Day to day, we spend so much time inside our heads, that we forget about our bodies and we can easily lose sense of it. Insecurity and disconnect from our bodies for whatever reason can eat away at us. Becoming more mindful of our bodies and what a remarkable tool it is provides us with a stronger foundation.
Mindfulness of the body acts as an anchor to the mind. Scientifically, mindfulness of the body stimulates the calming aspect of the nervous system, which in turn has a powerful impact on our physical and mental state – in short, we tap into the parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and digest” system. Our nervous system sends messages from our brain to parts of our body, via the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down the back to every organ.
There are two parts to our autonomic nervous system – the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, freeze system) which when activated increases blood to the organs, and increases the flow of adrenalin. The other part is the parasympathetic system, often referred to as the “rest and digest” or “calm and connect” system which is the counterbalance and returns the body to a state of rest. It also helps with digestion.
When we practice meditation, the parasympathetic system is activated, helping us to feel more calm, quiet and less stressed out.
With thanks to “Mindfulness for Women” by Vidyamala Burch and Claire Irvin