Learn a therapist’s advice for healing the mind-body connection and changing your thoughts by healthifying your body.
What does it take to get healthy?
I’ve asked myself this question numerous times, but it wasn’t until my health crashed that I realized how my emotions were impacting my health and how my health was impacting my mind. I had to address the two-way street of my mind and body to experience the healing I longed for.
The mindset and health spaces often overlook this intimate connection between your mind and body. But understanding each and how they work together proves the health of your body influences the health of your mind and visa versa. Likewise, what has happened to your body or mind will affect how the other responds.
If you’re human, you have dealt with some form of emotional or physical trauma. Trauma shapes your way of life, how your biology runs, and even what you think.
But it doesn’t have to stay this way.
If you feel like nothing is okay in your life, let this remind you that it doesn’t have to stay that way. In this podcast, I talk with Elise Healzer, a licensed therapist specializing in a holistic approach to assessing whole-person health. Today we talk about healing the mind-body connection through changing mindset loops, healing the mind-body connection, and getting comfortable with uncomfortable things.
We even dive into the question, should you go to therapy?
Do you need to do the work?
You might recognize that you’ve been through something, potentially many things. But that doesn’t mean what you’ve been through is harming your life, even if you’re living out of it. Like a parasite, some trauma because synergistic in your life based on how you perceive that trauma.
It’s a chapter in your story but not the story.
In other cases, that trauma has taken center stage and has become a defining character in the role of your story. It’s not just a chapter. It is the story. Here, the trauma is expressed in harmful ways, giving power to something that makes you powerless. When the trauma influences your life most of the time, it’s a sign it’s time to do the work. Not to create a new story but to stop letting the trauma be the story.
Elise said, “Changing the story does not happen by ripping out a chapter. If this were the case, the story wouldn’t make sense. But the story changes by changing the future chapters and how the story ends.”
Whether you need to do the work or not, here are a few principles we can all take to heart from her advice in the podcast. Learn the six tips she mentioned for healing the mind-body connection.
6 tips she mentioned for healing the mind-body connection
01: The health of your mind depends on your body’s health.
Your mind constantly gathers information to determine the external threat level through your senses. But it also does this based on the health of your cells. Unhealthy cells trigger a threat response inside the body, shifting your hormonal approach, which changes how your mind responds.
Unhealthy cells often produce unhealthy or negative thoughts, not because your mind is against you but because it’s trying to protect you.
You have to support your body to support your mind, and that means you need energy and nourishment to make healthy cells and a healthy mind. Don’t neglect your body in healing your mind, but nourish it by working to support your body, not change it!
02. Remember, there is more than one type of therapy.
Talk therapy may not be for everyone, but it isn’t the only option. Numerous forms of therapy are available to help heal inner wounds and trauma. Elise mentions brain spotting and EMDR inside the podcast that uses rapid eye movements to work through old patterns and heal deep wounds without digging to find them.
But there are many other types, including but not limited to somatic counseling, narrative exposure therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Don’t limit your healing because you don’t like the process. Pay attention to what you need and what works for you.
03. Have self-compassion.
Healing requires you to acknowledge you’ve been through some stuff. Self-compassion understands that while you’ve been through pain, trauma, and experiences that have altered your way of life, you don’t have to stay here. It’s acknowledging and expressing compassion while building support to work through the process instead of staying stuck.
Self-compassion recognizes that this may have been a chapter in your story, but it is not the story. You can’t rip out the chapter, but you can acknowledge it for what it was and use it to write a better ending. It’s being compassionate with yourself, allowing you to feel without being consumed by it or feeling guilty because of it.
04. Stop chasing perfection.
The way your brain processes information can seem very black and white, which is why you crave perfection. Perfection states you either are or aren’t. There is no in-between. This leaves you to decide what matters and what doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, why try?
It leaves you stuck longing for something that doesn’t exist while living in the same loops you always have.
But imperfection is part of what makes us human. And it’s these flaws and imperfections that make us who we are. Don’t extinguish the imperfection but use it to grow, learn, and as a tool to become something more. As the backwards law helps you understand, perfect doesn’t exist, and the more you try to make life perfect, the more unsatisfied you’ll become.
05: Be okay with being uncomfortable.
One of the reasons humans long for perfection is that we believe perfect makes us comfortable. And humans hate to feel uncomfortable. Humans are great pain avoiders. We talk ourselves out of things that scare us or hurt us and default back into the same loops that have kept us safe, even if these loops keep us stuck in the place we hate.
But we need to feel discomfort to feel comfort, just like we need to experience pain to understand happiness. As researchers have stated, “Pain may not be a pleasurable experience itself, but it builds our pleasure in ways that pleasure alone simply cannot achieve.” Don’t fear uncomfortable things, but know uncomfort brings greater comfort. Getting there takes embracing it.
06. Stop expecting a resolution.
Your brain was wired to finish stories. That’s why you binge TV series and even have trouble putting down a good book. You have an innate drive that leaves you seeking the end of the story. A finished story is a closed loop; closed loops are safe because they eliminate uncertainty (one of the most complex human emotions).
While we try to create finished stories, we can’t expect all stories to have a complete ending. Sometimes, arguably most of the time, the story is left incomplete. No matter how much you try to make sense of it or find a resolution, some things will be incomplete forever.
Living with open loops helps you heal and thrive in the mind-body connection. You have to learn that it’s okay not to know the ending. You have to be okay with the fact that you might not know, no matter how hard it is. You have to move away from creating assumptions to creating the understanding that not knowing is okay.
Healing the mind-body connection
The mind-body connection is an intimate connection. You can’t have health in one area without it in the other. But the work isn’t necessarily easy or complete. Instead, it’s a process of growing, learning, and regaining balance when you feel out of balance. More than a place, healing your mind-body connection is a lifestyle.
Here are a few more resources that will help you dive in further.
- The Connection Between Your Mind and Metabolic Health
- 5 Ways to Use Your Nervous System To Get Healthy
- This Simple Mindset Shift Changed My Health
- The Power of Healthy Thoughts
- Stop Trying to Change Your Body and Do This Instead