Nowadays many adults are struggling with their body-mind connection. This shows in many forms such as stress, becoming ill or developing more serious conditions such as heart problems, diabetes or even cancer. It can start at an early age and without any obvious unhealthy behaviours associated with it, and often people don’t notice the early signs that something may be wrong. Although their bodies are trying to tell them to slow down, practise more self-care and change something in their lives to reverse the process, they are not paying attention to the alarm signals.
When people get diagnosed, some might decide to look for more healthy ways to deal with their issues, especially when traditional ways are not efficient enough. They might look for a way to connect back with their bodies by doing yoga, meditation apps, holistic practitioners and other alternatives that might help reconnect to themselves.
However, the first step is to recognise this need and develop inner motivation and actually be willing to do something about it and improve and change. The next step is to find ways that will be work in order to achieve the change. This could be a book that will motivate you, a person such as a coach, a naturopath, a therapist, a friend… or any combination that might help you in the quest to find your natural body-mind connection!
Learning from babies
But how do we lose this mind-body connection? How come some people seem to be naturally connected to their bodies through their minds, while others are not, or not fully? Are we born with a natural strong body-mind connection or is this something we need to develop throughout life and in that case, how?
Think about new-born babies feeling hungry. Do they express the hunger the second they feel it by crying – to let you know that they need something? Or do they wait a few more minutes before calling for help?
I think we can agree that new-born babies have a strong body-mind connection: when they’re hungry, they cry immediately. Their minds follow the lead of their body and get them to ask for help to what they need at the moment. This could be something more recognisable such as a feed or a diaper change, or less perceptible necessities such as body contact, the need for feeling safe and comforted, etc… Either way, new-borns’ minds are totally connected with their bodies as this is their only way to survive, not being able to attend their owns needs yet.
What happened to the connection?
The question is then, if we are all born with a strong body-mind connection, how come some of us somehow lose this vital ability to know what our bodies tell us and how to respond to it?
The reasons may lie in our own experiences in childhood, especially the early years.
– When parents consistently do not answer to a crying baby, little by little they are taught that their needs are not important. The baby could develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive, by disconnecting to her natural essential needs and save vital energy when calling for help.
– Later, when a toddler shows negative emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, disappointment and sadness, and we do not listen to those emotions, acknowledge them, and take them seriously (regardless of the reason that we might find trivial), the toddler will not learn that expressing all types of emotions is ok and that this can teach us what our needs are and how to find healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable situations.
Losing our inner compass
The results might be that children – and later adults – won’t know how to express their feelings adequately and how to recognise what they feel. They also struggle to find healthy ways to deal with negative emotions and how important it is to self-soothe and build resilience and self-care, which will lead to better self-esteem and trust in themselves.
This is how we progressively lose our inner compass to trust the natural intuition that helps us stay healthy, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Instead, people might learn to self soothe too early using coping mechanisms that might become more problematic at the adult age such as compulsive eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, or any other behaviour that is not healthy when facing difficult situations or emotions.
How to regain trust in yourself as an adult and reconnect your body and mind?
– Self-care is the evident way to learn to reconnect your body and mind and depending on the person, it can take several forms that also be combined.
– Any kind of physical exercise is great to keep in touch with your body: yoga associated with meditation for instance is ideal! But any form of exercise that suits you is great.
– Practising mindfulness is also essential to regain trust in our natural ability to know what is good for us.
– Gratitude can help us enjoy more the little moments in life, healing this inability to truly connect with us and life around us.
– Children are of course a formidable opportunity to teach us simply how to reconnect with our inner child and help us enjoy life more mindfully. If you develop a strong connection with your child, you will do yourself a big favour, and you will help your child to stay strongly connected to herself/himself throughout life.
Remember: children don’t care about the past or worry about the future, they live fully in the present! They are naturally connected to themselves and the world around us, and can teach us and to find our way back to mindfulness!