Published: Aug 16, 2013 9:16 AM EDT

(FORT MYERS, Fla.)--

We All Have It
Whether consciously aware of it or not, each of us experiences the mind-body connection
everyday of our lives. Instead of thinking of the connection as something far out of reach, or
something only obtainable through hours of yoga and meditation, remember it is always here.
Mouth-watering over a delicious-looking dessert, or nervous "butterflies" in the stomach before
making a presentation, are all perfect examples of natural mind-body connections, which most of
us have experienced. Sometimes, the mind-body connection can produce negative outcomes, like
failing to meet athletic, academic, or professional goals due to fear created by the mind.
Our Bodies React To How We Think
In other words, if we are constantly thinking negative, self-destructive thoughts, our bodies
will follow suit. Emotional and mental imbalance can start as something like stress-induced
headaches, tight shoulders, and a sore upper back, and lead to unhealthy weight gain or loss,
insomnia, and high blood pressure. On the other hand, we can make a conscious effort to think
more positively and to develop healthy coping mechanisms for life's stress and trials. Over time,
the state of our emotional and mental health can hurt or help the body's immune system.
We Can Make Ourselves Sick (And Well!)
Studies show our coping mechanisms and ways we handle stress directly correlate to how we
deal with serious illnesses. Chronic stress affects the body in a negative way, and over long
periods of time, make us more susceptible to diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
However, by using our innate mind-body connection in a positive way, by keeping our minds
and bodies in shape with exercise and nutrition, we can keep stress levels lower. In other words,
the better we are able to cope by staying calm and reducing psychological stress, we will in-turn
reduce physical stress, along with the chance of developing a disease.
We Also Have A BODY-Mind Connection
If we pay attention, it is easy to see the impact the body has on our state of mind as well. For
example, when women's bodies are preparing for menstruation, it is the hormones inside the
body causing all of the dreaded symptoms (cramps, bloating, fatigue, emotional imbalance, etc.).
On the flip side, body-mind connection is incredibly positive, whether it is endorphins produced
after exercise or stress relief during a massage. Exercise is a cheap way to boost our focus,
moods, and overall health.
Food Affects Both Our Bodies & Minds
It goes back to that old saying, "We are what we eat." Every single morsel or liquid passing
through our lips has some sort of effect on our brains. Our nutritional intake, every day, can
have huge impacts -- both negative and positive. Eating too many carbs and sugar can decrease
sensitivity to serotonin, which leads to bad moods, and eventually obesity. Instead of eating a
sugary pick-me-up midday, go for a snack high in protein to keep the mood positive and energy
up, avoiding a crash later.
Essentially, we are what we think, eat, drink, say and breathe. Developing and applying
mindfulness to all of these aspects of life can help us to maintain mind-body connections.