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The Hidden Cost of a Disconnected Mind and Body

A simple guide to a more fulfilling life

I was not able to carry our child. I tried, but I failed many, many times. I’d wanted to be pregnant so badly, but my body just couldn’t do it.

Luckily for us, my wife carried and delivered our son. She calls herself the ‘backup uterus’. It’s a joke we have now as we tell our seven-year-old his birth story.

For a long time, I secretly resented my body for not being able to do the work it was made to do. I told myself I was over it, but I never really was.

Until years later, something came over me while sitting on a mat in a yoga therapy session with my legs bent like butterfly wings. I ugly-cried for 15 minutes straight.

In that rare moment of attunement, my body spoke to me. I saw its complete innocence so clearly. I felt both its hope and its sadness. I felt its loneliness, too. Year after year, I’d been abandoning it completely in silent retaliation for it not fulfilling my deepest desires. But that came at a cost. I was sick, overweight, angry, and stuck.

On that day, I was finally opening myself up again. I was flooded with nothing but compassion for my body as I broke down. My body was like a joyful puppy dog dying for its owner’s attention. It harbored no ill feelings toward me. It just desperately wanted my affection. As I bent down to pet it and look it lovingly in the eyes, I felt an immense sigh of relief. I felt unconditional love fill me. Then, almost instantly, the pain I’d stored for nearly a decade evaporated along with the tears.

I left that session feeling like I had been reacquainted with my oldest, dearest friend. I felt lighter, more confident, and at ease with myself. I was finally free and able to move on with my life. And I did.

All along, my body was trying to tell me a story of happiness. But I was so disconnected from it that all I could hear was the incessant rambling of my pain.

Our bodies speak

If you have been feeling chronic pain, anxiety, tension, or apathy, your body is trying to speak to you. Similarly to me, you are likely ignoring it.

It starts in little ways, with mini discomforts, awkward feelings, and little pings. But, when you pay no heed or outright disregard those signs, your body has no choice but to amplify them. Small discomforts turn into chronic physical pain.

I first went to yoga therapy because I was desperate for another approach to personal growth. I was sick of my health problems and the person I had become. It wasn’t me. I used to love to exercise but found no delight in moving anymore. I missed that version of myself but had no idea how to get her back. When I saw the flyer for combining yoga and therapy together, I thought…” Hmm, now this is interesting.

I had no clue what I was in for. I called, and that one decision entirely changed the course of my life.

The mind/body connection

Yoga therapy or somatic yoga is aligning your mind and body through movement. It’s powerful.

It might sound like hippie bullshit, but it’s pretty scientific.

Think about anxiety before a show. The feelings of butterflies in your stomach. This is your body’s neurological response to your mind preparing for something unknown and slightly risky.

Muscle tension in your shoulders, neck, or jaw happens when you are stressed.

Tears feel like a release when you’re sad.

Happiness feels light, freeing, and energizing.

These are all physical outputs of cognitive wiring.

Your brain communicates to your body through your nervous system.

But often, we forget that it’s a two-way street.

Consider the principles of energy in physics. A body in motion stays in motion. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it just changes form.

Your body is a closed container that can hold energy in many forms, but it seeks equilibrium. If you fill it with only negative energy, you will have no space for the positive. Learn to reduce the amount of negative energy you are willing to hold. Instead, favor the intake of positive energy.

When you have a balance of energy, you find peace and feel grounded. We often force our bodies to manage an environment of only negative energy.

No wonder we feel so miserable over time.

The impacts of ignoring your body

Take a lesson from me: Don’t suppress your body’s cues for help. Let it speak to you, and do your absolute best to listen.

In our culture, we’ve normalized feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed daily. However, these as chronic feelings are anything but normal.

Stress is supposed to happen in temporary spurts to motivate us to act quickly in an unsafe situation. We find safety, the stress subsides, and we are then relieved.

Anxiety is our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, that we are missing information, or that we are unsure of something. When the situation ends, the anxiety disappears, and we feel hopeful.

Overwhelm is the message that we are being inundated by too much information. When we remove stimuli, we no longer feel overwhelmed. We feel peace.

Or, at least, it should be this way.

However, when physical feelings are ignored over long periods, they compound and become more intense. They never have the opportunity to subside.

Suddenly, you aren’t just anxious before big presentations; you’re anxious all day. Then you feel stressed about your anxiety and get headaches. Over time, you also feel overwhelmed and depressed because your environment demands too much of you. You lose your ability to navigate life confidently.

Prioritizing mind/body connection

Maintaining a connection is easier when we regularly center our awareness around how things feel. These micro-moments throughout the day allow us to prioritize checking in with ourselves before reacting to the world around us. This gives our body seniority over our environment and fosters inner trust. We begin to respond with intention instead of reacting out of fear.

When we trust ourselves, we make authentically-aligned decisions.

Authenticity leads to happiness.

So, by abandoning ourselves in those micro-moments rather than prioritizing ourselves, we ultimately and unknowingly forfeit our happiness.

How to listen

Listening to your body isn’t hard. In fact, it can be fun. It just takes a willingness to keep doing it throughout your day.

  1. Start by increasing your awareness of your physical feelings and sensations.

    1. Inventory how you feel about each interaction, situation, and new environment.

    2. Identify when you feel uncomfortable, stressed, and anxious. Pay attention to what makes you feel energetic and excited, too.

    3. Build a list of what adds to or depletes your energy. Then, honor that list by taking small action.

  2. Take small action in response to your observations.

    1. When you notice negative sensations around a person, interaction, or environment, move away from them. Instead, move toward the things that energize you.

    2. Mark these changes in behavior with a strong positive emotion, such as pride, happiness, or joy. Give yourself permission to feel those emotions wholeheartedly.

    3. When you honor your body’s needs, it’s important to support it and not revert to self-sabotaging. If you chose your authentic self in a given moment, celebrate that! Never self-deprecate.

  3. Don’t underestimate silence.

    1. We live in a world where noise is everywhere. Your body often can’t compete with the mental stimulation around you.

    2. Every day, give yourself a little space to sit in silence. Close your eyes, put your hand over your heart, and just be. It’s the most magical thing and a direct line to your innermost needs and desires.

    3. Be deliberate about how much you consume. Ensure you fill your cup as much as you’ve emptied it.

In conclusion

So much of our burnout and unhappiness is due to the disconnect between our mind and body.

We can easily become focused on filling the void with external validators such as wealth, popularity, or material things. But these miss the point.

Your body is programmed to lead you to the life you crave, the peace you seek, and the happiness you want to feel.

Just make it a habit to listen to it. The solution is really that simple.

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