2 RESEARCH STUDIES TO HELP YOU KICK OUT THE UGLIES!
I remember being confused in 5th grade. About a lot of things. There’s not enough time to talk about all that now, but one thing stands out in regards to the mind body connection. I was working on a health sciences project in school and I asked my mom about the risk factors for a heart attack. Stress. That was one of the first things she mentioned. I didn’t believe her. She worked as a nurse, but somehow when you’re 10, you think you know more. Clearly (in my feeble mind), you have your body functioning separately than your mind and emotions. In my view, they existed in parallel planes, never intersecting. Boy, was I wrong. Sorry I ever doubted you, Mama!
Over the years I have grown to appreciate the connectedness of my mental/spiritual/physical self. I am sure that was largely due to my health dip that I shared here. I am so grateful for that experience as it has made me more aware to take care of my temple. Don’t take my word for it, though. Multiple lab tests and key markers prove this to even Western Medicine. I just want to share two research articles with you to give a glimpse of this powerful connection. As in any research study, remember to read these with a grain of salt. No single research article is complete. With that said, these two articles have some interesting takeaways.
For the kids
A single study observed 18 three to four-year-olds in a childcare setting. The researchers moved the kids outside into a more organic environment and introduced things like a teepee, greenery, and flowers. The results? The teachers reported positive responses from the children including: “richer imaginative play; increased physical activity; calmer, more focused play; and positive social interactions.” Who would like these effects in children? Yes please!
Meditation. That sounds like such a a mystical word, doesn’t it? Don’t let it scare you, because practices that are mindfulness-based, like yoga, deep breathing, etc., “have been shown to regulate emotional and affective responses to stress, and therefore may influence the immune system even in the absence of physical activity.” One study reviewed 34 studies published on this topic. A total of 2,219 participants were included. The grand review found that there was a moderate effect on the reduction of C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a marker of general inflammation in the body. The protein is released into the bloodstream at the start of an infection, tissue injury, or other general causes of inflammation. Now, I’ll stress again, this doesn’t mean that meditation magically cures all disease, or any. Just shows that there is a measurable connection between our mind and body.
1. Start small. Take your first steps toward bringing the stress level down in your life.
Maybe turn your cell phone off for 10 minutes a day and breathe.
2. Identify stressors in your life. Make a list of all your stressors and strikethrough the ones you can avoid. You can’t see clearly until you write it down. You will be able to avoid some. I did this three years ago and dumbed down my stressors list by half! Get all the unnecessaries out of your life.
3. For the kids. Let them run wild outside. Sounds easier than it is, I know. If you have kids, it will start with you. Make it a point to spend at least a few minutes outside. Model good, healthy behavior and pass it on.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
What do you think? What stressors are you ready to throw out the window? What do you do to bring your stress level down? Share in the comments below or email me!
Nedovic, S, Morrissey, AM (2013) Calm Active and Focused: Children’s Responses to an Organic Outdoor Learning Environment. Learning Environments Research, v16 n2 p281-295 Jul 2013
Morgan N, Irwin MR, Chung M, Wang C (2014) The Effects of Mind-Body Therapies on the Immune System: Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 9(7): e100903. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100903