See the Connection between Mind and Body with Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows you to see the connection between the mind and body. This can be useful when dealing with any situation. Imagine you’re scared of spiders. As you walk downstairs before dawn, you can see a shape on the floor in the gloom. You think, ‘It’s a spider!’ Your heart starts pounding and you begin to sweat. You’re unsure if you should even move, in case you disturb the spider.
Your thoughts go wild. Then you look again to notice the shape doesn’t look quite right. You switch on the light to discover it’s only a mark on the carpet! You feel relieved.
When you saw the mark as a spider, a whole series of changes took place in your body. You experienced the changes because of what you thought and interpreted the mark to be – in other words, because of your mind. When you realized it was just a stain on the carpet, a set of calming reactions took place. The object remained exactly the same.
The way you changed your bodily reaction was by bringing curiosity to your experience, and then switching on the light. Through awareness and curiosity, you begin to interpret things differently, to see them as they actually are rather than what you think they are.
By becoming more skillful in the way you use your mind, you can create the conditions to help rather than hinder the healing process. High levels of stress reduce the strength of your immune system, so any creative ways of reducing stress are bound to have some positive effect.
Here’s a very short exercise you can try that clearly demonstrates the link between your mind and body.
Make yourself comfortable sitting or lying down and close your eyes if you want.
Imagine you’re hungry and are about to eat your favorite food.
You can smell the food and see it on your plate. Take a few minutes to imagine what the food looks and smells like. You take a piece of the food, and begin eating. Imagine the taste of the delicious food in your mouth.
Notice any changes happening in your body.
Are you salivating? Do you feel the desire to have this food now? Do you feel certain emotions manifesting in your body? Are some parts of your body becoming tense or relaxed?
This short exercise again shows how your mind can directly have an effect on your body. All you did in this exercise was use your mind to create images in your head. And yet all sorts of physical changes took place in your body.