting wellness.
Did you ever suffer a physical injury, and find yourself feeling depressed? Did you ever eat junk food or caffeine and find it hard to concentrate and remember? That is the mind-body connection at work. An unhealthy body can impact the mind and spirit much more than you realize.
It’s one thing to break a bone and feel bummed that you’re missing out on your regular activities for a bit. But what if you suffer from chronic pain or illness? That constant stress and worry often leads to mood fluctuations, anxiety, altered perceptions and cognition, emotional instability, and depression. The mind-body connection shows that prolonged stress impacts the brain on a chemical level.
Did you also know that gut health can have a direct impact on mental health? The brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected, leaving the gastrointestinal tract sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation, and other feelings can trigger symptoms in the gut, and vice versa. The connection goes both ways. That means your stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause OR the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
So how do you keep your body and GI system healthy so that it doesn’t trigger a dip in your mental health:
- Eat a diet filled with healthy, whole, unprocessed foods
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
- Exercise regularly
- Get adequate sleep
The better you care for your physical body, the more in sync your mind-body-spirit connection will be.
Whether or not you consider yourself “religious,” spiritual wellbeing is an important cornerstone to achieving mind-body-spirit balance and overall good health. Oftentimes, striving for spiritual balance is not so much about attending formal religious services, but more about feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself. When your relationship with God has fallen by the wayside or your connection with nature or the universe has faded, the spiritual side of you feels like you don’t matter which triggers depression. If you’re not sure what your purpose is in life, you feel apathy and your body becomes sluggish. When you lack clear values or aren’t sure what you believe in, that civic disengagement can lead to lethargy.
The mind-body-spirit connection needs to be reinvigorated with a spiritual reawakening!
- Pursue your passions with hobbies or activities that “fill your cup”
- Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about
- Get involved in local politics
- Find a church or social club to attend regularly
The mind-body-spirit connection needs to be reinvigorated with a spiritual reawakening!
While spirituality is a very personal practice, there are so many ways to embrace positivity as a part of your spirituality that will have a lasting impact on your health.
- Practice mindfulness
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Try guided meditation
- Take a yoga or tai chi class
Overall, renewed spirituality can bring you a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness. It encourages you to have better relationships with yourself, with others, and with the divine. And best of all, renewed spirituality adds the needed zing to the mind-body-spirit connection.
How the Mind, Body & Spirit Connection are Redefining Total Wellness
The mind-body-spirit connection is all about balance. By recognizing how intertwined and interdependent these three parts are, you’ve taken a big step in jumpstarting your personal journey to wellness. More and more people are realizing that total wellness isn’t just about keeping your body healthy. Even if you are physically healthy, you may struggle with mental health challenges or spiritual disconnect that can put the brakes on your physical wellness.
So, what do you do? You look inward and begin to listen more closely to what your body is telling you. When you begin to put your whole self back into your life, only then will you find yourself on a path to true balance.
Becoming truly aware and focused on the mind-body-spirit connection is your most powerful tool in fostering life balance and good health. Focusing on the mind-body-spirit connection opens you up to new-found wells of inner-strength, love, peace, courage, and happiness. After years of only focusing on physical health, when you choose to prioritize the balance and health of your mind-body-spirit it can lead to a more complete and long-lasting version of wellness.
So, here’s a radical thought — what if the solution to finding balance within the chaos of everyday life was just a matter of priority scheduling? In other words, what if we put ourselves in our schedules FIRST? Stop waiting to find 10 minutes to read a book in between meetings and other mundane obligations. Instead, decide what adds meaning to your life and brings balance to your mind-body-spirit connection, and make it a priority. Grab your OHI planner and actually schedule time with loved ones, time for exercise, and time for one activity you truly enjoy, and you’ll foster a mind-body-spirit connection that’s stronger than ever before.
Rejuvenate and Reenergize Your Mind, Body & Spirit for Long-Lasting Health and Wellness
The mind-body-spirit connection takes a holistic view of wellness by striving for balance between the sum total of these three aspects. Balance is key — when all three are supported, you thrive. When one aspect of your life is out of balance, it impacts the other two. Of course, you need to exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep to support your physical health. But also strive to keep your mental health on track by learning new things and fostering strong social connections. And make an effort to keep your spiritual health thriving by practicing mindfulness and reconnecting with nature and the divine. OHI has always embraced the mind-body-spirit connection as the very foundation to optimal health. Guests gush about how in-tune they finally feel with themselves after taking part in our mind-body-spirit retreat. While the detox jumpstarts your physical rejuvenation, the time to reflect and reset your priorities is what rejuvenates your mind and spirit. Come to OHI and take three weeks to bring the three aspects of your wellness into balance — you’re worth it!
Regain your mind-body-spirit balance — book your next visit to OHI today!
Start your holistic healing journey today. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 to learn more about our holistic approach to health and wellness. It will change your life for good!