• Sheilah Ledesma, LCSW

How to take an active role in strengthening your mind-body connection

Therapists use the mind-body connection to work closely with other health care providers to assess the lifestyles, attitudes and family support of their patients. They also help patients understand how to create and implement a plan that will improve psychological well-being. Psychologists and therapists can work with you so that you are able to take an active role in taking care of your mental and physical health. Awareness of the mind-body connection may be helpful in:

· Building resilience

· Strengthening distress tolerance

· Speeding recovery from illness

· Lessening pain and discomfort

· Enabling patients and families to better cope with stressors

· Increasing mental alertness and activity

Here are 5 ways you can take an active role in strengthening your mind-body connection:

1. Be intentional about taking active breaks from work or thinking about a concern to give your brain a chance to regroup and refuel Physically walking away from a stressor or problem for a few minutes will give you more clarity and better equip you to manage it.

2. Your body’s posture and expressions can also influence your mood. Try standing tall to help give yourself a boost of confidence and be mindful of your facial expressions. Your brain interprets your expressions as cues to feel and process emotions.

3. Cultivate loving relationships. Research shows that a solid social support network has numerous physical and mental health benefits. It can prevent you from feeling lonely, isolated or inadequate. When you feel good about yourself, you are better prepared to deal with stress. Friends and loved ones can be a valuable source of advice and can provide new ways of approaching problems. But they can also be a pleasant distraction from what's bothering you. You can also consider volunteering, joining an outdoor activities group or an online meet-up group to make new connections.

4. Write it out. Journaling can help you cope with the stress of a deadline or your worries in daily life. Physically downloading problems and worries from your mind (by putting pen to paper) can help reduce the stress you are feeling and ultimately improve your health.

5. Spend time outdoors and make time to meditate or practice mindfulness. New science shows that walking outside rejuvenates our minds and enhances our ability focus. Engaging in mindfulness for a few minutes a day can also help decrease anxiety and symptoms of depression.

Taking an active role in strengthening your mind-body connection can help you shift from imbalance to balance. And when you’re in an optimal state of balance, you will naturally tend to listen to our body with love and compassion and make choices that support health, happiness, and wellbeing.

For more information or to schedule a therapy session with me, please contact me at 954-391-5305 Ext 2. To read more about my approach to therapy and find out what services I offer, click here or visit my website.

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