Have you ever gone through a day when you’re very, very busy and you have to get things done so even though you are hungry you just keep going and slowly that hunger sensation turns into a headache? I’ve seen this happen to my wife a lot when she’s busy and she just forgets about, or puts aside eating and a few hours later she gets a terrible headache. It can happen to a lot of us; we just get busy, we don’t focus on what our bodies are doing, and things go wrong. Our bodies and our minds are connected.

For example a patient of mine came in one time and before she even said anything I could tell something was wrong. She was hunched over, she looked very sad and her body reflected this sadness. I found out shortly later that her mother had just died and she was grieving for her mother. This is called the mind body connection. Our minds and our bodies are connected. Our bodies affect our minds and our minds affect our bodies.

Try this some time; just act as if you are really angry. Don’t really be angry but let your body be expressive of anger. Let your body be tense, taut, and ready for a fight and see if it doesn’t affect the way your mind feels. Or vice versa, start thinking about something that makes you very angry and see if your body doesn’t reflect your anger.

Researchers from the University of Berkley recently wanted to look into this mind body connection. They reported in the 2010 issue of Emotion, how people who have been practicing meditation for two years or longer are very good at reading the mind body connection. They’re much better than people who are dancers or just the general public. Let’s take a closer look, in depth at this research information.

The researchers were more interested in studying dancers because they spend a lot of time with their body, getting it strong, making it resilient, agile and very functional; so they wanted to find out if meditators or dancers were better at reading the mind body connection. They had three study groups. One group of 21 dancers had at least two years of training in modern dance or ballet. Group two was comprised of 21 seasoned meditators who had at least two years of Vipassana practice. Vipassana, or mindfulness meditation, is a technique focused on observing breathing, heartbeat, thoughts and feelings without judgement. They also had a control group of 21 regular people, not dancers or meditators.

All three groups were exposed to emotionally charged movies and at the same time they were to respond on how they were feeling inside at the time. They were hooked up to electrodes so that the scientists could read what their bodies were doing and whether their perception of how they were feeling was actually accurate to what the electrodes were saying their bodies were doing. What did they find? The dancers in the controlled group showed no correlation between their emotions and their accurately predicting the speed of their heart; however, the meditators showed a very strong correlation between their feelings and the speed of their heart.

So what does this mean to us? Why does this matter? I believe it’s important because if we are more in tune to our body we can then better respond to it, listen to it and make choices that keep us healthy. If we are not in tune to our body then things can go awry without us being aware of things. Awareness is my favorite word in the universe. We can’t change something unless we are aware of it. I believe what meditation does is make us become “super awareness” people. It’s not that things can’t go awry but we are probably going to be more aware that “yup, I’m going to get a headache here if I don’t eat” instead of “Oh, how did I get this headache?”

By being more in tune, more aware of our bodily sensations; of how we are feeling physically and emotionally, we can then better make choices to fix what’s happening inside of us. If we’re not aware and we’re more like puppets where life just happens to us, meditation helps us to make changes. It helps us to be more aware and in the long run, more healthy in so many ways.

So let’s start taking the time to meditate. I recommend twice a day, once in the morning when you first wake up and once in the evening just before going to bed. This truly is the most wonderful way to practice meditation and improve our mind body connection.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com He also creates a weekly podcast that explores the world of Enlightenment available at http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is DrPuff@cox.net