Happier Mind, Healthier Body
By Bethany Deitz, MS, BCBA, LBA, Director of Adult Services
“I think the healthy way to live is to make friends with the beast inside oneself, and that means not the beast but the shadow. The dark side of one’s nature. Have fun with it and accept everything about ourselves. ”Anthony Hopkins
Have you ever noticed that when you are especially stressed, it is easy to get sick or to be in pain? I know when I am under a great deal of stress or focused on a particular problem, I grit my teeth, making my back muscles become tight and sore. This isn’t a fun way to live. But how can we make a change? Where does that change even begin?
Our subconscious mind is a very powerful thing because it ultimately drives our behavior. This deep part of our beings houses our values, memories, ambitions and fears. Our moods, actions, reactions, physical ailments, energy level and even dreams are shaped by our subconscious. The subconscious mind never turns off and is always streaming activity, messages and thoughts. Our beliefs shape our behavior and our behavior, in turn shapes our habits. Our habits, then reinforce those original beliefs, bringing everything full circle.
So, it would make sense that if we want to be healthy mind and body, we need to look at the subconscious messages we send ourselves constantly. Have you ever listened to the things your subconscious mind tells yourself all day long? Sometimes we are least kind to ourselves. It’s not surprising that a negative feedback loop in our minds can have a debilitating effect on our bodies. Depending on what we hear, we may want to change things up. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. But it is definitely worth the attempt.
For example, when I go clothes shopping, here are some beliefs I have noticed coming from my subconscious: “I don’t look good in that color. Why am I not still the size I wore in college? I am not brave enough to wear that. I cannot pull off stripes. I have no style.” It is no surprise that shopping is not my favorite thing to do. But, when I am on my game, I intentionally focused on more positive beliefs: “I will find something that compliments my features. There is something just for me – look at this variety! It might be fun to try a new style. Size is just a number and it doesn’t define me. I will only buy clothes that make me feel amazing.” The result is always better and I am excited about my new purchases!
Knowing what an effect our subconscious mind has on our beliefs, and, subsequently, actions, it is worth the time and energy it takes to change it from the inside out. But to do this, it takes intention and focus – especially in the beginning. With practice and repetition, imagine how we can affect the way we work, take care of ourselves, feel in our bodies, engage in relationships, and beyond. Doing this single practice will have a positive effect on our heart, mind and body; it will help us to feel healthy from the inside out!