THINK IT IS ALL MATTER OF MIND OVER MATTER?  THINK AGAIN.  You can’t use your body without help from you mind.  Wishing with all your heart and mind doesn’t get you far if you don’t also  move your body.

“Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.

Henry David Thoreau, American essayist 

THIS POST’S TOPIC:   The Body-Mind Connection.  But first, if this is your first time reading these posts, Click here for an introduction to  introduction to what SHRINKS THINK posts are about.

NATURE/NURTURE? MIND OR BODY?  Not an either/or, but a Yes/And.  Some studies show that getting a high from physical activity can lift many depressions. But equally true is that depression can keep you from running.   A symptom of depression is not being able to do what you know you should do or even what if not depressed you would enjoy doing.  Some suffering from a major depression need jump starting with medication to get back to what has to done, fun or not.

Just to cloud the water,one study showed  that in trying to improve a basket ball player’s ability to make free shots, visualizing worked better for some than actual practice. Why? you can hit the basket every time when you visualize.  If you visualized missing shots, you did not improve.  Finally, if you can’t swim using your mind will not produce an inner tube if you are in water over your head.

Emotional Fitness Training is about using your mind to keep negative feelings from controlling you.  As with most self-help programs, works if a major mental illness is not in control.  EFT teaches six skills: feeling awareness, feeling measurement, self-soothing, thinking about what matters, thinking and acting wisely, letting go of what you cannot act on.  Emotions are signals to act a certain way.  Fear says run, anger says fight, guilt says don’t do.

Problem:More often than not you shouldn’t do what the feeling says to do.  Firemen know that if you wake up in the middle of the night because your smoke detector is buzzing loudly and you think you smell smoke, your fear will tell you to get up and get out.  Thinking to feel your bed-room door could keep you alive.

Solution:  EFT seeks to strengthen the skill of stopping to think for at least the count of three before acting.  The One Minute Meditation helps you do that.

  1. Take a slow breath in.
  2. As you are breathing in imagine tightening all your muscles from your toes to your head.
  3. Hold your breath and the tightness for at least 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly breathe out and starting with your head, imagine slowly releasing all  the muscle tension.
  5. Say “Ahhhhh and gently smile.
  6. Breathe normally for at least 5 breaths.
  7. Notice what it feels like to just breathe in and out.
  8. Repeat steps 1-5 (Calming Breath).

Bad news:  No skill is learned or made strong without practice.  Many people have learned (Calming Breath–steps 1-5 and  Centering–steps 6-8) at a Staying Strong Workshop.  Loved them, felt sure they would be of value when stress or a negative feeling visited.  Worked for those who practiced when calm.  Didn’t work if not practiced at all or only when already stressed.

Good news: The OMM, once learned, is practiced easily.  Best time to start, when relaxed and getting ready to sleep.  Often  is a path way to sleep.  Other good times are right before and after eating, during commercials if watching television.   Over time you will find that when you begin getting stressed, just taking a few moments to complete the OMM will help you think more wisely about how to act.

More good news.  Using a calming slogan enhances the power of the OMM.  Such slogans are short and positive.  “This will pass” is one. “Slow and calm” is another.

FINAL WORDS   As always our advice is just that advice.  Nothing works for everyone.  Remember, the goal of these posts is to share knowledge.  Emotional Fitness Training is not therapy, it is self-help.  Self-help is useful but more may be needed.  If you cannot do what needs to be done or what usually makes you feel okay, then think about therapy.   Life can be better.

Anyone making plans to commit suicide, hurt, or kill another must see a therapist, heading to the nearest emergency room,  calling 911 or a suicide hot line  1-800-273-TALK.



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