Have you ever heard of something called the mind-body connection? If so, that’s probably because it’s stressed a lot, in environments such as health clinics or gyms. However, it’s stressed so much, by so many professionals, for a reason – it’s completely true. The mind and body are closely connected through hormones and thought processes, making it imperative that you care for both to enjoy true health and happiness.
Interested in making the magic happen? We’ve compiled a list of the ways doing activities such as yoga to enhance your body can enhance your mind in the process.
- Endorphins. When you exercise, whether you’re running, lifting weights, biking, or – you guessed it – doing yoga, your body releases hormones called endorphins. These are known as the “happy” drug for your body, and release feelings of tension, anxiety, and sadness. If you’ve ever heard of the “runner’s high,” this hormone is what gives it its name! Releasing endorphins each day by exercising not only relieves stress in the moment, but makes you happier for hours and can promote better, more restful sleep, and more meaningful connections with other people. Next time your mind is in a slump, try grabbing a yoga mat and doing some calming exercises to get yourself out of the rut. It’s even been proven that working out at the same time every day trains your body to release endorphins at a certain time, meaning working out routinely before your mid-morning slump or afternoon laziness usually hits can help spike your energy around these times and keep you feeling great!
- Confidence. Who says hormones are responsible for the entire mind-body connection? Feeling confident has been proven to not only make people more likely to smile, but more likely to find success from day-to-day. Confident people are seen as more reliable and energetic, and also tend to be happier. The truth is, confidence can come about in a lot of ways – but one of the most tried and true methods of feeling great in your own skin is pushing your body physically, not to achieve any certain look, but to prove just how strong and tenacious your body can be! Knowing that your body can accomplish great things makes you feel better about your image, and can impact not only your mind, but the trajectory of your life, through the confidence to strike up new conversations or ask for a new opportunity. Yoga is an excellent way to push your body in this way on your own time and at your own pace, and allows you to see your progress easily as you move along into more challenging poses and routines.
- Blood flow. There’s no doubt that getting up and moving is great for your body – but it’s actually fantastic for your brain, too. When you exercise, your heart rate increases and blood flows faster to all your body parts, including the brain, allowing you to think faster and more clearly. You might find that your reaction times are faster immediately following a workout! Exercising your body can literally get your brain juices flowing, promoting thought and productivity throughout your day. Try doing yoga before an important presentation or exam to “wake up” your mind.
- Perseverance. Teaching your body to persevere through a tough workout or pose is really about teaching your mind to persevere. For this reason, exercising your body and enhancing its endurance can actually build up the endurance of the mind, which transcends into many other areas of your life, from navigating emotional hardships to studying for exams in college. There is a reason so many student athletes receive good grades in school – by disciplining their bodies to complete tasks with full effort, even when they are utterly exhausted, they also train their minds to keep going when tired – on the field and off. Yoga is an excellent exercise for harnessing endurance, as holding challenging poses can be extremely difficult, but well worth it when mastered. Grab a mat if you’re looking to improve your mental tenacity.
- Sex! Sex is not a purely physical act – there is an enormous mental and emotional aspect to it, making it one of the most talked about and important aspects of human life. Regular exercise such as yoga can greatly improve your sex life through increasing your sex drive, leading you to feel closer to your partner and release tensions that may have built up during the day. In addition, regular physical activity will help you feel better about yourself and your body, which makes intimate time all the more satisfying and relaxing. In short, spending time exercising can not only help life inside the bedroom, but outside, too. Sex is something that impacts our relationship with our partners so heavily – a happy, healthy, and supportive sex life makes relationships stronger and helps couples bond.
As you can see, the connection between the mind and body is no small one. Every day, our minds and bodies interact in more and deeper ways than we could ever imagine – and for this reason, it’s relatively easy to hit two birds with one stone in terms of self care. Keeping a healthy body keeps a healthy mind, and vice versa.
Did any of these tips surprise you? If so, leave a comment down below telling us why you’re excited to incorporate more exercise into your life. Which mental benefits are you excited to see?