For the past month, I’ve been covering different strategies writers, (or anyone), can use to protect their mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health and are as intrinsically tied as the ocean and the moon—something that was brought to my attention this past week in a very real way.
I’ve been doing a thirty session Headspace meditation on anxiety. During the past few weeks, I’ve learned a technique called noting. Basically, if I’m distracted during my meditation, I label the distraction as a feeling or thought, whether it’s pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, and then I identify what mood or emotion it provokes. The trick is to take that technique and apply it to the rest of your life. While I realized that my mind could affect my body, I never understood just how my body could affect my mind. Having had cancer, I do get how chronic pain can cause depression, but I never understood how your body can cause anxiety.
I’ve been working out on an average of six days a week and I get hungry. Like, powerful hungry. On the way home from an event, I started having anxious thoughts about my grown children. I fretted about everything—if there was something to worry about, my mind went there. I realized I was on the verge of a full blown panic attack and even my stomach felt… then it dawned on me. My stomach felt hungry.
I was hungry.
The pangs of hunger were actually producing anxious thoughts. This time, instead of my mind affecting me physically, my physical self was affecting my mind.
I don’t understand why it took me so long to realize this. I’ve often known that anxious/tense/pissy feelings were often cyclic and caused by hormone fluctuations and my family knew better than to mess with me when I was tired. But hunger?
It was in that moment that the mind body connection became incredibly clear to me. The mind affects the body, the body affects the mind. In order for protect your mental health you have to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Journaling, meditation, exercise and healthy food are just strategies to help do that and I hope the series was helpful.
Take care of you!
Image courtesy of Master and freedigitalphotos.net