A complex interrelationship exists between our mind, body and soul. There are so many people who constantly focus just on physical health, ignoring what’s going on in the mind and heart. They eat healthy, train daily, sleep well but still don’t see the desired results not realising that they never invested or looked after their mental or spiritual health.
One cannot take either the mind or the soul out of the equation for good physical health. Each of us are made up of five selves—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and intellectual. This is what makes the person whole.
Most people are not growing in all of those selves. It’s when we tie all of them together that we build a platform for great health. Thus, it’s important to take into account each and every aspect of an individual. This is what Holistic Approach also means.
The First Pillar—Mind
The power of mind should never be underestimated. Every single thought that we think, affects our body in a positive or a negative way. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions affect our biological functioning in unimaginable ways.
When we are exposed to a stressful situation—even though it’s our mind that directly gets affected, our mind reacts to the stressor by preparing our body to overcome the stress. This is called as fight or flight response. It is brought about by the production of cortisol—a stress hormone.
Excess stress hormone can create havoc with our body. Immunity crashes, inflammation rises, appetite increases, blood pressure increases, respiration becomes shallow, blood sugar levels increase, body weight increases, hormones imbalance and so much more. So, one stressful event can create such a huge rippling effect on our body.
Most diseases these days including the struggle and inability to lose weight may be connected to a malfunction in the mind. It’s all ‘psychosomatic’, meaning, it first starts from the mind, and then by constantly thinking about it, we create a perfect environment for the disease to actually breed.
So, if you picture disease for yourself—you are likely to invite it. In its place, picture yourself as a healthy and content person and you are likely to be so. It is that simple yet so very profound. This also means, there cannot be healing in the human body unless there is progressive healing in the mind.
When we study and spend time diagnosing a disease for a person, there is one question that needs to be asked: “What was going on in your life six months before you got diagnosed with the disease?” By delving deeper into their lifestyles at that point, we find stress or poor emotional health as one commonality.
Why do placebos have such a prominence in the medical world? Because of how your beliefs shape your bodily processes. If a doctor gives you a sugar pill and says your headache is going to go, it is going to go, even though it is a sugar pill. This means, even allopathic medicines—although designed to treat at a symptomatic level—will not work if the mind is not taken into consideration.
The Second Pillar: Body
How we work on our physical self (body) through the way we eat, sleep, move impact our mental state either positively or negatively. The gut and brain connection are a classic example of how our body can shape our thoughts and vice versa. An unclean gut can literally make us feel “crappy” too, whereas a clean gut can have an almost immediate impact on our moods.
Similarly, imagine how you feel after a night of less sleep? Irritated, moody, groggy, angry, cranky and find yourself craving for unhealthy food? So, while it was your body that wasn’t able to rest, it definitely impacted the state of your mind too.
Even movement has a profound effect on our moods and emotions. A nice walk in clean nature can make us feel upbeat and reduce anxiety levels, whereas even a single day of sitting sedentary can make us feel lethargic and low key.
The Third Pillar: Soul
Often ignored, our soul plays a huge role in governing our health. What we feed our soul is as significant as what we feed our body. We can eat the best food, have the best exercise plan, but we aren’t happy from within and have feelings of lack, emptiness, dissatisfaction, our soul gradually starts to die. Negative emotions not only affect the mind and body, but also rust the soul and rob it of its peace.
Why does praying or spiritual practise make us feel good? That’s because when we pray or meditate, we feed our soul the fuel it needs.
Try this little exercise.
Just before bed time, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, slow inhales and even slower exhales, sit with your back erect and after a few breaths, start telling your mind or your subconscious mind, the time you want to wake up next morning. For example, whisper in your mind ‘I will wake up by 6 am tomorrow’. Do it a couple of times to firmly affirm to your mind and notice how it serves you next morning.
If you have done it mindfully and with faith, you’d find yourself waking up at 6 am without any alarm, just because your mind was reprogrammed the previous night. That’s the power of our mind and what we use today is just a speck of the immense power it has.
It’s because of this close relationship between mind, body and soul tools such as yoga, pranayama, meditation, visualisation, positive affirmations or autosuggestions, gratitude are so powerful because they help us find inner balance and heal us at all levels. It promotes mind-body-soul healing and that is the foundation of holistic health.
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