By Romina Vintila
When it comes to our health and our body image, many factors come into play. We look at commercials, we are bombarded with social media posts on what it is to be beautiful, what standards we must uphold, from television to magazines, it is everywhere. But what does it all have in common? It targets our minds.
In order to start a better health regimen, we have to tackle a very important element in the equation to better health and better health esteem: our minds. Our minds are powerful tools in our weight loss, or any other goal that has to do with bettering our bodies and getting the most out of them. Approaching this in a way that targets structures we may or may not be aware of can dismantle some of our most resilient doubting beliefs. These are the beliefs we hold about our own abilities as well as our own self-worth. Do we want to look beautiful, or feel beautiful? Which is more important?
Our minds can trigger many different bodily processes, as we all know and have felt the ‘fight or flight’ symptoms, when an acute stressor is in our environment, we get startled, our heart rates go up, our pulse is out of control, we are more alert, and we also produce cortisol, the stress hormone. However, this shuts down other bodily functions, for preservation. The stomach is one of them, and hence digestion becomes very difficult. Bruce Lipton, a consciousness pioneer in the field of biology, explains this. He mentions that when we are in fear mode, in alert mode, we cannot grow, we have no energy left.
How else can we grow if we are stuck in a stressful environment? Better yet, how can we grow and allow our bodies to thrive if we are in a stressful mind environment? Well, the mind processes and thinks too many thoughts to count on a daily basis, but worrying about something puts us in an endless spiral of nonsense, scenarios that will never happen, however, they steal our energy. This also puts the body into a fearful, agitated state. The mind is powerful, in that it can trigger stress hormones, but also feel good hormones. So which ones do we choose? It sounds simplistic, but it is also difficult, because we are dealing with the mind.
So what tools do we have that can take us out of our head and into more good feelings? The mind can be an endless trap, and it not only forms scenarios that are worrisome, it also takes us into an altered perspective of our own reality, and others. If we criticize ourselves too harshly, then what tells us we are not also the same with others? Some reminders are: thoughts come and go. The past is over with, and we cannot control everything, so it is good to just let go. Also, what purpose does it serve us? It steals our energy that could be used towards much greater things. The way we see the world is through the mental lens, however, we must also be reminded to follow the heart and allow joy into our being- and see the wonders of all aspects of ourselves. A world trapped in the mind is a scary, ego run, mad world. What makes us feel alive? What makes us laugh? We have to pursue those things with a bit more commitment, rather than be consumed by the everyday, mundane existence, the trivial worries. By allowing yourself to just open up to what could be, not what was, perhaps new horizons will reveal themselves. You are making room for surprises, spontaneity, and miracles!
Once we achieve a clearer mind state, we can start a meditation on becoming more present and aware of the body. Breathing is very powerful and special, remember to breathe in pure, new light, and breathe out the old toxins. Purify your body through breath. Also, start feeling your own heartbeat, or any type of bodily awareness, in a mindful meditation space. It can be 10 minutes out of your day while waiting for something, or riding in a car. It can be anywhere. Remember to listen to your body. Is it hungry? Is it thirsty? It knows best. The mind pollutes it so much that we lose touch with our own physiology! I believe that is the main cause for most overeating, undereating, and even drug abuse. We lose too much awareness of our bodies, we torment them so much with the mind, that then when they feel out of sync, we try to repair that hole with food, alcohol, or negative things for it. It is a vicious cycle that started with one big problem: the mind not allowing, not relaxing, always judging.
Once you are aware of your body and your surroundings, you can appreciate yourself and everything that much more. One of the powerful books that inspires that present awareness to me is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, unmistakably, one of the most powerful books out there. It is incredibly enlightening and bridges that gap that our society has placed on mind, body, spirit. We are all three, but we cannot identify with just one, can we? So treat your body as you would treat your most prized loved ones, e.g. a child. It needs things, it craves things, and that is alright. But once we honor our bodies and their wondrous nature, we can fully appreciate ourselves and others. Sometimes, it starts with silencing the mind in a terribly noisy world, ending that inner critic. Hasn’t (s)he been given too much credit already?
Romina Vintila is a Chicagoland writer, activist, and spiritual mentor. For over a decade, she’s been researching metaphysics, esoteric philosophy and has been published in OM Times and other publications. She loves fairytales and crystal healing.