What is Your Body Telling You?: The Mind-Body Connection

June 29, 2017

What is Your Body Telling You?: The Mind-Body Connection

When you think of mental health what thoughts come to mind? Do you associate the word mental to an image of the brain, the mind, and thoughts? Many may assume that mental health is concentrated solely on distorted and unhealthy thoughts of one’s mind. Visualizing mental health from this point of view is looking at the mind as a separate entity from the body.

What about the rest of your body? Pause for a moment and think about an uncomfortable experience, a time when you felt worried, distressed, or angry. Where did that feeling first show up? How did your body respond to the experience? Our bodies try to communicate with our mind potential threats. They serve as an alarm system to protect our wellbeing. We have an intuitive voice that is trying to be heard; a voice that is trying to guard you from potential threat (both physical and emotional). If we are to ignore the sensations in our body, also known as somatic symptoms, we are not recognizing ourselves fully. Treating just the mind means only treating a fragmented part of ourselves.


To truly see ourselves more fully, we must explore how our emotions manifest in our body. For example, when anger arises, where is it first felt in your body. What does that feel like? Pounding, tense, suffocated, warm, heavy? What do those sensations feel like? Hurt, disrespected, rejected? This exploration of sensations can link us back to our thoughts and behaviors. Often times, somatic symptoms show up most clearly for those who are suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, a renown psychiatrist and researcher, writes about the brain, mind, and body connection in his book The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Dr. Van Der Kolk explores how “overwhelming experiences affect our innermost sensations and our relationships to our physical reality-the core of who we are (Van Der Kolk, p. 21).” The experiences of our past have left an imprint on our mind, brain, and body. “This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present (Van Der Kolk, p. 21).”


Thinking of mental health from a mind-body connection, how does your body speak to you? What does your body want you to know? When we listen to our body, we can become mindful to the here and now. When we pause and turn inward to listen to the voice within, we just might find the answers we’ve been searching for. 









What is Your Body Telling You?