In my last blog post, we scratched the surface of mindfulness. We talked a little about what it means, what exciting new research is coming out in the field, and began to address how it helps us to heal.
When trying to heal something in our bodies and our lives, being mindful is critical to the process. When we are mindful, multiple things begin to happen that build on each other and turn the process of degeneration around to regeneration.
1) We begin to break and reverse the stress response:
First a definition: Stress is pain. Pain is stress. Stress is disharmony in the system, wether that system is a cell, an organ, a body, or a family. Stress can come in many different forms, be it the physical stress of a trauma, the psychological stress of trying to meet deadlines, the chemical stress of toxins, or the emotional stress of chronic negative thoughts and emotions. Even though there are many different triggers of stress, our bodies and minds respond similarly to all stressors. Basically, we go into the fight or flight mode of existence.
As you can imagine, spending long periods in this state of body-mind, will eventually wear down our bodies and minds. This is definitely NOT how we want to be when we are trying to regenerate and heal. Some hallmarks of the stress response are increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, rapid and shallow breathing, increased muscle tension, reduced digestion, increased inflammation, decreased ability to learn (make and reinforce new nerve connections), as well as many other mostly negative chronic physiological states. As we become mindful and present, we turn all of these off and turn on the following physiological states: Reduced heart rate, reduced blood pressure, deep breathing with increased oxygenation, reduced muscle tension, improved digestion, decreased inflammation, improved learning ability, as well as many other positive chronic physiological states. This is where we want to be when we are healing. We want all of our cells to be receiving messages of safety. We want abundant nutrients to be pulled from our lungs and our food saturating them with what they need to rebuild and run smoothly. We want to stop the inflammatory process that slows healing and can actually damage our minds and bodies if it becomes chronic. We want relaxed muscle tension so that our learning nervous system can more easily coordinate the complexities of joint motion that promote regeneration, strength, stability, flexibility and speed without damage to our muscles and joints. We want the learning that is taking place as we heal to become “hard- wired” so that it becomes our new healthy habit that we don’t have to think about.
2) We increase our awareness:
When we are mindful and present, our consciousness begins to expand. What this means is that we are more aware of how our minds and bodies are doing. We can better feel how we are coping with stress. We can better feel how much excess muscle tension we may be holding. We can better feel how our body is responding to gravity (our posture). We can better feel how our body is moving. Are we moving gracefully cleansing and feeding our joints with each step, or are we moving clumsily and jarring our bodies with each step? We are more aware of how our bodies are responding to the meal we just ate. Did my body really want that? Was I really hungry? Did it give me more energy? Did it make feel tired? We quickly become aware of what is causing our health challenge, as well as any obstacles to our healing that we may be creating.
3) We open ourselves to the healing power of the Universal Consciousness:
As I mentioned in the previous article, when we are present, mindful, and our awareness begins to grow, we naturally become aware of the vast loving Consciousness within creation. This Consciousness loves us and wants us to heal because we are a part of it. Guidance, understanding, synchronicity, grace and miracles are all accessed in this present moment. Sometimes we all need help to heal. What better source of healing than the source of life itself?