We have all heard of the term “mind-body connection”, but what does that really mean? I am sure there are many ways to describe it, but a common understanding is that it is about connecting our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes that we have to how they positively or negatively affect our biological functioning (our health). Do your thoughts promote healing or disease? How do you think about yourself? How do you speak to and about yourself? Take some time to think about those questions, and we will come back to this…
First, let’s talk about trauma and what happens to the relationship with ourselves when we have such an experience. When we go through a traumatic experience we tend to disconnect from our physical body. We are upset our body has “failed” us. We think we are “broken”. We don’t trust it to heal itself. These are common thoughts of people who have experienced traumas. When we are disappointed in ourselves and don’t believe in our own ability to perform and heal – we don’t speak kindly to ourselves and we get down on ourselves – consciously and subconsciously. It’s important to learn and remember that both our conscious and subconscious thoughts have a profound effect on our healing.
It is important to understand – no matter what you have been through, you are not broken and your body has never failed you. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You are worthy of love and healing. The truth is, your body is actually always working SO hard FOR you. Think about everything you have been through and how hard your body has worked for you to stay alive, to fight, to make it to the other side. That is not a body failing you, that is a body fighting SO hard FOR you.
This next statement is powerful to realize —> You cannot heal a body you hate. Let’s repeat that … YOU CANNOT HEAL A BODY YOU HATE. This is so important to take a moment to allow it to sink in. Think about it – how can you expect your body to heal and stay healthy when you are constantly talking down to it and telling it is a failure. Can you imagine if someone else was talking about you like that? How would you feel? The body reacts the same whether you are telling yourself those thoughts and words or someone else. When you do this to yourself, it is self-inflicted verbal abuse that you may not even know you’re doing.
Something else that can occur when your body experiences trauma is that you disconnect from the memory. It may be so painful that you want to block it out forever. Therefore, we might avoid really feeling our bodies, in a conscious or unconscious effort to suppress the trauma memory.
This all causes a disconnect, but again we cannot heal a body we don’t love, appreciate and honor. In order to heal physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually from trauma, we must reconnect back to our bodies. We have to mourn your old body and learn to love this one.
These practices below are things you can add into your life to start to reconnect and love your body:
- Write a love letter to yourself – We tend to be so hard on ourselves, but how often do we praise ourselves for everything great we are doing. Our thoughts create our reality. Write a love letter to your body. Thank her/him for everything it has done for you. Don’t overthink it, just write what comes to mind when you want to show your body love and gratitude. Whenever you are feeling down or challenged feel free to read this letter or write a new one.
- Repeat positive body affirmations – Affirmations are really simple, short, and powerful expressions. When you say, think, or hear them, they become thoughts that create your reality. Repeating these daily, putting them around your house or on objects you use daily will help connect the thoughts to your conscious and subconscious mind. The more you say something (good or bad – but let’s use it for GOOD) the more you start to believe it. Examples can include “I am healthy” ”I trust and love my body” “I am strong” “My body is able to handle anything and make it through stronger” “I am safe in my body.”
- Practice mindful movement – Find movement that works for you and do it with intention. Be super present through the movement. Take note of which muscles are firing and how your body is feeling in the moment and days after. It’s all about the mental activation to the physical movement. Yoga and Pilates are so healing for me because they require intentional thought and feeling into my muscles and movements. It has created a deep connection with my mind/body and I am so grateful for these two practices.
- Do breathing exercises – Our breath is our largest tool in my opinion. Connecting to your breath creates mindfulness and has the ability to take our body out of “fight to flight” mode and calms the nervous system. It signals to your body that you are safe, there is nothing to fear, there is no trauma, you are safe. Here are some breathing exercises you can try.
- Consider sensory practices – Try listening to visual meditation and/or listening to a sound bath. Both of these practices allow you to observe your physical state of being with intention. I like to visualize a bright white light pouring down my body touching every single cell, healing it, and creating the healthiest body ever. This is a great one! Even smelling essential oils and connecting that scent to your body feeling SAFE.
- Enjoy physical touch (massage, bodywork, connecting with others) – Physical touch is a love language because it has the ability to bring connection and love. The experience of physical human touch is rehabilitating both mentally and physically. Oftentimes after trauma, we may become very protective of our body and the thought of allowing something else to touch us can be terrifying and uncomfortable. Exercise the ability to trust. Massage and intimate human touch can be extremely healing to practice trust.
- Manifest a healthy body – You can do this in multiple ways. Visually through meditation and vocally through affirmations. You also do an activity called “writing your script” – you can learn more about it here!
- Be open with your journey and seek support if you are struggling – Know you are not alone. Please open up and lean on others for support through this journey. If you are struggling, please seek help. You are not here to suffer, you are so strong and can overcome anything, especially with a little help.
Remember – you are worthy of healing. You are worthy of love. You are strong. You are HEALTHY.
This post is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition, consult your doctor.