How to Achieve Mind-Body Balance: The Art of Chilling Out!
Work-Life Balance is a common buzzword in the professional world today. We hear that balancing the scales between work and life is necessary for effectiveness.
Productive companies are jumping on the bandwagon to provide resources for employees to experience more balance. If they don’t, their employees may become ineffective, burn out, or even quit working altogether.
On a personal level, striving for Mind-Body Balance is much the same. You are in charge of making sure your mind and body has the resources it needs for balance. Some of us do it better than others! Just like at work, if you don’t do this, your body and mind can become ineffective, burn out, or even quit working altogether!
When you experience real balance, you notice your body and brain working in tandem to reach the ultimate focus, creativity, innovation and effectiveness. You’ll dream, create, innovate and achieve!
The Brain – Our Command Center for Mind-Body Balance
Homeostasis is when the body and mind are in optimal balance. Our brain is in charge of this balance and will do all it can to compensate for any external stress throwing us off balance. The brain signals the body when stress is happening and the body shifts to the stress on command, often abandoning important body functions like digestion, immunity, heart rate and even sex drive.
For example, when a person is cold, the body releases thyroid hormones to generate warmth. Or when a foreign microbe enters the body, the immune system responds to fight off infection. Even more significant, when stress occurs at your business, with your team or in a relationship, your mind and body react the same way, signaling a whole host of physical and psychological reactions – throwing us all out of whack once again.
When the mind and body are optimally balanced, most people aren’t even aware that there is a command center within us orchestrating the whole symphony of harmony. You just feel good. You are energized. Focus is simple. Creative ideas just flow out of you. This state of homeostasis is the ultimate mind-body balance!
And then… something goes awry and throws you out of balance. In the short-term, this may result in feeling rundown, or coming down with a cold. Long-term, the results can be debilitating physically, mentally, and emotionally. This might include physical disease, mental illness, emotional breakdown, or some combination of these.
Chronic stress is one of the main hijackers of homeostasis. When the brain experiences a perceived threat, it responds by releasing stress hormones. Ideally, these are meant to avoid danger. In short bursts, this can be helpful. But when stress is ongoing, the continual release of cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones wreaks havoc on mind-body balance.
During stress, the brain sends a red alert message to kick the body into gear and deal with the stress. If this is an isolated event, the brain does its job and easily returns to balance. When this happens day after day after day, the body and brain begin to work on overdrive and don’t easily recover. Raised blood pressure and heart rate, increased inflammation, spiked blood sugar, limited sleep, and other physical responses produce devastating consequences over time to both the body and to your ability to function at your peak in your business and relationships. Focus, creativity, productivity – they all suffer.
Yuck – In Your Body, Emotions & Mind
Your body can experience illness, headaches, stomach issues, chest pain, inflammation or other reactions.
Your emotions could flare and you can be more moody, angry, depressed, lonely, irritable, overwhelmed, and just feel unpleasant and yucky!
Your ability to focus and create may be challenged. You may experience memory loss, anxious thoughts, slow processing, lack of creativity, and other minimized brain function.
Build Your Chill Out Muscle
What’s the answer? Learn to chill out and build your natural relaxation response. You have one, and like most people, you probably don’t use it that often. Building the chill out and relax muscle can reverse the impact of stress. So much research is out there that prove this point over and over and over again.
Just like working out at the gym, take some time for chill out training. Train your mind to refocus, rebalance, and achieve homeostasis. In a tight schedule, beginning with just one minute per day can help. Try the one minute chill out training at the end of this article to start!
Once you begin to see the benefits, you’ll want more. And as you devote more time to achieving balance, you’ll become more productive in other ways. When you start to feel more energy, more productivity, more focus and more creativity, you will want more! Trust me on this… This is the binge you want to indulge in!
Ways to Chill Out and Relax
Some simple suggestions for ways you can chill out and transform your mind-body balance:
Although it happens automatically, breathing is critical to brain/body balance. Stress causes rapid, shallow, and less productive breathing. Slow breathing can induce calm and tranquility by creating new neural pathways that restore balance.
Take a moment to think about your breathing. Slow, gentle breaths. In-through-your-nose. Out-through-your-mouth. Restore calm simply with your breath.
Chill Out & Meditate
Meditation… Mindfulness… It’s all the buzz. And, take a look a bit deeper and you will find that the original meditators who began thousands of years ago were really on to something.
Try This Simple Chill Out Exercise
Sit in solitude for a moment. Shift your focus from the world outside of you to the world within you. As you breathe, notice the physical space your body occupies. Gently notice the inflow and outflow of your breath. With each breath, notice if your mind wanders and gently bring it back to your breath. Be present and experience the joy of the very moment you are in. Chill out through meditation.
Just adding a bit of stretching to your daily routine can reduce tension and create balance in your mind and body. As stretching promotes elasticity, it loosens the connective tissues and muscles that can often create pain. In addition, stretching increases the blood flow, allowing oxygen to better reach various parts of the body and improving their function. Stretching may also improve sleep quality and stimulate feelings of homeostasis. Simply put, stretching helps you to chill out.
Moving your body without asking your mind to work can be relaxing. This isn’t a power-walk meant for exercise or to get somewhere. It’s a meandering, gentle walk to explore and allow the mind to wander. Doing this in a park or area of nature adds to the benefit of breathing clean air and relaxing the mind.
Known as “earthing”, connecting your bare feet to the earth has been shown to offer significant health benefits. A natural charge of electrons offered by the earth can boost antioxidants, improve sleep, reduce pain, and minimize inflammation. So take your shoes off and chill out!
Just like walking on a balance beam, sometimes you may need to lean one direction or another to stabilize yourself. But with practice, you can learn to listen to your own needs and respond in healthy ways.
Be Well, Be Joyful, Be Inspired…
Have a Beautiful Day…